While digital disruption has played havoc with most business strategies, the upside is that it has enabled small and mid-sized companies access to productivity programs that were too expensive in the past.
Thanks to the ongoing rise of cloud computing and business apps for smartphones and tablets, it’s now more easier than ever to stay connected to your workforce when you travel. And you don’t even need a computer. But even if you’re all sharing the one office, and rarely venture outside, these apps will also make managing projects easier.
Here are a list of services and apps that have positively transformed how businesses communicate and operate both internally and externally.
Most companies communicate with their teams using an exhausting combination of tools such as Outlook, Gmail, text messages and Skype, as well as a combination of productivity tools from Google Drive, GitHub and Dropbox.
1. Slack is a relatively new app taking the world by storm. Since starting in early 2014, it has been signing new customers at a phenomenal rate. Every eleven days the company adds $1 million in annual recurring revenue. In less than a year, it was valued as a $1 billion company. Why it’s breaking world records in start-up revenue, is that it brings together team communication in one place allowing it to be archived and searchable. Essentially, it provides an organisation with the ability to have its own standard app for company wide communication, ensuring you can communicate with anyone at any time. While also enabling organisations to share information and collaborate on projects. The best things about Slack? It makes email redundant. It has both a free and paid version.
2. HipChat (owned by Australian software company Atlassian) also enables teams to chat and connect, as well as share files. It also integrates with a host of other applications. It has both a free and paid version.
There are also some great project management services to monitor the progress of projects when you’re travelling or just locked up in your office.
3. Trello is perfect for managing freelancers and you can easily see what work needs to be done. Beloved by website designers, it’s free and creates virtual whiteboards so you can see your team’s progress as they work on a to-do list. It’s even great for undertaking large home renovation projects.
4. LiquidPlanner is ideal when you have lots of projects and it can even calculate how long it will take to complete a project, even taking holiday leave into account.
5. DropTask makes it easy for everyone to visualise what tasks need to be done, easily creates task lists and has it’s own messaging system. Ideal for those who are more visually oriented. It has a free and a paid version.
6. Intellinote enables users to store documents, files and track due dates. It also enables forms to be signed electronically. It’s based on a user based fee of $US10 to US$20 a user.
7. Docusign is perfect if you need clients to sign agreements before a project commences. Provides a really easy interface to email documents and it even emails reminders when a document isn’t signed on time.
Meeting and Conference Calls
There are a whole host of free conference call apps that ensures you can be connected to your team.
8. Join.me is a popular tool enabling all of the functionality you’d expect such as screen sharing and conferencing.
9. While Appear.in ensures you can see people’s faces, enabling up to eight people to join a video chat.
10. Google Hangouts is a personal favourite that I’ve used successfully talking to multiple people in different places in the world. It allows everyone to see each other and when one person talks, their video feed becomes larger for everyone to focus on.
Running a business is often difficult when you’re on the road, but now you can keep your business moving when you are, too.