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MURAL Competitors and Alternatives

Find out what your peers are saying about Lucidchart vs. Lucidspark and other solutions. Updated: September 2021.
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Maryam S Waris
Customer Success Manager at a media company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Top 10
Encourages collaboration with our clients, and reactions help to prioritize ideas, but automation to make things more consistent would be helpful

Pros and Cons

  • "My workshops have seen a much higher engagement. In the past, maybe ten or twenty percent of my clients would normally participate. With Lucidspark being involved, I see almost 90% engagement of everyone in the room, because they're required to add something."
  • "Whatever they can do to help make the visual look a little cleaner would be great because it can get a bit messy, or inconsistent. If there were automations to do things like making sure that elements are of the same size and correct alignment, it would help to make the visual more presentable."

What is our primary use case?

This is a product that is really useful in my role as a customer success manager. Our company develops marketing automation tools that Fortune 500, enterprise companies use with their internal marketing channels.

We use both Lucidspark and Lucidchart. With Lucidspark, we use it for workshops that we plan with our clients. These are strategy workshops that help them map out what they will ultimately do in our product before they actually touch it. They have to map out what the different messages are that they're going to send, what channels they're going to send them to, and what the strategy is for who receives those messages. They decide how are they going to target, personalize, et cetera.

For this use case, Lucidspark becomes a virtual whiteboard for our clients during these workshops because we've not been able to go in person since the pandemic started. Normally, we would do these works at the client site but now, we can bring it to a virtual environment and make it a really interactive experience. The client actually walks away with something really visual and really clear that shows them what they are going to use to build their system.

How has it helped my organization?

I use both Lucidspark and Lucidchart for two different types of workshops. The first type is a simple session that we call an effort impact workshop. This is where our clients will use post-it notes to post their ideas for different campaign types and different channels, and we'll then chart that on an effort impact graph. It's super interactive and it's really beautiful and easy to do when we're using Lucidspark.

We use Lucidchart for our user journey workshop that we run. It uses the flowchart method to build a user journey, such as an onboarding journey, or lapsing user journey, that then translates really easily into something that they would build using our product. The difference is that they would fill it with real campaigns.

The client does not have access to our Lucidchart directly. Rather, we present the charts that we design for them. It makes it easy to demonstrate something that we can't easily demonstrate on our own platform.

When I use this platform, things that would be really difficult to make interactive or make really visual can be done a lot easier. For example, when I am doing a user journey workshop, my goal at the end of it is to ensure that my client adopts the use of one of our products. It is essentially a user journey-building tool, but our clients have a really hard time knowing where to start. However, when you map the flow chart out and build it in Lucidchart, they get to see exactly what they need to build. Afterward, they get access to what we come up with together, and then they just have to use that logic to build what they need to build in our main product.

If they didn't have this pre-work done, then they would have a really challenging time, and run into a lot of issues using our product to build out this journey. A lot of what our clients do requires a little bit of pre-work because they're building out these user journeys that target really specific clients, and their audience requires them to think through the logic of when users will receive messages, et cetera. We found that for us, as CSMs, we have a much higher rate of success with clients being able to enable themselves to use our platform when we can do these workshops and actually demonstrate what they need to do in this virtual whiteboard space.

For instance, using Lucidspark and the post-it note method, we have a brainstorming workshop. It provides a really good foundation for something that they're going to go on to do on our platform. Also, because we are strategic partners with our clients, oftentimes, they'll come to us for things that they need. Perhaps they will ask for advice on what a new type of campaign is that they can run, or maybe they would like to do something different than they are doing today. It helps us with enabling them to adopt our platform more.

We really want to make sure that they're getting this opportunity to brainstorm with their team and come up with new ideas. We have clients like restaurants and retail clients that want to find new things that they can do, and this becomes a really nice whiteboard for saving all of those ideas in one place. We can share it with them afterward, making sure that they have something that they've taken away from this meeting and can actually apply when they're using our platform.

We've been conducting remote sessions since March of last year, and this really came in as a solution to us not being able to conduct our workshops in person. We're very collaborative on this team and also as a company. This is true not only with our clients but also internally. We really value being in person with each other and it's hard to quantify what the delta is of having to do this virtually versus in-person.

I think there's a lot of value to using something like this in person, but where I see the value of how this works for us virtually is that it was meant to replace whiteboarding in person. I really like that it's digital and that you can create what you need to on your own time. You don't have to be in the same room as your colleague to both collaborate on a document.

