appsIn the last few years, there has been an explosion of new technology in the business application environment. I recently attended a conference where some of these software applications were on display. One speaker at this conference likened the recent “app explosion” to the Cambrian explosion of roughly a half-billion years ago when life on planet Earth seemingly began appearing and diversifying extremely rapidly. As with the post-Cambrian explosion period, some apps will have what it takes to survive in the new competitive landscape, and some will fall victim to “natural selection”. Here is a short list of some that might stick around, and could help you run your business better.

Office Mobile

If you’re not already using Office 365, you soon will be. Office 365 is Microsoft’s new Office offering. It’s a subscription-based online Office suite which gives you access to Microsoft Office through an online portal for a monthly fee.

Once you’re on Office 365, you can try out “Office Mobile” for your ipad or smartphone. This app gives you access to a touch-friendly version of Office 365 which works nicely on your mobile device. Review and update Excel worksheets, add formulas and charts, and update Word documents easily on the go.

PlanGrid

Developed for the construction industry, PlanGrid allows contractors and architects to collaborate with all their project plans, specs and photos. Maintain one master set with automatic version control and keep your team up to date so that nobody builds with outdated drawings.

Dropbox

Are you using a cloud-based file hosting service? Does that phrase scare you? It’s time to learn what it means and how to make it work for you. Dropbox is one of the most popular file hosting services that offers cloud storage, file synchronization, and a personal cloud. It allows you to securely share files with your team as though you’re using a single computer.

Square Register

This app allows you to accept credit card payments on your mobile device (iPad, smartphone) using a free card reader and point of sale tools. The app charges 2.75% for credit card sales. It’s an easy way to start accepting credit card payments without being hit with an up-front fee. Handy for those who are just starting out as entrepreneurs.

Quoteroller

Eliminate time spent preparing proposals to clients by automating much of the process with this app. Set up standard proposal templates, drag and drop content blocks, add interactive content, get electronic signoff by your clients, and manage your proposals through Quoteroller’s interactive dashboard.

TimeClock ST

Do you manage employees who have trouble getting their time cards in on time? Set them up with TimeClock ST or another timecard management app. This allows them to simply press a button on their smartphone when they clock in and out of a job. The electronic time sheets are then sent to your staff for input, or in some cases automatically uploaded straight to Quickbooks or other accounting software.

Cardmunch

Do you network? LinkedIn is one of the most powerful networking tools available. But when you’re at a networking function you don’t want to be staring at your phone trying to find someone online who you just met. Collect physical business cards from people, and later use Cardmunch to automatically add people to LinkedIn from a snapshot of their business cards.

Evernote

Evernote allows you to make notes easily using a simple, intuitive app which integrates across your devices and other applications. Attach pictures and files to your notes, upload the notes to other apps including workflow management software, and search your entire database of notes easily.

Written by: Chris Brien