20 Cloud Apps to Evolve Your Business

Download 20 Cloud Apps to Evolve Your Business

Post on 14-Apr-2017

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<ul><li><p>20ApplicationstoevolvethewayyouworkFinanceThespreadsheetisthefoundationaltoolforstaffthatworkwithnumbers.Todaythereareamazingtoolsthatmaketheworkofkeepingthebooksbalancedaloteasier.</p><p>Wave(https://www.waveapps.com)isaverypowerfulaccountingsoftwareinthecloud.Itmanagesinvoicing,payments,payroll,receiptsandmore.Itevenintegrateswithyourbankaccountsforreconciliation.Wavealsohascompanionappsforyoursmartphonetocapturereceiptsonthegoandcapturetheminyouraccounting.Thebestpartisthebasesoftwareisfreetouse.Thepayservicesareexpertadviceandpaymentprocessingfees.</p><p>Xero(https://www.xero.com)isquicklybecomingafavoriteaccountingappforsmalltomediumbusiness.ManybusinessesviewXeroasamorepowerfulandextensiblereplacementforQuickBooks.IthasthesamebasicfeaturesasWave,butalsogoesbeyondthebasicfunctionswithinventorymanagement,advancedreporting,andatonofintegrationoptions.</p><p>FreshBooks(https://www.freshbooks.com)isahighlyawardedcloudbasedaccountingapplication.ItlackssomeofthefunctionsofWaveandXero,suchaspayroll,buthasprojectbillingfunctionsbuiltin.Freshbooksistailoredtowardservicebasedbusinessesthatarebillingforhourlyservicesorretainerbasedagreements.</p></li><li><p>QuotingSalespeopleshouldbesellingnotspendinghourswritingproposalsandquotes.Quotingsoftwarecandramaticallycutdowntheadministrativerequirementforwritingandsendingquotestocustomers.</p><p>Quotewerks(http://www.quotewerks.com)allowsyoutoquicklyaddproductsandservicestoatemplatequote,sendthequotedigitally,confirmreceipt,andhavequotesigneddigitally.Afterall,itis2016,weshouldnothavetofaxagreementsanymore.Quotewerksalsohasintegrationwithdistributors,soproductcanbeorderedandtrackedfromthesameportal.Savingfurtheradministrativetime.</p><p>Quosal(http://www.quosal.com)hasmanyofthesamefeaturesasQuotewerks.QuosalSellisawebbasedportalformanagingquotesandsomedegreeoffunnelmanagementaswell.</p><p>TaskManagementHowdoesyourorganizationcurrentlymanagetasksanddeliverydates?Mostcompaniessimplyemaileachother.Usingemailcreatesagapinvisibilityandaccountability.Fromsimpletaskassignmentstocomplexprojectmanagement,therearetoolsavailabletofacilitatethecollaborationofateamorsimplymanageyourpersonalto-dolist.</p><p>Asana(https://asana.com)isasimpletaskmanagementtoolthatisveryflexible.InAsana,youcancreateanumberofprojectsandassignindividualstospecifictasks.Thetaskscanbegivendeliverydatesaswellasfacilitatediscussionandfilesharing.Theprojectscanevenbeviewedatadashboardleveltogiveasnapshotviewoftheprogressbeingmade.Asanaisfreetousewithadvancedfeaturesavailableforamonthlyservicefee.</p><p>Trello(https://trello.com)isamuchmorevisualapproachtotaskmanagement.Ifyourtasksandprojectshaveavisualcomponent,suchasdesign,graphicsormanufacturing,Trellomaybeabetterfit.LikeAsanaTrelloisalsofree,withadditionalfeaturesforpurchase.</p></li><li><p>Jira(https://www.atlassian.com/software/jira/core)iswellestablishedinsoftwaredevelopmentteams,butitdoeshaveacorefunctionasacollaborationplatform.OfthethreeoptionsJiraisarguablythemostpowerfulwhencustomizedcorrectly.Ithasthecapabilityforworkflowmanagementfarbeyonddimpletaskmanagement.</p><p>TimeEntryFormanyorganizationstimeentryisanecessarycomponenttorecognizehowtheorganizationstimeisbeingspent.Thisisparticularlytrueforservicebasedorganizations.Accuratetimeentryiscriticaltounderstandingeffortandgaugingprojectprofitability.Noonelovestimesheets,butyoucanmakeiteasierforpeoplewithsomenextgenerationtools.