As the global business landscape moves toward increasingly mobile communications, enterprises are faced with a constant, ever-evolving barrage of desktop and mobile applications designed to facilitate interaction among their employees. Employees also must communicate with everyone from freelance content developers and designers to worldwide clients, often through conferencing systems or applications designed for collaboration on cloud-stored content files.
In addition to strong functionality, intuitive interfaces, and compatibility with back-end systems, companies are concerned about the adoption rate and functionality of new apps – especially as more and more workers access them on mobile devices. Perhaps most urgent in the contact of the current mobile landscape, enterprises want applications with seamless integration between desktops and homebound infrastructure and mobile devices as an unprecedented number employees, contractors, and clients work on the go from coffee shops, airports, trains, and even automobiles as they conduct their business world-wide.
To add to the complications, now that enterprises and employees are sharing more data and content between company and personal devices, security is a key issue when it comes to the mobile workforce. According to Blake Brannon, a senior solutions engineer AirWatch by VMware, which produces enterprise mobility management software, “The cloud leakage problem is one of the greatest threats to enterprise content security. While many cloud solutions secure enterprise content within the cloud infrastructure, they often lack the controls necessary to keep mobile users from downloading and walking away with critical information on personal, unsecured devices.” Read the article.
In this ever-changing technological and mobile professional landscape, we’ve found ten current applications that have answered the call in an effort to securely and efficiently empower your mobile workforce.
- Buffer (bufferapp.com) is one of the newer kids on the block when it comes to social media posting, but it’s a handy one. Like a number of other social media platforms, the app enables users to compose numerous posts at one time, schedule them in advance (or Buffer will automatically schedule them for you) and choose which social profiles to send them to. Buffer automatically shortens links without the bother of an extra click and provides some useful analytics. Buffer for Business plans range from $50 to $250 per month, depending on the number of connected accounts, how many team members can be added, and how many RSS feeds companies want imported into their “buffer.”
- Box (box.com) is a cloud platform that enables employees to securely store, share, and manage company files. Box helps companies do more with their content by offering secure file sharing and invitation-only online collaboration, file synchronization that syncs files between the desktop and online Box folders, the ability to view, share and edit any kind of file in any location, online or off, and more. A free 14-day trial is available at the company’s website, and PC Magazine awarded the company’s iPhone app 4 out of 5 stars, noting on their site that “The Box iPhone app gives you access to all those files you host in your Box account from practically anywhere….”
- Evernote (www.evernote.com) is an organizational app that enables users to clip web articles, capture handwritten notes, and snap photos to keep the physical and digital details of projects available at all times. The app boasts powerful search and discovery features to make collected files easy to call up, and even makes the development of presentations easy with a feature that, with one click, transforms notes into an attractive screen-friendly visual layout. The free version provides a workspace for daily projects that syncs across devices, for $5 per month search features are expanded and offline access to notes on mobile is activated, and for $10 per month per user, centralized administration and co-worker collaboration is added to the mix.
- MobileDay (www.mobileday.com) helps companies regain control of mobile calling costs by using a nifty system called Dynamic Dialing. MobileDay auto-detects a caller’s location and maps that information to available dial-ins, selecting the most cost-effective option for each call. No more remembering long dial-in numbers or conferencing instructions; one tap of a green button on a sleek, intuitive interface makes calling into virtually any enterprise conferencing system a breeze. The app is ‘Platform Agnostic,’ meaning users can join a Lync call or meeting with a colleague one minute, and then immediately switch to a client conference on any other conferencing service – WebEx, GoToMeeting, Join.me, Google Hangouts, etc. – even in instances where data is not available. Writing for Inc. Magazine, Ilya Pozin named MobileDay one of the “10 Must Have Mobile Apps for Entrepreneurs.” Read the story.
- Concur for Mobile (www.concur.com) enables employees to manage anything related to expense and/or travel in virtually any location. From booking and managing itineraries to capturing receipts and submitting expense reports (simply take a picture of each receipt, hit “export,” and ExpenseIt Pro automatically creates, itemizes and categorizes the expense entries) Concur can do it all through a smartphone app. One user reviewing the app at g2crowd.com notes: “The fact I can use my iphone to photograph receipts right there at the restaurant and not worry where I kept the little pieces of paper that fade before I can read them is simply a gift to wary [sic] traveler!”
- Jive Social Business Platform (https://www.jivesoftware.com/products-solutions/) Jive is a single communications and social collaboration hub that claims to keep a workforce informed, productive, and tightly aligned with company strategy. Named a Leader in the 2014 Magic Quadrant for Social in the Workplace, the company provides solutions for employee collaboration, customer and partner communities, and team task management. A case study for how the company’s product helped T-Mobile is available online at: https://www.jivesoftware.com/discover-jive/case-studies/t-mobile/.
- Yammer on the Go (https://about.yammer.com/product/mobile/ios/), is a mobile app designed for Yammer, Microsoft’s cloud-based enterprise social networking platform, to enable employees to access work conversations on their mobile devices. Users can create profiles, develop and work in groups, and initiate or participate in real-time conversations. Document collaboration functions are also provided. Push notifications let employees know about important activities as they occur.
- Hootsuite (https://hootsuite.com) is consistently ranked among the top applications designed for the management of numerous social media platforms through one central dashboard. Employees can view streams from Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and more in one place, and can post, respond, or cross post directly from the app.
- GoToMyPC (http://www.gotomypc.com/remote-access/) is the mobile version of Citrix’s remote access software, which lets employees control their desktop applications from remote locations. The free app works in conjunction with the desktop version of the same name along with a wireless connection. Reviewer Jeffrey Wilson notes: “The app works as advertised—I was able to control my work PC from a distance—but it could benefit from a more responsive interaction with the host computer.”
- Tripit (www.tripit.com) is a useful convenience for frequent travelers; it organizes travel plans into an itinerary that stores all of an employee’s trip details in one place. Employees simply forward confirmation emails to [email protected] and the app will automatically build an itinerary for the trip that can be accessed anytime, either online or from a mobile device. And the best part? It’s advertised as “Free forever.”