Corel CEO Patrick Nichols sees a bright future ahead for MindManager, which it acquired from Spigit on August 8, 2016.
In a recent phone conversation, Nichols emphasized that MindManager“is an excellent platform for the visualization of structured information.” This includes not only mind maps and business diagrams, but also infographics and other types of data visualization
How the acquisition came about
Nichols explained that Corel is wholly owned by Vector Capital, a venture-capital firm. As part of its strategic focus, it has set a goal for Corel to acquire at least one software product per year. In the last four to five years, it has made five acquisitions. It has been in discussions with Mindjet executives for about a year, and decided that now would be a good time to consummate the purchase of MindManager.
As part of each acquisition, Corel and Vector have made a commitment to invest in each of the software programs in its portfolio, adding new product features and functionality to them on a a regular basis in order to maintain the loyalty of base of over 100 million active users. He indicated the same philosophy will be applied to MindManager.
I asked where these new product development efforts will focus: I mentioned that Mac users of MindManager have been frustrated by the way in which development of MindManager OS X has always lagged behind the Windows version. He said he’s “well aware of that customer sentiment,” and indicated that “product improvements will be made across the board.” If all goes well, the first of these may even be incorporated into the launch of MindManager 2017 later this year.
Synergies abound between MindManager and CorelDraw
I asked about the perceived synergies between Corel’s vast portfolio of software, which includes not only top-rated vector graphics, image editing and video software, but also the venerable WordPerfect word processing program and the popular WinZip file compression application. I suggested that a natural integration would be to export a mind map from MindManager directly into a WordPerfect document.
Nichols’ reply took a different tack, however: “Actually, we’re more excited about the opportunities with our graphics applications,” he explained. “If you think about it in the broadest sense, MindManager is a vector-based program for managing structured information. CorelDraw, our vector drawing program, is very similar in that it is very adept at managing unstructured, creative information. If you look at the toolbars and functionality of both programs, there’s actually a remarkable amount of similarity. We think there are many opportunities to cross-fertilize some of MindManager’s capabilities to CorelDraw and vice versa,” he added.
I asked, if that meant a MindManager user could start to create a mind map in MindManager, and then export it to CorelDraw for continued development? “That’s definitely one scenario where both programs could work together,” he indicated.
MindManager – beyond mind mapping
Nichols and I touched on the category of mind mapping software, which many analysts would view as a mature one. I asked if that concerned him, or if he believed there was much more growth potential in mind mapping software.
Nichols focused his response on the potential of using MindManager as an engine to produce infographics, based upon the structured data contained in a mind map. He indicated that MindManager is already being used in this way to some extent. I asked what other applications of structured data they were exploring, but he declined to comment – except to say that these other uses will come to light very soon.
As I thought about it after our call, I realized that other forms of structured data that can be exported into a MindManager maps could include data from various websites, where records are stored and then displayed in structured data formats. A case in point: A MindManager add-in program from InfoSeg S.A. called IM-LKDIN that can query your list of LinkedIn contacts and then display them in a mind map format.
My gut feeling is that Corel will take an approach similar to InfoSeg, where it will pull in structured data from various sources and display it in a map hierarchy, or that it will utilize data stored in mind maps to generate data-driven infographics. Data visualization is becoming a critical business need, and MindManager could potentially be tweaked to support that type of functionality.
As of MindManager 2016, the program now supports more arrangement of structured information, including diagrams, flow charts, concept maps and more. This more open structure should be a plus when it comes time to integrate MindManager with CorelDraw.
The future looks bright for MindManager
Nichols is excited about the MindManager team that has come with the acquisition, its reputation as a leader in its product category and its strong distribution channel. But what excites him most is the potential synergies between MindManager and Corel’s graphic products:
“When we mapped out the potential synergies, we realized that we’re faced with a gold mine of opportunities we can pick from to drive product development of MindManager,” he enthused. It sounds like Corel has the deep pockets to make this happen.
Whither MindManager 2017?
Several weeks ago, Mindjet started sending out pre-launch emails, offering a free upgrade to MindManager 2017 if companies invested in the 2016 version now. I asked if Corel’s acquisition of MindManager will affect the launch timetable for this new version of the program. He said no. But he indicated that Corel’s standard operating procedure is not to pre-announce product launch dates, when I questioned him about the official launch date for MindManager 2017.
So watch this blog for further developments as the launch date for MindManager gets closer. Nichols committed to having the MindManager product team continue to give me an early look “under the hood” of each new release.
When I read the announcement this morning about Corel’s acquisition of MindManager, I was in a state of shock. I wasn’t expecting the market-leading mind mapping software program to be sold. But now that I understand the thinking behind this deal and have a better understanding of how Corel intends to support it, I feel much better about its fate.
In short, I believe MindManager is in good hands!