Mindjet MindManager X5 ProREVIEWER: R. Gillem Lucas, CEO of APARIQ.

BACKGROUND: APARIQ, Inc. is a veteran-owned company focused on supporting "Decision Clarity through the Use Of Intelligent Knowledge Management" especially at the intersection of business and technology issues. APARIQ, with both commercial and government customers, seeks to bring decision clarity through intelligent, reliable, elegant, well-integrated processes that support visualization, assessment, analysis, modeling, measurement and communication of information and knowledge.

PLATFORMS: APARIQ uses Mindjet MindManager X5 Pro on IBM PC compatible computers.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Recently, APARIQ was selected to provide support services to NAVAIR, the U.S. Navy Air Systems Command. The agreement covers the provision of support for a wide spectrum of design, development, maintenance, logistic and in-service engineering issues for aircraft launch and recovery equipment for Navy aircraft carriers and other platforms carrying aircraft within the Navy. APARIQ found MindManager to be an efficient way to: coordinate skills, opportunities, marketing projects and marketing leads associated with NAVAIR; prepare to provide quality services among many companies including several billion-dollar-plus companies involved in the project; and manage dispersed staff that will interact with and support the Department of Defense throughout the U.S. and as far away as the Middle East.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: MindManager's visual interface enables APARIQ staff to address information modularly. Using the software's nonlinear, trunk-and-branch style of visual "maps," we are able to capture a combination of team brainstorming, complex information and hyperlinks to existing information and Web sites. Each information element is captured in individual contract branches or "topics" within a larger map of the overall NAVAIR agreement. Users can then drag and drop each information element to quickly move from initial nonlinear brainstorming to highly organized planning. MindManager's ability to visually represent information enables the company to focus teams on one subset of the information. The application enables us to essentially zoom out and look at the entire map to see how each subset of information fits into the whole.

STRENGTHS: MindManager enables APARIQ and our customers to gain immediate access to both extreme detail and to overviews that show information in context. Its unique visual information display helps us recognize what we don't have - where there are gaps in our information or our thinking. MindManager's integration with Microsoft Office and HTML has been particularly useful to us. MindManager also provides APARIQ with the opportunity to deploy a relatively inexpensive, usable software tool to our customers and clients, so that they can continue to make better decisions long after we have stopped working with them.

WEAKNESSES: MindManager maps run the risk of being very complex. Also, the mind-mapping concept behind MindManager dictates that a map must always start with one central idea. This single-theme structure can sometimes create the misperception that other themes are less important.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We needed a visual information management interface to make complex information simpler and more understandable for our customers.

DELIVERABLES: The program allows us to insert hyperlinks to documents, files, Web sites, audio files, image files and video files into the maps. We then export this combination of ideas, tasks and information to Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Project, Outlook, Adobe PDF, XML, image files or Web pages. MindManager helps our teams visually map out ideas and plans in one common format, and then publish the results in whatever format - including the maps themselves - suits the particular viewer.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Mindjet has clearly put a great deal of thought and work to make the application very stable and easy to use. We have had no significant problems with the application and, as a result, have had no significant contact with Mindjet.

DOCUMENTATION: Mindjet MindManager has proven to be extremely easy to learn. Our staff was able to quickly get up and running, usually in less than an hour, by referring to the tutorials and templates provided.

MindManager X5 Pro
Mindjet Corporation
125 East Sir Francis Drake Boulevard
Larkspur, CA 94939

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