Alongside the proliferation of consumer apps enabling you to do such things as play Walking Dead Pinball or plot outbreaks of flu, new business apps are constantly being released. The most useful help businesses to mobilise their processes, assets and staff, driving down costs and increasing productivity. But in such a crowded field, the trick is finding them.
We’ve identified some of today’s top apps that are helping savvy businesses enable their employees to do more on the move. To see which of them might benefit your business, read on.
Great for storage on the move: Dropbox
No list of effective productivity apps would be complete without Dropbox. The sleek, simple inclusionary cloud filing system allows professionals to store their files on the web and share them with others as they see fit. Dropbox is perfect for fast-moving teams that have no need for filing cabinets or overly complex and cluttered interfaces.
Useful for analytics: Sprout Social
There’s no denying the importance of a social presence, whatever industry you’re in. Sprout Social helps businesses expand their social footprints through monitoring activity on social networks while also gathering information. Demographic and geographic data on your social audience, fan metrics and analytics, RSS feeds, monitoring social followers, scheduling and Google Analytics integration are all tools in the Sprout Social toolbox.
Simple sales force enablement: AppMesh
If you have sales staff, look into getting them a tool like AppMesh. Its simple interface sets it apart from other sales apps aimed at enterprises. Plus, it’s made for the on-the-go sales hero and works across mobile devices. On-call note-taking with tablet-phone interconnection, logging information while client calls, keeping track of customer info and data-sharing with co-workers are all possible on the AppMesh platform.
Best for managing customer information: Intercom
Intercom’s customer connection engine allows businesses easy access to data on their customers or members, like their names, how long they’ve been a customer/member, when they last logged on, their ages, home town, etc. Custom searches and category allocation are possible, making it easy for businesses to zero in on who’s using their services by any number of filters. With that kind of intel in hand, companies – or marketers – can easily correspond and target them for special offers or customers service support requests.
Ideal for testing new products / ideas: Validation Board
Emerging from the team-based incu-celerator Lean Startup Machine, Validation Board began as a way for startups to test their business ideas. The cool part is it can also act as a testing ground for products or services on the drawing board of more established companies. If you want to get into a mind-set that allows you to critically test an idea while cutting away needless complications from its execution, taking advice from a startup engine is not a bad idea.
Good for seamless communication / collaboration – Biba
Biba takes the cat-herding out of mobile conference calls by eliminating the dial-in numbers, pass codes, email addresses, availabilities, responses and other bits of data. Rather than sending a dial-in number and waiting for people to call, the service first reminds, and then calls participants until everyone is present. Meetings can be launched from Outlook, Google Calendar and others, and participants are culled from the organiser’s contact list. Attendance is tracked, dropped calls are automatically reconnected and noisy calls can be muted.
Easy video production: Video Bite
Given the popularity of online video, there’s a good chance you’ll eventually end up shooting a video for work on your iDevice. But then what? VideoBite it. While there’s no shortage of iOS video-editing apps, VideoBite earns high marks for providing a good, but not overwhelming, set of tools. You can combine multiple clips and photos into one video; add titles, transitions, filters and text; and easily share clips on Facebook or YouTube (though not Instagram).
Great for enhancing productivity: Quip
Quip started out as a browser app, and now runs natively on Android and iOS. It’s a collaborative environment that merges documents (including spreadsheets, graphs and checklists) and messages together into a single update thread that’s easy to understand and navigate. All collaborators can see and edit shared documents in real-time, at the same time, regardless of device or platform. If a connection is lost, changes made on that device are synchronised as soon as the connection is restored. Quip employs a simple, elegant design that its makers say “helps you focus on writing, not ribbons.”
Best for information access / management: HP Flow CM
HP Flow CM from Hewlett-Packard is a cloud-based document management system that lets organisations centrally and securely store, tag, search and retrieve text, image and sound documents, which are created or captured by Android or Apple smartphones or tablets for access offline or from anywhere with an internet connection. The system includes automatic OCR and cropping facilities, as well as image enhancement and resizing. More than 1,000 file formats are supported, and documents can be shared via simple URL with colleagues inside or outside the organization for free. They can be edited and used in collaborative sessions with document versions and changes retained. The iOS version supports AirPrint.