The same is true for your client, where you don't have to be in the room with them at the same time. Even if they are, it makes it a lot more inviting for the clients to add their brainstorm ideas because oftentimes, it seems when we go in person, it can be hard when you're sitting in a room with so many people. It is hard to speak up and be the person who offers an idea versus here, where you don't have to necessarily speak up to get your thoughts on the board. You can just put it there, and that creates a much more inviting environment for a lot of our clients.

It is more inviting even for a lot of our people internally, who don't have to raise their hand to say something or add something. It's simply that we're all working on this document, you can add your thoughts to the document, and that has created a really effective way for us to work while we've been remote.

The biggest way that Lucidspark has improved the way our organization functions is with the workshops that we have with our direct clients. The way that we quantify our own success is time to value for our clients, so we want to make sure that in the least amount of time, they get the most value out of our platform.

That value comes from them adopting more and more of our platform, handling more mature use cases, and doing what we consider best-in-class marketing. They can achieve it with our platform but it takes more time. The overall time to value has been greatly reduced, and using a platform like this enables us to enable our clients to achieve some of the goals that we have for them.

A reduction in time to value is a positive metric but also, having a higher engagement with our clients is also a benefit. It is difficult to become remote when you're used to hosting these workshops, or doing what we call executive business reviews with clients in person. Now that we've moved them into our remote environment, we've lost a lot of engagement. This is the reason that we've had to invest in tools like this, which have enabled us to get those clients to participate more.

Essentially, using this platform increases participation, which equates to an increase in engagement, which for us, is relatable to higher NPS scores from our clients for our product.

The productivity of our brainstorming sessions has definitely increased with the use of Lucidchart. My workshops have seen a much higher engagement. In the past, maybe ten or twenty percent of my clients would normally participate. With Lucidspark being involved, I see almost 90% engagement of everyone in the room, because they're required to add something. They want their thoughts on the board and it's not requiring them to speak up necessarily. Rather, it's allowing space and flexibility for them to add what they need to add, and they see that it's interactive, which has been a really quantifiable way for me to see the value in this and why I continue to use it.

What is most valuable?

The user interface is great. It has a very modern and clean look. One of the things that I appreciate about Lucidspark is that it's very easy to start working in it. I think there are features that I'm not aware of that I could have used, and probably some features that I don't know exist. It might take more exploration from my end to understand the breadth of what I can do. My use case feels pretty simple because I can just put squares on a board and get votes, and that satisfies what I need to use it for. But, I think that knowing all of the functionalities would potentially allow me to gain more value from it.

As it is, it's very intuitive to use, it feels very simple, and it does have that informality. I love that the space is infinite, which is something that's not true of MURAL, or if I were to delve into PowerPoint, Excel, or another application that is a more dated form of creating what I need to create. The infinite amount of space to work in is very clean and clear, and I think it just takes a little more effort to make it look like something that is presentable or shareable because it can get a little bit messy if you're not really being intentional about where you place things, and how you're creating the visual. For the purposes of why we use the tool, it's not something that we have to worry about.

The post-it notes can be very agile. We can link out to other things, and we can make these post-its into something that has a real, thought-out idea. It's not just a brainstorm, but it's actually linking up to an example of what it is we're creating.

I have used the Collaborator Colors feature one time, and I had no issues with it. It made it a lot easier to know who edited what, and I think a really great use case would be internal collaboration. This would be where a lot of people's input was coming in, rather than just me and a colleague building something together. This is where I can see the value in it, and it's something that makes me almost want to use Lucidspark more for some of our internal use cases. These would be situations where we need to create something, and it helps us brainstorm for what we're working on from an internal strategy perspective. We really like this feature, although we just didn't have much of a need for it. Our most common uses of the platform do not benefit from it.

If we did invite clients into our space then using the Collaborator Colors feature would be a great way to get them adding to what we're building. We could use those colors to assign how our clients are getting involved and using the platform. The most challenging part was learning that the feature was there.

One of our clients had fast-food delivery as part of their business model, and we wanted them to think about geofencing as a potential campaign idea. We used the space to show an example of what that looks like, so if anyone is coming back to review the board at a later time, they have that example. They can clearly see what we voted on, what we decided to do, and how they can start building it. We can also put a link into our own product using the integration, or we can put a link to an example from one of our other clients. This is another example of a valuable resource for them that is available, even after the workshop is over.

One of the features that I really like is that you can add reactions. Because we use this as a brainstorming space, we get a bunch of people in a room and get their reactions to things. It starts with getting their thoughts on paper, and in a workshop environment where we're hoping to have take-aways, the fact that you can add reactions is really valuable because we used it as a voting tool.

