Mindjet Catalyst Adds Web Conferencing to Visual Mind Maps

With Catalyst, Mindjet added Web conferencing, document and file sharing, and secure online workspaces to its visualization mind maps, fortifying its messaging and collaboration platform. Mindjet also retooled as a SAAS player, offering its Catalyst collaboration software as a cloud computing platform. The move positions Mindjet against Cisco, Microsoft, IBM and fellow upstarts Huddle, Dimdim and Yugma.

Mindjet Oct. 6 added Web conferencing and other collaboration tools to its graphical software for helping corporate employees map out their relationships and regrouped as a pure software-as-a-service provider.

Until today, Mindjet made a product called MindManager, which lets users create so-called mind maps, where users chart their ideas and information visually, starting with a central topic surrounded by subtopics arranged on lines. The software, available as an on-premises solution and as SAAS, was innovative but largely a niche tool because collaboration on the mind maps was limited.

Mindjet Catalyst is a SAAS platform that adds Web conferencing, document and file sharing, and secure online workspaces to the mind maps. Scores of companies-from Cisco, Microsoft and IBM to startups Dimdim, Huddle and Yugma-flood the market with Web conferencing tools.

None of these providers offers the mind map element, with which teams in sales, marketing, engineering and consulting fields get a better handle on who is working on what, as well as what it being worked on.

Most businesses aren't used to the mind map concept, so to help give them a push, Catalyst comes with preloaded maps geared to provide a framework to address specific business problems. Catalyst also allows users to share their mapped ideas via e-mail, blogs or their Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter networks, where recipients can either view the map in a browser or copy it.

Catalyst allows users to upload documents, images, links, spreadsheets and presentations. Users can later store maps and related document files in Catalyst's secure workspaces, which can have various permission levels designated to determine who has read/write access.

Web conferencing capabilities built into Catalyst enable users to start a conference right from the platform. An unlimited number of Web conferences can be scheduled with up to 15 participants. Catalyst Web conferencing, which is optional. includes individual application and full desktop-sharing capabilities, support for video, VOIP (voice over IP), file transfers, and session recordings.

Catalyst also offers Web chat to let colleagues chat individually or with some or all of the participants in a Catalyst Web conference.

Mindjet CEO Scott Raskin told eWEEK that Mindjet moved away from on-premises solutions because customers looking for new collaboration technologies don't want to deal with loading software on the desktop.

"We said we've got to have a product that's completely SAAS," said Raskin. However, customers can still use Mindjet's MindManager desktop product if they choose.

Available in English, German, French and Japanese, the Catalyst software is free for 30 days. After that, Catalyst starts at $25 per user per month, which includes the mind maps and other collaboration tools, including unlimited workspaces.

With full Web conferencing, Catalyst costs $50 per user per month. By comparison, Cisco charges roughly $50 per user per month for just Web conferencing.