Cloud Applications For SMEs
Cloud applications and services are rapidly replacing traditional desktop apps in the workplace. To new users the number of apps available can be overwhelming, with hundreds of choices on everything from CRM software to Budget Management. As part of a new series here at CloudTweaks, we take a look at ten ‘must-have’ apps for SMEs. We will review each in detail over the coming weeks.
Good project management software is typically very expensive, but SMEs can eliminate that cost with Asana. The free app styles itself as a ‘collaborative information manager’ and allows users to manage work projects, personal projects, and events in a well-design and easy to navigate interface.
Mailchimp is a cloud-based service that manages e-mail marketing campaigns and newsletter production. The app is supported by Google Analytics to aid performance measurement, and it also integrates with other popular SME apps such as Batchbook CRM, Zendesk and Shopify.
No list about useful apps for SMEs would be complete without the ubiquitous Evernote. The app is widely considered to be the best the best organisational program available, allowing users to store and sort their notes and files whilst indexing them for easy search and retrieval. The app syncs across all your devices, meaning your information will always be close to hand.
With six million users, Moxy is one of the best-known alternatives for cloud backup. Although not free, the service continuously backs up the files on your computer or server, meaning SMEs will always be protected from potential data loss. Files are also encrypted using military-grade 256-bit AES key security, making then one of the most trusted names in cloud backup.
While it may lack so of the features of Salesforce, Capsule CRM is also considerably cheaper. The full version of this app is only $12 pcm/per user, compared with $75 pcm/per user for its better-known cousin. Features include the ability to store 50,000 contacts, categorise data, track activities, and manage ‘sales pipelines’. Capsule CRM is also fully integrateable with Google Apps.
Again, no list about apps for SMEs is complete without the industry-leading VOIP service. Skype users can call other Skype subscribers for free, and for a small cost can also call external phones, conduct video conferences, and receive in-bound telephone calls.
Flashpanel is a cloud management and security tool for Google Apps. Administrators have access to a range of security settings, including the ability to manage passwords, control user access, set and enforce email settings, and control users’ sharing of Google Drive files.
Expensify helps users track and categorise their expenses, and after launching in 2008 now processes over $2 million of expenses every day. You can attach receipts to costs, fill-out expense reports for company reimbursements, and manage business mileage, all while meeting IRS regulations for record keeping.
FreshBooks is a cloud-based invoicing and financial-tracking app. Users can create invoices, track expenses, produce billing reports and charts, and process payments. Although the app lacks a payroll feature, it is perfect for individual entrepreneurs or small businesses with a handful of clients.
For businesses that require a strong focus on customer service, Zendesk is a must-have. Widely considered to be the fastest and easiest cloud tool for providing excellent customer service, Zendesk is used by more than 40,000 businesses worldwide. The app has many features, including measuring customer satisfaction, streamlined ticket-views and performance benchmarking.
By Daniel Price