When I first got out of college, I worked for a company that allowed me to have a Mac. The Mac SE was my favorite tool. Back then, just after we moved from chiseling tablets, the Mac had a program called HyperCard. It was an interesting program with its own coding language. I used it to create an MRP system (material requirements planning). The system allowed us to track inventories, production requirements, purchase orders, and so forth. It even gave us graphs of expected inventory levels. It was much better than the $50,000 system that my company had purchased (running on DEC…ever heard of it?).
When I moved to IT, I began managing PC’s also. A co-worker and I had moved the HyperCard system to Excel. We found out something very unfortunate. Although I could attach a modem to a Mac and have it working in less than a half hour (versus the four hours plus it would take to put a modem into a PC), our MRP macros ran at least 4 times faster on the 486 PC running Excel than they did on the Mac. This, unfortunately, was the beginning of the end of my Mac experience.
After that, I found myself in positions where the Mac wasn’t an option. My employers were so locked into the PC world that a Mac was out of the question. This year, I decided that if they upgraded the graphics on the iMac, I would buy one for myself. In the spring, they did exactly that. With some trepidation, I ordered my 3.06 Ghz iMac.
Wow. Suddenly, after 14 years, I enjoyed using a computer again. Using Fusion, I was able to put XP on my iMac but I rarely found a reason to use it. Then, one day, I realized that I hated using my Dell laptop for work. Since I have to produce project plans for my clients, I began looking around for a Mac product that would allow me to create the project plans I needed and yet provide them to all the Windows users with whom I worked.
After some searching, I found ConceptDraw Office. I loaded it onto my Mac and immediately fell in love. The product allowed me to mind map my projects, then convert them into project plans that could be exported to MS Project, then produce dashboard-style status reports that could be exported to MS Powerpoint or Visio.
This is a great product. Before finding it, I had been using FreeMind to create mind maps. There is absolutely nothing wrong with FreeMind; it’s a great product and the price is right. However, it didn’t provide the links into project management like ConceptDraw Office did. As I looked into it, I realized that ConceptDraw Office would be considerably cheaper than what I currently use (MindGenius, MS Project, Visio). We’re talking $499 vs. $940. Plus, the integration is better and ConceptDraw exports to all the necessary products.
Additionally, I found out that purchasing a license from CS Odessa actually means that you can install the product on three PC’s, regardless of OS. This means that I could use it on my XP laptop for work and also install it on my iMac to use while working from home.
Although the PC version isn’t as user friendly as the Mac version, it actually seems more stable. In both versions, it’s an excellent product. If you are comfortable using mind maps, need to produce project plans, and would like more attractive updates for your “customers,” you should definitely look into ConceptDraw Office.