When it comes to technology, one of the most game-changing devices to ever be introduced into the world of business is the smartphone. The ability to connect to the internet, run various software apps and keep in touch with clients as well as your family with video conferencing has been a major boost to businesses all over the world. With the help of technology, we’ve been able to bridge the gap between international clients to strike better deals, expand our influence and even create long-lasting professional relationships that could benefit two separate companies at different corners of the earth.
With so much connectivity and creativity in our mobile apps, it can be difficult trying to pick out the right mobile applications to use for business purposes. Whether it’s your workplace office, a factory or even a fleet of private transportation vehicles, there are smartphone apps that will help you efficiently manage your business.
- Scheduling Apps
Keeping your business on track is important. Whether it’s scheduling a company-wide online conference or meeting via a program such as Slack, it’s important that everyone in your company is on the right wavelength when it comes to important dates. For instance, if you and your software company have spent the past year developing a brand new application that plans to shake up a specific industry, then it’s important to schedule deadlines and release dates to let everyone know how much time you have left until the inevitable release date.
This helps to keep your employees on track, gives them a heads up of upcoming events, and gives them constant reminders so there is no excuse for them to miss an important date. Apps such as Basecamp allow you to schedule dates for multiple projects, assign team members, and even share documents or emails among all the project members. If you want your employees to take you seriously, then you need to order them around like an experienced leader instead of a confused beginner that has no business operating a business with dozens of workers.
- Finance Apps
If you still don’t have a financial advisor or an accountant working for you, then you’ll probably have to rely on finance apps. For instance, online cloud accounting software such as QuickBooks have mobile applications that allow you to manage all of your invoices, expenses and payments with ease on your smartphone. This gives you a lot of freedom when it comes to managing your payments and finances remotely, and you don’t need to be in the office when there are disputes raised about invoices or clients that refuse to pay.
Although cloud accounting typically requires a monthly fee to use, the app itself is free because it requires an account to be used. In short, if you have a lot of employees to pay or work with multiple clients, then you’re going to need a companion in order to help you manage your books. If that’s not going to be a human accountant, then it has to be a smartphone app.
- Communication Apps
The most basic smartphone communication apps we all use are probably Twitter and WhatsApp. However, they’re not exactly suited for business use and can typically be slow, cluttered or have features that aren’t needed, resulting in a lot of excess tools that bloat the software and make it hard to use. A great alternative to these traditional social apps is to use something like Slack, Skype, or Google’s own service. These communication apps allow you and your employees to communication without much hassle. You can share links, pictures, ideas and other forms of media.
Staying connected with your staff is important so that you can monitor what they are doing, keep track of their progress and respond to their queries. The great thing about apps such as Slack is that they can be used as a means of interoffice communications instead of being used for just outdoor communications. If you’re serious about creating a workplace that works efficiently and flawlessly, then don’t take communication apps lightly.
- Monitoring Apps
Monitoring apps typically refer to bespoke software that is made in-house or by a third-party company. They might also be attached to specific devices or hardware, such as OctoDroid, a 3D printing application that attaches to the OctoPrint server that your 3D printer hosts. Monitoring apps are useful to check the status of something specific. In the case of OctoPrint, it gives you controls that allow you to start, stop, pause, and even monitor a 3D printing job.
Monitoring apps can typically be customised to your liking, but they require an experienced software engineer in order to give you your desired results. For instance, if you need a smartphone application that works with a powder coating booth in your factory to accurately monitors curing times, then Reliant Finishing Systems may have it. Another good example is monitoring the state of networked hard drives in your office to ensure they are running efficiently and aren’t encountering read or write errors, or keeping track of your private transportation fleet with a GPS tracker and a map application. If you have an idea, then there’s a software engineer somewhere out there who is more than capable of creating a bespoke monitoring app for your purposes.
- Document Scanning Apps
When you operate a business, one of the key components you need to worry about is making it seamless and remote. For instance, if you need to scan a document, then you probably won’t have access to a scanner if you’re out in the open at a trade show. Instead, what you can do is use Google Drive or CamScanner to scan a real-world document into a digital format. You can then edit it, makes changes, save and send back to your office.
This is incredibly useful if you have employees working outside of your office. For instance, if one of your staff members is meeting with a client or attending an exhibition, they can scan clear images of leaflets, receipts and other types of physical media to be viewed back at your office.
- News Apps
It sounds silly to have an app that shows you the latest news when you could just use your web browser, but having a dedicated app such as Flipboard or Freely have some clear advantages. First, you can set up notifications to alert you when specific news articles related to your interest are posted. In addition, a dedicated app is typically faster and easier to access than a web browser on a smartphone. The text is usually formatted in a clearer manner and it’s easier to navigate the latest articles to find what you’re looking for.
Keeping track of the latest news in your specific industry is important. If you want to act upon new changes to the industry if there are situations you can take advantage of in your business (for example, if you work as a journalist) then having a news app can be extremely helpful.
- Social Media Apps
Twitter and Facebook are the two most widely used social media apps in the world, which means they are also the most widely used social media platforms in the world as well. Much like the news apps, if you want to keep track of the latest trends, news and events, you need to stay in the know by using a dedicated social media app. If you still aren’t using social media for business purposes, then you should get started by downloading an app, registering for an account and following industry figureheads that are both influential and give insight into the industry.
As with news apps, you can set up notifications which will alert you when someone has made a new Tweet, followed you, or sent you a message. Again, this gives the dedicated social media apps an advantage over simply using your phone’s browser, making it easy to use, intuitive, and fast.
- Productivity Apps
Lastly, we can’t forget productivity apps. Whether it’s Dropbox to sync your files between a computer and your mobile phone, or Google Drive so that you have a way to edit documents and correct errors on your smartphone, productivity apps are indispensable in the world of business. One of the most popular uses for productivity apps is to get work done while you are on public transport or at a coffee shop. Since you can connect a keyboard via Bluetooth to your mobile device, you could effectively turn your smartphone into a handy email-responding device or even type up entire documents on the go.
Productivity apps all depend on the general workflow of your office so it makes sense to speak with your IT department to get a good idea of what apps could be beneficial in making your business run more efficiently. In most cases, these types of apps are interchangeable because you’re essentially just editing spreadsheets or word documents, meaning that one person could use a mobile version of Microsoft Office and someone else could use Google Drive’s built-in tools. Assuming the files are saved in a universal format, any program can access them and edit them.