</p><p>Toggl(https://toggl.com)isasupersimplemethodtotracktimeindetail.Thepoweroftoggl,likemanyothermodernapps,isitsabilitytointegratewithotherapplications.Xero,Trello,zendesk,wunderlist,asana,basecamp,andothers.Thetimeyouenterintogglgetsenteredintoyourprojectmanagementtool,accountingapp,ortaskmanagementsoftware.Thisreducestheneedforduplicateentryandincreasestimeentrycompliance.Thereportingtoolisexcellentforcreatingaoverviewoftimeonprojectorbyresource.</p><p>Harvest(https://www.getharvest.com)iseasytouse,justliketoggl.Harvestalsointegrateswithnumerousmanagementapplications.Harvesthasafewextrafeatureslikeexpensetrackingandinvoicing.Itismoresuitableforsmallerteamsorindividualsasitallowsasingleinterfacetomanageanumberoffunctions.</p><p>CollaborationInthemodernworkplace,teamworkandcollaborationwithothersiscriticaltosuccess.Whetheranorganizationis1personor1000people,workissharedamongsttheteam.Communicationbetweenthemembersoftheteamandmanagementplayacriticalroleinteamsuccess.Communicationisalsovitalfordevelopmentandmaintenanceofcompanyculture.Inlargeorganizationsordistributedorganizationseffectivecommunicationsbecomesexponentiallymoredifficult.Adistanceofonly40metershasbeenshowntodegradethequalityofcommunicationandcollaborationamongstteams.</p></li><li><p>Slack(https://slack.com)istakingtheworldbystorm.Intheshorttwoyearssinceitsstartithasgrownatadizzyingpace.Afterthefirstyearitwasvaluedatover1Billiondollarsandcontinuestoadd10,000usersperweek.Slackssimplicityisdeceiving.Itlooksalotlikeasimplechatroomapplication,butintegrateswithjustaboutanyapplicationyoucanthinkof.Makingitafunctionalcenterpieceforgroupcollaboration.Ituseschannelsforasmanytopicsasnecessaryfortheteam.Usingachatapplicationcanreducetherelianceoftheteamonemailforcommunicationandallowsinformationtobeaccessedand/orsearchedatanytimeinthefuture.Thereal-timenatureofthecommunicationcreatesefficiency.SlackhasalsorecentlyintroducedaVOIPfunction,allowinguserstophoneeachotherfromwithintheapplication.Theapplicationalsomovesseamlesslyfromcomputer,smartphone,andtablet.Aswithmanyoftheseapplications,Slackisfreetouseformostofitsfunctionswithpaidtiersforheavyusersandadditionalfeatures.</p><p>Yammer(https://www.yammer.com)isoftendescribedasacorporateversionofFacebooksincetheinterfacestyleisquitesimilar.Thissimilarityhassomeuniqueadvantages.SincesomanypeopleuseFacebookintheirpersonallivesonadailybasisthelearningcurveisoftenmuchshorterforpeopletobecomfortablewithYammer.UsersoftheOffice365subscriptionspackagesgetaccesstoYammerforfreewhichishelpfulgiventhewideadoptionofOffice365.</p><p>Hipchat(https://www.hipchat.com)isfromAtlassian,thesamecompanythatcreatedJira,sotheintegrationbetweentheseplatformsisstrong.Whileitdoesntgetthesameindustryfan-fareasSlack,itisverypowerfulandoffersseveralfeaturesthatSlackdoesnotyethave.Guestaccessallowsyoutoaddclients,vendorsorotherthirdpartiestothechatrooms.Hipchatalsoallowsscreen-sharing,whichSlackisadding,butatthistimedoesnothave.Hipchatisalsofreetouse,withpaidtiersforadvancedfeatures.</p></li><li><p>Video/Voice</p><p>Forhostinganonlinemeetingforclientsorvendors,GoToMeeting(http://www.gotomeeting.com)isasolidapplication.Itisextremelyreliableandfussfree.Attendeesarenotrequiredtohaveanythinginstalledontheirmachineandevenfornon-technicalusersgettingaccesstothemeetingiseasy.Attendeescanusevoipfunctionprovidedtoattendwithacomputerand/ordialintoaconferencebridge.ThereisalsoamoreadvancedversionGoToWebinar,whichhassomegreataudienceengagementtoolsandadvancedinvitationfunctions.