It is helpful because once we have perhaps 20 ideas, all on post-its on the board, what I want to do is then hear from my clients which ideas stand out. These may be the ones that they're most excited about, or what idea they find the most feasible, or which ones have the most long-term gains or short-term gains. Once we post a question, we'll use the reaction feature to kind of get these votes.

The reaction feature helps a lot from a brainstorming perspective, as it tells you what ideas to prioritize. The voting and reactions capability is one of the biggest features that we use, so it's very important to us.

Lucidspark enables us to spend more time discussing and revising ideas' next steps and less time organizing them because we use the voting feature. It means that we're able to figure out what is a priority versus what is not, and then translate those ideas into other things. For example, I've created a priority list in Excel using what we've come up with in Lucidspark. It not only means that we spend less time organizing ideas but without some of these features, it would be a lot harder for us to take a plot of ideas and make them actionable.

The fact that you can physically present and see what you've created, is another really valuable feature for us.

What needs improvement?

This is a feature-rich product and I would like to see more opportunities for teaching new users how to learn and use the breadth of the platform. Ideally, it would be nice if there were a set of guidelines to explain what it is capable of. I know that there are videos online, and I've watched a few. But, I know that when I first started, just playing around, there were things I didn't discover that I could do until much later. This is why I get surprised by certain integrations I learn that they have.

It would have been great to know right from the start, with a guided tutorial on how to use the various options. As it is now, we have invested internally in the educational resources needed to learn how to use it. A tool that can be very self-serving in that way, and enable its users to use it to the breadth of what it is capable of doing, is always a great thing.

Whatever they can do to help make the visual look a little cleaner would be great because it can get a bit messy, or inconsistent. If there were automations to do things like making sure that elements are of the same size and correct alignment, it would help to make the visual more presentable. This is important because, at the end of what you create, it can have a very positive impact on what is ultimately shared with the client.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Lucidspark since I joined this company, eight months ago.

I'm not sure how long the company has been using it for but my team has always had a license for Lucidspark. I discovered it when I was a new hire and thought it would be really effective for my role. Not everybody in my team uses it, as we're not required to, but it is a tool that we have in our toolbelt if we ever want to use it.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have not experienced any glitches or ever lost any work.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not experienced issues with scalability but I can't say whether or not it will be a pain point in the future.

Our main users are the customer success team, and we are a customer-facing group. We have approximately 45 people across different locations, although not everyone uses this as regularly as some do. Perhaps you can say that 50% of us use it more regularly.

I believe that our product team and some of our growth teams also have access to the platform. We're an 800-person company and there are probably about 100 of our employees that have a license to this platform.

In our situation, it's going to be these client-facing teams like mine, and product teams that are brainstorming for product purposes. The growth marketing teams are brainstorming for growth marketing purposes.

Including our clients, the largest number of participants that we have had in a single session is 12 or 13.

This solution is highly adopted across my team but not across my entire company, so it is not yet used very extensively. I did a workshop with our internal tech team a week and a half ago, and this was in order to encourage the usage of Lucid. This is necessary because we have licenses to a lot of software tools, and not everyone uses all of them all the time.

One of the problems is that people don't know what they have access to, so one of my goals is to roll this out more broadly, or at least inform more people that they have this tool available to them because it has served such a great purpose for me.

I know they've not made it easily discoverable or super prominent for people at my company coming into this role. I am happy that I stumbled upon it, but I think there's a lot more room for people at my company to realize that we have access to this and that it can serve a great purpose.

Overall, I estimate that between 5% and 10% of the people in our company regularly use it. I hope to grow that number to at least 15% or 20%.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not been in contact with technical support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have used MURAL in the past and I think that it's the closest solution that I have used, in terms of the interface. Compared to MURAL, Lucidspark is easier to use and I don't feel constricted when using it. MURAL felt a lot more challenging to get started with and I had to watch a lot more tutorials.

Visually, MURAL creates something that is more presentable to a client. I think that Lucidspark has a very brainstorm-like look and feel to it and it's not necessarily going to look beautiful at the end. MURAL, on the other hand, makes something look very put together, presentable, and ready to share with executives. Lucidspark has much more casualness or informality to it, but at the same time, it is very easy to use and it gets the job done.

We do still have MURAL at the company, although we have fewer licenses and they are available on a request basis only. The Lucid implementation predated it and I don't know if we have used MURAL for a specific use case. Rather, it is something that we are testing the effectiveness of. In fact, I don't think that we had used anything for this specific use case before. The reason is that a big part of why we use these tools now is that we're in a remote and virtual environment.

