Today, apps that best serve the running of a business more efficiently tend to rely on newer technologies that facilitate communication and information sharing. When people have access to the information they need anywhere and at any time, they can better manage projects and team collaboration.
This article describes some technology dependent apps that help businesses work better.
Information retrieval and sharing on cloud servers
The term â€˜cloudâ€™ is a synonym for the Internet, and a cloud provider simply supplies data storage, data transfer, file synchronisation and client software over the Internet. Automatic backup routines and file synchronisation ensures that accurate and up-to-date information can be accessed with mobile devices, regardless of location.
One suitable app for cloud storage is Dropbox, a service provided by an independent cloud provider based in San Francisco, U.S.A. Data stored with Dropbox can be accessed via a web browser, or with iPhone, Android and Blackberry smartphones which have the Dropbox client app installed.
Once enabled, users create a folder on their computer which is synchronised by Dropbox so that it always has the same content, regardless which device is used to access the data. File sharing and access authorisation can be set for staff members and clients.
Users can start with a free account limited to 2GB of data, which can be upgraded to 100GB for less than $US 10.00/month at this point of time.
File synchronisation can also be enhanced with mobile apps built with the Dropbox Datastore API.
Users who require more data storage can utilise the services of Google Drive, a Google service that offers additional storage capacity. High-end enterprise cloud service solutions include Microsoft Azure and IBM Cloud.
Voice communication and conference calling is another essential requirement for businesses to work efficiently. The premier supplier in this field is Skype, now owned by Microsoft. It offers a free and a low-cost premier service.
Users can initiate voice and video calls as well as conference calls. These services reduce the need for location-based meetings, travelling costs and time wastage.
Project and task management
This is a business area that requires team collaboration in order to achieve best results. There are a number of mobile apps that enable staff to manage projects and participate in staff collaboration regardless of their geographic location.
Asana– This iOS and Android app designed to manage projects without the use of email.
Producteev – This app provides for collaboration, monitoring and communication and runs on both iOS and Android devices as well as MacOS and web platforms.
Basecamp – This app runs on iOS and Android devices and is offered on a 60 day free trial. It enables people to share files, hold discussions, collaborate on documents, assign tasks and check due dates.
Document and content management apps
Modern software apps, accessible on mobile devices, can improve efficiency and yield better end results in the area of information retrieval and sharing.
Evernote – This is an easy-to-use and practical application that makes information collection and organisation an easy task.
Users can â€œclipâ€ full articles, or relevant snippets from any webpage, and store the information in user-assigned â€œnotebooksâ€ in Evernote. Written notes or instructions can then be added or voice-recorded, and shared with other users.
Evernote is available for a wide range of platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Mac and PC, so that content can be accessed from any location. The standard app is free, but a low-cost addition called Evernote Business provides centralized admin features, more storage space and better collaboration functions.
Syncplicity – This mobile app was built for sharing and collaboration. It includes push sync to all users and devices, a feature that ensures correct, up-to-date information can be accessed from any desktop or mobile device. Excellent file access control can be assigned for individual users and groups. This is a feature filled app for iOS and Android devices.
Invoicing and payment apps
Traditionally, this function has been centralised and controlled by an Accounts department. It is now possible to decentralise parts of this business area, and to process invoices, payments and expense reports using mobile devices. These apps may be particularly relevant for small business owners who are constantly on the move.
Square Register – This is a complete point-of-sale app for iOS and Android devices. It includes receipt processing, inventory control and sales reporting.
Stripe – This app enables businesses to accept payments over the Internet. It comes with toolkits for iOS and Android applications.
Invoice2go – This invoicing app is available for iOS and Android devices. Invoice data is stored on a cloud server, and can be retrieved from anywhere using a mobile device.
Shoeboxed – This app is particularly suited for scanning expense receipts and producing expense reports. It runs on iOS and Android devices.
Calendar and appointment scheduling apps
Finally, letâ€™s introduce a couple of apps designed to enhance time management and appointment scheduling.
Appointlet – This app integrates with the Google Calendar. Clients can view and enter appointment requests at times when the calendar shows they are available. It also sends automatic reminders to clients about scheduled meetings you have.
ScheduleOne – This is a meeting and appointment scheduling app that can be integrated both with a Google or Apple calendar. It runs on tablets and smartphones as well as the desktop.
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