There are very few people in the world these days that no not have a phone and of those phone owners most have a smartphone. And a large quantity of those smartphone owners will have a tablet and use a computer at work. So, the demand for apps that work across multiple platforms has led to some fantastic developments.
Whether we like it or not apps have transformed our daily lives. There is very little that we cannot do from our smartphones these days. Work has become a 24-7 obsession for many people because we can just never escape it.
I have picked out just ten apps (I may have cheated with the last entry) that have transformed our relationship with technology. I will admit now that three of them involve file storage and may perhaps paint me as a bit of a geek. Let me stop you there. I am more of a nostalgic nerd if truth be told. As I will go on to explain virtual storage has been a real game changer. It has made our documentation secure, almost indestructible and instantly available for editing and amending making information far more up-to-date and accurate than it has ever been before.
As an accountancy firm we are well aware that the future of record keeping will be entirely virtual and to be frank – we can’t wait for it to become the norm.
So here are ten apps that we feel make a daily difference to our busy working lives:
Audio Memos – The Voice Recording
Record voice notes or full transcripts – there is no length restriction though the free version will only allow you to email up to 3MB of recordings. The 69p version allows unlimited size email transfers and you can also upload to Dropbox or Google Drive. If you cannot afford a PA and you have a lot on your mind this little app is ideal for keeping track of everything on your ‘to do’ list. Making a quick recording could talk a colleague through something to help clarify written notes, half the time it takes you to create a priority list, and you can do audio files on the go. 69p well spent!
So simple to use and instantly connects everyone in the office – but not in a social way. This app allows companies to sync and share files. The app stores documents (text, spreadsheets, drawings, presentations) in Google Drive virtually and allows multiple users to access and edit them. It saves the files automatically and people can edit them simultaneously – there is no limit to the amount of users accessing the document at precisely the same moment. Collaboration in real time and easy to download and use. And of course you can access them anywhere from the phone version of the app.
An app that allows employees to share a screen when delivering presentations online. You can conduct video conferences or meetings with multiple users at once – demonstrate ideas/findings by sharing your screen and pulling up the relevant documents. There is a handy mobile version. Of course, there is also Google Hangouts – found on Google+ that does a similar thing allowing real-time chat, video and screen-share. Meetings can be conducted from your desk with the same results as if you had been sat in front of your client in person.
Microsoft Office 365
I am putting this on the list because it is just something we know well that has adapted perfectly for current and culture demand. The 365 version stores all of your documents in the cloud provided you have a web interface or mobile app (erm who doesn’t?). There is real-time collaboration available and you can edit and store Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents knowing that they are being stored safely in your virtual vault. It wasn’t long ago that we had to store important docs on a floppy disc, then we got CDs, then we moved onto data sticks and now we seem to suspend them in virtual reality. Stop to think about it for a moment it becomes a little surreal!
Still the third biggest social media site. You can talk about Instagram and Vine but they have got a long way to go before they come close to the King of video. Brands increasingly leverage video sites to connect with customers. The ‘how to’ guide, introductory video, animated sequences are gathering momentum – there has never been a better time to utilise the medium of video. There is the added bonus that your YouTube channel connects to your Google+ page, your Google+ page is connected to your Google Places Page and…well Google likes consistent information about one company appearing over naturally synched sites. Especially ones that they created!
Still a favourite of mine, perhaps because it was one of the first virtual storage apps to grab my attention. Back when I suddenly spotted something better than the miniscule data stick that I kept losing at the bottom of my bag. Dropbox is used by employees to sync files across devices so they can get them on their commutes, during lunch, at home and when they really ought to be doing something non-work related! Alas, we can access our files anywhere that there is a web connection unless we have already downloaded and updated files before leaving one – in which case we are never without them. Is there such a thing as being too organised – too connected? That’s for another blog.
A solution to the piles of business cards on your desk. Get this app on your phone and the first thing you do after every networking event is take a picture of all the cards you have collected. This is a free app, owned by LinkedIn, which turns your business cards into LinkedIn Connections.
The app that keeps you moving ideas from inspiration to completion – at least that is what they say. It is certainly very popular. Evernote keeps you organised across all your platforms/devices. It allows you to store notes, photos, to-do lists, ideas, and voice reminders in one neat place. You can search your notes and the free version of the app permits up to 60MB of usage per month. It also gives you a handy usage meter to you can see how much your have consumed for the month. This is a very slick and useful app few people can be without once they have incorporated it into their lives.
There are many social media management apps but this one is my current favourite and so it made the list. I like buffer because you can stack up posts in a queue for each platform you decide to connect. You can attach feeds to generate content from sites that you know and trust or you can chose from the 25 daily suggestions Buffer gives you from the subject areas you selected. There is a toolbar icon for you to add great articles as you come across them. The content is varied, you can schedule posts, queue them for later or post them instantly. Admittedly the paid version has more features but the free app is a good place to start.
10. Facebook, Twitter, Google+
When it came down to it I just couldn’t choose. Google+ is great because you can store all the photos from your phone on there (it will automatically back them up, just change the privacy setting so only you can see them). Twitter is kind of essential if you are into your social media as a business because it is real-time. You have to response to mentions, DMs and trends as they are taking place or you have missed the point of Twitter really. Facebook is just Facebook – the King of social media regardless of how many new apps come along to take a pop at it. With instant messenger, the Pages app, and far reaching insights, what is not to love?
So, what is your favourite app?