Give your business a boost.
It’s fair to say that when it comes down to it, the main thing we really want from software is to make our business more productive. Whether it’s more efficient project scheduling, help with organising financial records, or accessible office apps, software that helps to streamline everyday administrative tasks gives business owners and workers the chance to focus on the job at hand.
It’s also true that businesses are more mobile than ever, making decisions on-the-go and managing crucial aspects of the business from a mobile phone, tablet or laptop.
Here, we look at some apps that will help SMEs to become more productive.
Microsoft’s Office suite is still the software most people associate with the company, and this subscription-based version is the one that Microsoft has been pushing people towards in recent years.
The Office 365 packages for business start at less than £4 a month (plus VAT), although the starting point for most will be the core Business package at under £8 a month, as this comes with both web and mobile versions of the core, traditional Office applications - Word, Excel and Powerpoint - plus Outlook and OneNote, a note-taking app for collaboration and ideas gathering.
The licence covers full installed Office apps on five phones, five tablets and five PCs or Macs per user. Also, OneDrive enables easy file storage and sharing with automatic syncing of locally stored files.
If Microsoft Office is important to your business, the subscription-based Office 365 makes a lot of financial and business sense.
The Evernote app may be familiar to you, as it’s arguably the most well-known note-taking mobile app on the market. For good reason too: Evernote’s cloud-based app provides a great user experience and a large amount of functionality. The business plan for the app starts at £10.99 per user/per month, and for that you’re getting an app in which you can create and share notes in real time to ensure that everyone in the team has the latest updates.
Evernote integrates with Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Slack and Google Drive, and notes can be edited offline too from any device. Evernote Business also comes with a feature called Spaces, which is a shared space allowing for the collection and organising of collaborative and synced ideas sharing.
Other core features include document scanning, language recognition for 28 typewritten and 11 handwritten languages, and a web clipper tool for capturing and saving key web articles, pages and PDFs.
Microsoft’s OneNote app, which comes with Office 365, is a great tool also, but as a stand-alone option, Evernote is a great choice.
Social media management can be a tricky, time-consuming business, but that doesn’t mean that it should be ignored. Aiming to take some of the strain, Hootsuite is a platform designed to help you manage social media from the one place, enabling SMEs to schedule and manage their social media interactions, automatically scheduling posts, which can be managed on the fly using the mobile app, and also track and measure the impact of social media campaigns.
Clear visual analytics provide an at-a-glance look at social media activity, and Hootsuite can also enable users to find and share online content. It integrates with the platforms you’d expect - Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, etc - and has a 30-day trial to give you a flavour of what you’re paying for before diving in.
Business packages vary in price, depending on how many users you want to get involved.
Any help with project management is welcome, and tools such as Trello promise to do just that.
Trello, which comes with a free option or paid-for business-focused plans, takes the form of a board in which you can add lists that can be viewed and used by you and your team. Lists are created using what are labelled ‘cards’ (essentially tasks), on which can be added comments, labels, attachments, due dates and more. Drag and drop invited people to cards in order to assign tasks, and everyone invited to the board can see what everyone is working on at once in real time, giving a full overview of a project’s progress.
Data is secure, and with mobile, web and desktop connectivity, Trello syncs across all devices.
Another Microsoft application, Teams brings together task management, chat, note taking and file sharing into one well-rounded productivity tool. Although available as part of some Office 365 subscriptions, there is also now a free version, which, despite a few limitations, is more than sufficient for many users. Perhaps best of all, Teams supports a wide range of third-party tools, including Evernote and Trello, which can be added into its interface as tabs.
Looking for business software? Check out our sister site, www.tmb.software.