Android apps for business managers
By Lukas Stewart
Smartphones and tablets are becoming the standard for white collar workers rather than a luxury item that only a privileged few can afford. This means employers can leverage the power of half a million different android apps through their workforce. Purchasing an app for employees can be an inexpensive way for business managers to increase productivity. It is also possible to pick and choose who gets which app based on the needs of their job. Here are a few that may be particularly helpful for business purposes.
Small business Android apps
These apps are tailored to the owner of a small business. They are aligned with the needs of someone who wears many hats and has to “do it all”. A small business owner might download these for the top 2 or 3 employees.
Can’t afford an administrative assistant to organize your day and help you get stuff done? Use this task manager instead. You create your own “projects” which can be broken up into separate, easily completed milestones or actions.
This app is about as simple as it gets with file sharing. You can view and update files at any time from any location with the Android app for this service. Sync files between your home and office computer and the laptops of your employees. Don’t panic if one of your workers accidentally deletes a file from the main Dropbox folder online – there’s a restore option that will let you retrieve it. If you’re not already on the Google Docs bandwagon (and using the GDocs app), this is a good alternative.
Use your phone camera to scan documents and convert them to PDF with this app. From there, it’s easy to email the docs to internal and external recipients. Who knows, maybe you don’t need to buy a fancy desktop scanner at all. What’s the best part? Camera based scanning means no paper jams.
This image capture program claims to be fully compliant with the ESIGN Act of 2000. It offers a way to capture electronic signatures that are legally binding. The app can serve many purposes for contracts, sales, and other agreements you need signed off-site.
Speaking of sales, you should never go anywhere without the ability to accept money from your clients. Plastic is definitely the most popular way to pay these days. The Square android app comes with a free card reader and a low per-transaction fee in lieu of a contract or monthly lease.
Mid-sized business Android apps
These apps are designed for managers with a handle on delegating and a workforce that’s expanded to the point where keeping everyone on the same page is becoming a challenge. Here are a number of apps designed for maximizing coordination and helping employees standardize the way they manage work-related information.
Quickoffice Pro for Android
Google Docs has one major drawback for businesses that care about their image – the formatting options stink. Once you’ve become accustomed to professional looking documents and spreadsheets that you can create in Microsoft Office, it’s hard to give that up just to go Google. With Quickoffice Pro, you can create, update, and share Word, Excel and PowerPoint presentations easily from your mobile device. Documents to Go is another option – and it integrates seamlessly with Gmail and other Google applications if you prefer a blended approach.
Do you have one IT person who does it all for your mid-sized business? Gift this special employee with the ServerUp app so they can check on the condition of your company server and get updates from anywhere. It’s a lot easier to keep technical staff on call if they can do simple tasks like enabling or disabling hosts on a local area network remotely.
This app is one all your sales reps should have. They can key-enter credit card data or choose from a number of highly portable devices to read credit cards for greater data accuracy. There’s a pay as you go option or a monthly pricing plan so you can try before you commit. The GoPayment app can be linked to QuickBooks for all-in-one bookkeeping. ProOnGo is another QuickBooks compatible android app that lets you manage even more data including vendors and employees for expense management purposes.
This is the app to get for the project manager who has everything (or at least, the one who already uses the free, open-source Ganttproject application at work). It allows both viewing and editing of projects on the go.
Package Tracker Pro
This is a must-have app for businesses that ship physical goods. Unlike apps that are tied to just one carrier (which might work for smaller businesses), this one lets you track packages with all the major carriers including USPS, UPS, and FedEx. Select notification options that let you know where your packages are at all times.
Enterprise level business Android apps
Have you got a massive workforce spread across several states – or even several countries? These are some of the apps that can help your employees get the job done across time zones and at far-flung locations.
This app is of equal value to business travelers and the accounting department. Do away with paper receipts by letting employees scan these easily misplaced slips of paper to create digital copies. Workers can also track mileage and create easy to read PDF expense reports to submit to A/P via email. You know how much Accounting loves everything to be standardized!
SysAid Help Desk
IT can easily get overwhelmed with requests for assistance. Automation is essential for managing your IT resources effectively. This app allows your IT manager and supervisors to view service requests and assign them to the appropriate team for speedy resolution. The IT manager can also change the priority of specific requests when a corporate bigwig complains about their computer not working.
Zendesk for Android
Want a helpdesk app for customer service? Try Zendesk for Android. It offers the same functionality as the original cloud-based interface. Reduce response times and keep your customers and your employees happy at the same time.
The bigger the company, the more likely it is that employees will need to access privileged information on their phone. Online interactions place these devices at risk by providing a potential portal via which hackers and data thieves might penetrate your organization’s databases. The Network Intercept app helps employees stay secure on the internet with anti-virus scans, web encryption, and more.
Tips for selecting and implementing Android apps
When you begin shopping, you should select apps that are clearly not designed for spying on your workers (employees will resist this technology). Apps should be easy to use to encourage adoption. Roll new apps out to a test group first so you can make sure they actually serve the purpose for which you purchased them. Listen to IT when they tell you one app is better than another – they’re the ones who will be answering questions and resolving complaints!
23 Mar 2012
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