Mind Mapping & Visualization Tools

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Mind Mapping & Visualization Tools
David Esko, Member, Management Consultant, United States

Taking the pulse on the use of Mind Mapping & Visualization Tools in the Enterprise

One of the most useful tools I've used is mind mapping software! I don't like the term "mind mapping," so I prefer to use the terms knowledge / process mapping, or visualization tools.

I use a combination of different tools and have created a "process" named Symytry (although that name will soon change). In fact, I use 11 tools, soon to be 14, that all do very unique and specific jobs.

For example, I use Mind Manager 8 from Mindjet, but not only as a mapping tool, but also as a "front end / user interface." On the back end I use two tools; Topicscape Pro 2 and MS SharePoint 2010. However, these are the wrappers. There's a lot of features, functions and benefits underneath those wrappers!!

Symytry is categorized by industry vertical. It then breaks down the industry verticals into job roles; sales, project manager, program manager, accounting / financial reporting, controlling, manufacturing and production, treasury, materials management, etc. I have a sales person's front end map as an example, but there are hundreds of maps!

Each role has specific tools, forms and templates designed for it. Each of these is different, of course, depending on the industry vertical; professional services, general IT consulting, SAP consulting, product designers, architectural design firms, law firms, educators, etc.

Collaboration is super critical!! Since teams today are scattered about the planet, collaboration tools are a must. There are several to choose from. One of them allows you to conduct meetings while on a simulated ocean going sailing vessel (no kidding), but you can choose from dozens of venues; conference room settings, classrooms, even informally at a coffee shop!

Everything has been specifically chosen to be very inexpensive, such that just Symytry is within reach easily whether you're a small, medium or large firm.

Here's the most important aspect. It's designed to allow you to do three things; focus on your customer / client / prospect (all the time), deliver operational excellence and give you the ability to innovate (a lot). It even has a terrific tool that allows you to create knowledge databases, go through volumes of information in seconds and then encapsulate and summarize the facts into a sentence. A sales rep can then create a powerpoint presentation for his / her prospect in about ten minutes!

If you're presenting this aspect alone to a CFO, this means operational efficiencies, cost control and process improvements. That translates into reduced cost of sales! If you're a CEO, this translates into improved customer acquisition, customer retention, new products or services and rapid time to value!

So... here's my question.

Have any of you ever used mapping tools in your work environment? If so, to what extent?

I don't mean for facilitating brainstorming sessions or limited project management or as a personal organizer. That falls more in line with a personal productivity tool. What I mean is... in the enterprise... in other words... so that everyone can have a try at it?? If you're a consultancy, this is a whole new way of approaching a client, with new differentiators that can be tailored to suit you specifically... branding and productizing to you!

Please let me know what your thoughts are on this topic. This is an exciting area to be working in!


David Esko

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