MindManager for SharePoint: Overview

Mindjet released a new product a while back, and I’ve been taking a look this week. It’s called MindManager for SharePoint, and combines the visual mapping power of MindManager with the collaboration capabilities of SharePoint.

A couple of specifics up front:
– It’s a different product from MindManager for Windows. You can install both on one computer.
– Maps can be shared between MindManager for SharePoint and MindManager for Windows, but the Windows edition can’t update the SharePoint content.
– It’s a client-side installation. There is nothing installed on the SharePoint server.
– It works with SharePoint 2007 and 2010 content.
– Maps can be shared via Mindjet Catalyst, the co-editing and sharing service from Mindjet.
– It’s $150 more expensive than MindManager 8 for Windows.

Mindjet describe the product in this way:

As organizations of all sizes adopt and expand usage of Microsoft SharePoint, users are challenged to keep up with the wealth of information and proliferation of projects. To fully take advantage of SharePoint, users need an easier way to aggregate SharePoint content into meaningful views for navigation, review and follow-up.

Now anyone can apply the power of MindManager, the leading desktop software for visually organizing and managing information and projects, to their SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2007 content. Users create personalized interactive views of SharePoint data that help save time, solve business problems, accelerate processes, and drive projects and innovation. By visually organizing and updating information with MindManager for SharePoint, everyone will see the big picture, while still tracking the smallest details.

My reaction to the product:

  • For current mappers who are also using SharePoint, this is a good add-on. It integrates the user’s two worlds into one, and should allow mappers to work with SharePoint content directly from the mapping interface. Thanks to MindManager’s integrated web browser, actions that need to be taken inside SharePoint can be done without leaving the map. This product enables Mindjet to retain its place as the user’s client of choice, while bridging off into new content sources that equally hold the potential for becoming the new client of choice.
  • Given that in MindManager for Windows you can already link to multiple Web pages, someone could manually create similar maps of SharePoint content. Eg, map branches that link to a task, or a calendar entry, or a document.
  • The power of the SharePoint edition is in the automatic generation of those branches and linkages, along with the bi-directional updates between the map and the content. According to Mindjet, updates in the map flow back to SharePoint, and updates in SharePoint flow to the map. That’s a recipe for staying on top of your world, or chaos, depending on how it’s actually implemented.
  • Mindjet says the product offers “Document Management” features, as in, “MindManager for SharePoint displays SharePoint files from one or more sites letting teams
    access and update information with less effort. Being able to pull different types and sources of data together into one visual map accelerates work processes and leads to better business insight.
    ” To be more clear, it should say “Managing Documents”, because “Document Management”, the latter which conveys much more than what MindManager for SharePoint will do.

Next up: I’ll report back on trying it out.

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