The world of smartphones has several powerful apps to be productive even while on the move. Here are our 10 picks that every busy executive should have on their smartphone
Gone are the days when mobile was used just for voice communication. Over the past few years we have noticed a higher degree of interest in the enterprise mobility sector be it with individual employees or digital workplace. We take our smart phones everywhere we go, and with their powerful processors and 4G capability, they can be used as personal assistants and for productivity aids. The same logic applies to tablets and phablets that give users more real estate for content creation and consumption.
Benefits of using a mobile device in office
One of the major reasons enterprise mobility has the potential to be so powerful for employees or field executives is because the mobile device allows itself to be transformed into many different situations, in the context of an employee’s normal activities. For example, a wholesale or retail owner can access product catalogue in real time to show to their customers, or a factory worker can report a failure with machinery at the point of discovery.
Mobile solutions can deliver all these benefits if the right applications, devices and business processes are implemented - enabling communication, information access, and business transactions anywhere, anytime.
From note-taking apps and mobile office suites, to calendars, timers and to-do lists, here are our favorite productivity apps that you can install on your iOS or Android device.
1. Word, Excel & Powerpoint (Android, iOS)
Microsoft’s Office suite of programs has long been a defacto standard for desktop productivity, and the mobile versions of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint continue that tradition. Designed to provide maximum file compatibility and adopting to touch screen interface devices, each of the three apps allows users to view and edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations respectively. Cloud support for services such as OneDrive, Drive and Dropbox make for easy sharing and collaboration. To get the most out of the apps, use an Office 365 subscription which now comes bundles with many smart phones and tablets.
2. Feedly (Android, iOS)
The mobile app merges the best of multiple interfaces, with a text-only list view for quick browsing through your news feed and uses different layouts for a more visual treat. Feedly lets you organize all your favorite publications, podcasts and YouTube channels into collections and receive updates when new stories and videos are published. Users can sign up for topical updates from a variety of websites and blogs, or add custom subscriptions from sources like RSS. If you are a social butterfly, the app also integrates seamlessly with Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, Buffer, OneNote, Pinterest and LinkedIn so that you can easily share the stories you read in your Feedly account with your friends and colleagues.
3. Microsoft Outlook (Android, iOS)
Want to get the familiar Outlook email interface on your Android phone or tablet? Microsoft officially released its Outlook app for Android earlier this year. The app is a productivity powerhouse bringing your email, attachments, contacts and calendars into easy reach. The built-in analytic engine automatically pops up important email (across multiple accounts) based on your communications, and quick swipe controls allow you to easily archive or delete your email. The free app works with Microsoft Exchange accounts and also has in-built support for Office 365 and Outlook.com, along with third-party services like Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and iCloud. It has integrated Outlook calendar support as well, including a nifty native scheduling feature.
4. Workflow (Android, iOS)
Workflow is an iOS task automation app that connects apps and actions together to automate things you do on your device. For instance, calling for Uber rides to your next calendar event, uploading your most recent photos to your favorite cloud storage provider, and more. Users can easily create their own Workflow and open them within the app, or turn them into iOS Action Extensions or even add them to the home screen. The app supports more than 200 actions across a variety of apps, and users can share their creations to Workflow’s Gallery feature.
5. Google Drive (Android, iOS)
Google’s cloud storage service, Google Drive, serves as a great productivity aid due to its tight integration with the Google ecosystem. Users can easily upload and download any file, plus the file sharing and collaboration features let you easily work on shared projects effectively. Easy configuration of sharing settings, folder structure, quick access to recent files and details, and built-in viewing of documents, PDFs, photos and videos make for a versatile cloud storage tool whatever mobile OS you use. Drive starts you with 15 GB of free Google online storage, so you can keep photos, stories, designs, drawings, recordings, videos – anything.
6. Quip (Android, iOS)
Quip allows you to integrate messages and edit collaboratively. Users can create, import and share documents, to-do lists, notes and more. You can then collaboratively edit them as a group, with a built-in messaging sidebar that allows you to quickly get in touch with your colleagues as well as view their edits. Quip can import documents from a variety of sources such as Dropbox, Drive and Evernote, and export documents to PDF and Office formats.
7. Evernote (Android, iOS)
Evernote is one of the popular cross-platform note-taking services, allowing users to take and upload notes, pictures, audio and video snippets and organize them into cloud notebooks that can be synced across different devices. Loaded with powerful organization, formatting and sharing options, Evernote is still king even with competitors such as OneNote and Google Keep. The free version lets users upload 60MB of content monthly, with paid accounts allowing more options.
8. Pocket (Android, iOS)
This nifty app lets you preserve almost any web page or content in an organised way and makes for a favorable viewing experience. Previously known as Read It Later, Pocket App is used for managing a reading list of articles and web content from the Internet. It gets integrated with your web browser so you can save content or a web page by simply tapping the icon near the top of the screen. It is a great offline reading tool that allows you to select and save articles, pictures and videos for later viewing.
9. Expensify (Android, iOS)
Keeping track of expenses can be a pain while you are more on the move. Expensify can ease the burden. The app provides an easy-to-follow interface for tracking time, miles, receipts, and invoices on the go, then generating on-demand reports as needed. Expensify lets you scan receipts as you get them, after which it automatically pulls out the relevant info from the images and puts it into your records. It can tap into your phone’s GPS to log miles as you drive, and it offers offline functionality for the times when you can’t get a signal.
10. Google Translate (Android, iOS)
Going abroad? Google Translate is the companion you need. Translate makes it easy to convert text from one language to another in ways that actually make sense. Sure, you can type in a phrase in your native tongue and have Translate move it into another language. But you can also take a snapshot of a sign, menu, or document with your phone and have Translate convert it to the text. You can speak into your phone in one language and have Translate speak back in another. And you can do it all offline, provided you download the necessary language packs in advance.
A look into the future..
The mobility landscape will evolve rapidly and will not limit itself to smart phone and tablets. Wearable tech such as Google Glass, is all geared up to create even more opportunities for employees to access the digital workplace.
Given the fluidity of mobility, as well as the many current associated benefits, enterprises need to stay focused on identifying their needs and taking a step-by-step approach to realize full benefits.