Lucid Suite is my favorite in terms of the options I have available for how I can create a foundation, begin brainstorming, create a flowchart, or whatever it is that becomes a really critical visual that I'm going to then use with my clients.

How was the initial setup?

Using it only involves logging in. We already had a license and I didn't have to download a web app. It's all done on the website.

I had no hoops to jump through in order to get a license. All I had to do was login using my SSO and I had one. I'm not sure if my entire team or my entire company has access. We are an 800-person company and there is a suite of tools that we have access to without needing to ask, or raise a support ticket for.

I have never had to do anything in terms of maintenance, such as updates. All that I've had to do is log into the website.

What was our ROI?

I would say that in aggregate, it's possible that we haven't seen ROI, given that it's not something that is widely used. From an individual standpoint, I see a return on investment for me using it, and in me improving my role and my relationship with my clients.

In general, my company's ROI is harder to quantify.

What other advice do I have?

Lucidspark has features for tagging and automatically grouping ideas to help organize them after a brainstorming session, although I don't take advantage of them. I think that it would be helpful but it feels like a little bit of extra work, for what we're using it for.

Lucidspark has integration with Slack, although I haven't looked into how it works yet. This is something that I plan to do in the future.

The Lucid Suite can be managed by a unified administration console, although that functionality is not particularly important for us at my company. We do things in an ad-hoc fashion and I use this for different needs that we have. We don't necessarily need a centrally managed administrator because of how we use it.

Overall, the Lucid Suite feels like a very user-friendly and easy way to make that first step, brainstorming, happen. We haven't moved to the next step where we take the charts that we make and bring them into action outside of Lucidchart and Lucidspark. This is because that action is actually taken by our clients in the ways that we use the platforms.

For our clients' sake, it helps them to visualize each step of the process and it becomes a point of reference to take a look at what we built together, and then use it to expand their platform. Internally, using the suite in this way is not something we've taken advantage of yet.

For me, the suite represents a foundational step for a very specific use case.

For anybody who is implementing this product, I would encourage them to think out of the box in terms of ways that the tool can be used by them. We're definitely an example of a company that probably doesn't use it for its intended use case, but it really solves a big gap for us that was brought on by being in a remote environment.

MURAL has a much more pronounced use case that involves creating something that you can share with clients, that can be very visual, and also really interactive. Lucidspark has the same potential, even though it's not always clear that this is something you can use it for.

The biggest lesson that I have learned from using Lucidspark is that brainstorming in a digital space is much more flexible than how we're used to doing it in person. Not only is it flexible, but you get to create something that persists. It can be used and shared and made so much more agile, and it's great to have a record of that. 

It changed my perspective of how we brainstorm in the digital age, in general. It's awesome to me because in the past, using a whiteboard in the conference room didn't feel as productive because whatever we white boarded on, we took a photo of, and it wouldn't persist in the same way when we built it in this tool.

In summary, this is a good product that has very much fulfilled my use case. There are other tools out there that might be better for some of the things that we do, and at the same time, I think that there's a lot more this product offers that I haven't explored yet. I would like the tool, itself, to introduce me to those opportunities in use cases without me having to wonder what else I can do on the platform. This is a big reason why I haven't used it for some of those other purposes.

I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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BB
CEO at a consultancy with 1-10 employees
Real User
Top 10Leaderboard
We can tweak its templates for our own purposes, but our communication with the sales team has been poor

Pros and Cons

  • "We are using Lucidchart a lot for documenting things, such as processes, systems, new teams, etc. Its ability to document processes is great. Some of the major pluses are the sheer number of templates and the flexibility in the types of things that you can document. This is a benefit because we are able to structure it in whatever format we want. So, we can take a template that maybe was designed for something different and not have to create it from scratch. We just modify it for our purposes."
  • "The communication with sales has been pretty poor. They have been spotty in terms of response. So far, that has been our problem with it. We were in contact with one of their representatives, but he just kind of disappeared one day and we couldn't find him anymore. He has not been responsive to email."

What is our primary use case?

Primarily, we have been using it for collaborating with other team members and documenting the work that we are doing as a team and organization. Its two main functions are to document and collaborate. 

How has it helped my organization?

We have a common place where we can collaborate and keep track of documentation. That has really been useful.

We are using Lucidchart a lot for documenting things, such as processes, systems, new teams, etc. Its ability to document processes is great. Some of the major pluses are the sheer number of templates and the flexibility in the types of things that you can document. This is a benefit because we are able to structure it in whatever format we want. So, we can take a template that maybe was designed for something different and not have to create it from scratch. We just modify it for our purposes.

