The current wave of enforced working from home is accelerating the adoption of digital tools in organisations around the world. We are all now aware of Skype and Zoom, but what else is out there? Mural describes itself as a ‘digital workspace for visual collaboration’. It allows remote teams to create and share diagrams, updating them in real-time, so that everyone sees them at once. Here’s what you need to know.
- Mural recently announced that it had successfully raised £23m in growth funding
Even before Covid-19 changed the way we worked, Mural had already convinced venture capitalists that remote visual collaboration mattered. Its tagline ‘stop digitizing, go digital first’ shows its commitment to a digital workplace, shared around the world. The company now plans to double its size by 2020, and make its core product—its collaboration platform—faster, while keeping its simplicity and ease of use. It will also launch new learning services.
- Mural provides templates for its customers
Across its six areas of focus—plan, brainstorm, evaluate, design, learn and empathise—Mural provides a range of templates that customers can use quickly and easily. Some are fairly generic, such as a road map, priority matrix, risk matrix and scenario maps. However, others are much more innovative, including design tools such as sketchpads and storyboard tools. These are designed to help teams think imaginatively and creatively together. The easy access to ready-made templates means that customer teams can spend time on their thinking, accelerating the process of work.
- Mural uses cases and stories to show how it can be used
Mural’s website has case studies and stories from a number of its customers, including GitHub, Pearson, Intuit and IBM. These are designed to showcase its flexibility and wide range of uses. However, it also cleverly taps into the fact that most of us are more likely to trust our peers than a marketing person. By providing customer stories—and being upfront about its clients—Mural makes itself transparent and open, making it more attractive to potential customers.
- Mural claims to have a significant economic impact for businesses
Mural commissioned Forrester to make an assessment of its potential economic impact on businesses. Using data from IBM, one of Mural’s biggest customers, Forrester estimated that over three years, Mural had saved the business around $23m, 71% from avoiding travel to design meetings and 17% from increased productivity. It had cost just $3.8m, giving a return on investment of almost 500%, and a payback time of less than six months. This could therefore have a huge impact on businesses around the world, and is likely to be particularly important in a recession.
- Mural has a network of independent consultants
Mural’s Consultant Network is a global community of consultants with a focus on creative innovation and changing the way that organisations work. They use Mural as a way to help their clients innovate, and especially to increase their levels of creative collaboration. These consultants and facilitators therefore act, effectively, as an additional sales network. By showcasing how Mural can be used, they encourage their clients to use it—and successful adoption is more likely because of the experience of the consultants.
- Mural is easy to integrate with a number of other popular platforms
Most organisations are already using a number of other collaboration tools: Dropbox, for example, or perhaps Slack or Github. Mural has made it easy for its customers to integrate Mural with other platforms including all these, plus OneDrive, Microsoft Teams, and Google Calendar, as well as Word documents and Excel spreadsheets. This simply makes life easier for everyone. It also, of course, makes adoption more likely, because there are fewer barriers.
- Mural has a useful toolbox for remote working
With the arrival of Covid-19, the world has suddenly woken up to remote working, often at very short notice. Mural has put together a toolbox to help those who are ‘suddenly remote’, including icebreakers for remote meetings, an operations dashboard to make staying in touch easier, a decision-making tool, and a template for brainstorming sessions. It has also provided a support hub for anyone struggling to make things work remotely. This demonstrates the company’s commitment to its customers, going back to its focus on empathising with them as one of its six core areas. We may not all be in lockdown for ever, but remote working is here to stay—and it seems likely that Mural will be part of that.