</p><p>GoogleHangouts(https://hangouts.google.com)isagreatfreevideotoolfor10usersorless.HangoutsOnAirisamoreadvancedversionwhichallowspassiveviewingformorethan10users.Despitetheusefulnessofhangouts,theprogramsuffersfromalackofvisionforwhattheapplicationisfor.OriginallyitwasapartoftheGoogle+suite.Nowitisavailablestandalone,butthemethodsofaccessthroughapps,orwebpage,orchrome,andothersmakethesystemfairlyconfusingtouse.Ifyourejustmeetingwithafewpeopleforameetingorchatitworksgreat,butitsnotyourbestoptionforlargegroupsorhighprofilebusinessrequirements.</p><p>Skype(http://www.skype.com/)iswidelyrecognizedandusedbymillionsofpeopleeveryday.Itsvoip&amp;videofunctionsarereliableandgenerallyhighquality.Skypeisbestwhenspeaking1-1withsomeoneorwithasmallgroup,butlacksfunctionalityfororganizingameetingroomaheadoftimetocoordinate.Itallowsconferencesupto25people,butgettingeveryoneconnectedisafairlymanualprocess.SkypeforBusiness(formallyLync)ismuchmorefunctionalforbusinessneedsandhassomelimitedintegrationwiththeconsumerversion.SkypeforBusinessisincludedinmostOffice365packagesandworksgreatwiththeOfficeeco-system.Forexample,beingabletoaddanonlinemeetingroomtoameetinginviteinoutlookmakesconnectingwithpeopleonlineveryeasy.Skypeforbusinessalsoallowstelephonyfunction,soyoucancallstandardphonenumbersfromwithintheapp.IfyourbusinessisanOfficeshop,andespeciallyifyouareusingOffice365,Skypeforbusinesspotentialshouldbetakenadvantageof.</p></li><li><p>Join.me(https://www.join.me)isagreatofferingforbasicvideoconferences.Thefreeversionsupportsupto10people.Thepaidversionssupportupto250peoplewithahostofmoreadvancedfeatures.Join.meisagreatfreealternativetoGoToMeetingifyoudonotrequiremorethat10peopletoattend.</p><p>FileSharingEveryorganizationrequiressomefilesharingforcollaboration,approval,andworkflowmanagement.Fartoomanyorganizationsarestillinthehabitofemailingthosedocumentstoeachotherasamethodforfilesharing.Usingacloudbasedfilestorageismoreefficient,secure,andflexiblethantraditionalmethods.Mostofthefilesharingapplicationsinstallalocalclientthatmakestheclouddriveappearasafolderinyourcomputer.Thisintegrationmakesthesystemuserfriendly,whichiskeyforadoption.</p><p>MicrosoftOneDrive(https://onedrive.live.com)isapartoftheOfficeeco-system.Theconsumerversionoffers5GBfreespace.IfyouareanOffice365subscriber,youget1TBofspace.OneoftheuniquefeaturesofOneDriveisitallowsmultipleuserstoeditanOfficedocument/spreadsheetatthesametime.OnemajorissuewithOneDriveforbusinessisthatcurrentlythereisnopublicMacclient.YoucanstillusethewebpagetoaccessOneDrivefromaMac,butthatlimitstheusefulnessofthesystem.</p><p>Dropbox(https://www.dropbox.com)offers2GBofstorageforfree.Dropboxhasseenmajorsuccessintheconsumerspace.Infact,thissuccesshasledtoanissueofshadowIT.ShadowITiswhenuserstakeituponthemselvestoinstallandusetoolsthatarenotauthorizedorsupportedbythecompany.TherearenumerousorganizationswhereindividualshaveinstalledDropboxfortheirownuseinsharingfilesbetweendevices,co-workersandevenclients/vendors.Inasensethistrendishelpful,sinceitdemonstratesthedesireforthesetypesofsolutions.Also,thepersonaluseofDropboxreducesthetrainingburdenonmanyorganizations.BusinessesshoulduseDropboxforbusiness,whichoffersimportantfeatureslikeunlimitedfileversioningandusersecuritysettings.</p></li><li><p>Box(https://www.box.com)provides10GBofstoragefreeforpersonaluseandvariouspaidtiersforpersonalandbusinessuse.Boxisconsideredakeyleaderintheenterprisestorageandmanagementspace.ItwasplacedinthemagicquadrantbyGartnerforthiscategory.Boxhasanumberofmoreadvancedbusinessfeaturesthanitspeersincludingworkflowmanagementandadvancedreportingfunctions.</p><p>ForAssistanceindeterminingwhatappsarebestforyourbusinessneeds,contactToddKanewithEvolvedManagementConsulting.todd@evolvedmgmt.comor778.788.9401.</p></li></ul>