The solution’s capabilities for visualizing and understanding process flows or workflows is pretty good. This is one of the primary functions that we use it for, and it has worked out really well. They have a lot of very intricate templates that fit different use cases, which definitely helps.

We don't necessarily do everything in real-time, but that clearly is important. The fact that we are all able to do it in real-time allows us to have a dynamic discussion around a topic, whatever we are discussing. That is the key. Otherwise, it would be, "Hey, review this document, and we'll hopefully talk about it later." The tool wouldn't be anywhere near as valuable if we didn't have this kind of core function, which has saved us a significant amount of time. Shuffling documents back and forth would have taken a lot longer.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the ability to share particular boards or charts that we are creating. That is really key for us. 

Lucidchart’s organizational charts for visualizing and understanding team hierarchies and relationships are very good. I am very happy with the templates and the way that they are designed. We can tweak the templates for our own purposes. There is a large enough variety of templates with different use cases that we can usually find something that will fit.

What needs improvement?

The collaboration tools are fine, but the ability to share sometimes becomes difficult, specifically around permissions. It says somebody can edit and view, but they can't necessarily make all the changes. That can be confusing for some of the other users.

The speed needs improvement. The reloading time sometimes is quite significant, especially if the computer that you are running it on is kind of bogged down with a lot of windows, running other tools. It can be a bit challenging.

The interface could use improvement. When you try to select or unselect items, sometimes it gets very glitchy. It is not clear what you are trying to do.

There is a lot more functionality that I am finding that we haven't even scratched the surface of yet. Part of the challenge is it has more power than we know about, and there is not really great support in terms of learning the tool at that level, other than maybe watching YouTube videos, etc. That is how we're learning it right now.

I would like to see a grid that outlines functionality. Sometimes, you don't know what you don't know. So, if there is a grid that identifies all the features and functions, then you can drill down into video explanations of each one of those. That would be the optimal thing for us. We could then go in and explore, and say, "Okay, this is a function that we definitely could use. Here is a video that explains how to do it."

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it for about nine months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Performance-wise, in terms of stability and reliability, I would rate this solution as a seven (out of 10).

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is pretty scalable. I don't have any issues around the solution's capability.

While most of us are PC users, having the flexibility to accommodate both Mac and PC users is important because you never know who will be coming onto the team.

Everybody in our company uses Lucidchart, as there is a senior-level person involved. Right now, there is one primary user (me), as well as six to eight people who are collaborating using the tool.

How are customer service and technical support?

The communication with sales has been pretty poor. They have been spotty in terms of response. So far, that has been our problem with it. We were in contact with one of their representatives, but he just kind of disappeared one day and we couldn't find him anymore. He has not been responsive to email.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We still use Visio in some capacity. I am not sure that it is because we couldn't have switched. We just don't know all the functions which exist within Lucidchart.

How was the initial setup?

Lucidchart is pretty straightforward to set up. It is not a very difficult tool to use. 

The setup was pretty fast. There was not much to do.

What was our ROI?

It has been a valuable tool. It provides time savings. It also adds values with the ability to ideate around ideas and things as a group, collectively being online and live. 

The whole discussion around collaboration is key to realizing efficiencies. That is why we are using it. When we are collaborating live, we are able to discuss the chart and what is happening in our work process. We can identify other people's perspectives and get ideas during the meeting, then make those live changes to the process on the screen. So, it helps us in identifying potential solutions.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did look at MURAL and a couple others on the surface, but we felt that there were more options available with Lucidchart. The main thing was the amount of templates and features that we could see with Lucidchart. It just seemed like a more robust solution. That is why we went down that road.

We tried Lucidspark because of the announcement that they made when it came out, but we haven't really used it to a large degree. In many ways, Lucidspark had a lot of similar functionality to Lucidchart. At least in the way that we are using it, we get the same experience through Lucidchart.

What other advice do I have?

We are a consulting company that works with CEOs. In many cases, we are recommending products. In a lot of situations, Lucidchart could be a useful tool for organizations that we work with, and we would definitely recommend it to them. However, for it to become a really useful tool organizationally, you must have somebody walk you through a process of how you would embed it. I don't think that they have that.

Most people are visual first and prefer that as a way to communicate.

In the future, if there is an opportunity to do so, we would potentially increase usage. We have to learn more about how we would utilize the tool, but we are not opposed to increasing usage. 

I would rate this product as a seven (out of 10). 

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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