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Enterprise Applications

Top 5 Apps To Help Your Business Deliver Projects More Effectively

Smartphones and tablets have revolutionised how businesses manage projects.

Before the mass adoption of digital technology, companies used to rely on endless reams of paper and complex filing systems to track even the simplest tasks. Hard copies were usually required of every piece of project documentation from proposals and invoices to calendar notes and diary reminders. However, all this paperwork would take up far too much space and leave the door open for crucial items to be misplaced.

Computers helped reduce our dependence on paper to some extent, but the introduction of smartphones and tablets should have been the real game-changer. Mobile devices mean we no longer need reams of paper and huge filing cabinets because everything can be accessed on the go. Employees can work remotely without the need for physical documents – and yet the dream of a truly paperless office somehow feels further away than ever. According to Wired, the amount of paper produced by the average company is growing by 25% per year.

Hannah Pym is the marketing manager of Apadmi, the UK's leading mobile app developer, which has worked with businesses such as BT, AstraZeneca, Skyscanner and Aviva. Here she shares five up-and-coming mobile apps that will enable businesses to realise the benefits of paperless working by helping them to deliver projects more effectively.

 

FileThis: The FileThis tagline is 'paperless made effortless' and it really delivers on this promise.

FileThis is a filing app that enables you to store digital versions of invoices, bank statements and tax records on your mobile devices. Once you give it access to one of your accounts (for example, a company bank account), it will automatically scan any documents that arrive and convert them into searchable PDF files for you. These documents are then organised and saved into a storage location of your choice such as FileThis Cloud, Evernote or Dropbox. It will even send you an email when a new document becomes available.

What this means is that all your invoices, bank statements and tax records are held in one place for easy access no matter where you are. And you can rest assured that your documents are safe – FileThis uses encrypted communication and data, and access is protected by a four-digit PIN.

Price: FREE on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

 

POP: POP, short for Prototyping on Paper, helps businesses that want to build an app to turn vague ideas into coherent blueprints and ultimately great products.

So how does it work? Well if you want to build an app but all you've got is a few outline sketches of how it might look, you can upload them to POP and share everything with your colleagues via the integrated Dropbox sync. You can also mock-up additional pages for your app using the duplicate function, which is handy if – for example – you want the same menu to appear again and again. And you can define how the app will respond to specific gestures such as tapping, swiping or pinching, helping you to map out user journeys. Colleagues can also add suggestions as the project develops.

The advantage of using POP is that you don't end up with lots of scribbled sketches on random bits of paper – everything is stored in one place, you can share ideas with and get feedback from colleagues, and it adds some structure into a creative process that can easily spin out of control.

Price: FREE on the iPhone, iPad and iPhone touch; FREE on Android devices

 

Lifetime Alarm Clock: The best apps are often the simplest and the Lifetime Alarm Clock is a great illustration of this.

While some alarm apps really overcomplicate things, the Lifetime Alarm Clock integrates effortlessly with your task lists, to-do-lists and task reminders to create reminders that will tell you exactly what project you're supposed to be working on when. If you find yourself regularly arriving late for meetings or missing them altogether, this app will help.

One of the app's key draws, however, is that it has been built with battery life very much in mind. Some alarm clocks use eight per cent of your battery even when they're only running in the background, meaning your phone can run out of juice just when you need it most. By contrast, the Lifetime Alarm Clock doesn't drain the battery unless it's visible to you.

Price: FREE on Android devices

 

Evernote: Evernote helps individuals and teams to collaborate more effectively.

It is primarily designed to collect, share and present information but it is also more than capable of functioning as a basic task management system. If you're working on a particular project, for example, you can easily create tasks and share them with your colleagues. These tasks can then be ticked off as you go, although admittedly it doesn't have some of the more advanced features you'd find in dedicated task management apps such as per cent completion and summary dashboards.

You can also search through text, photos and PDFs to dig out crucial documents without wading through reams of paper. And it enables you to get more from your meetings by allowing agendas to be drafted and to-do lists for next time to be created in seconds.

Price: FREE on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch; FREE on Android devices

 

Fantastical: It's hard to manage your diary when you're away from your desk, which is where Fantastical really comes into its own.

Fantastical is a calendar app with built-in speech recognition, which enables you to schedule in events or reminders simply by speaking. All you have to do is start your sentence with a clear instruction such as 'reminder', 'task', 'to-do' or 'remind me to' and whatever you say next will be transcribed and turned into an actionable note. For instance, if you know that you need to arrange a meeting when you're back in the office, you could say something like 'remind me to arrange a meeting with the project team tomorrow at 10am'. The app can recognise English, French, Spanish, German and Italian, and it also accepts written entries.

The key benefit of Fantastical is that it creates diary entries as quickly as you can think of them. This means that no matter how busy you are, you won't forget about important actions that have just come to you on the spur of a moment. And because it syncs seamlessly between your devices, it also means you'll no longer have to carry a physical diary around with you.

Price: £2.99 on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch



Hannah Pym is the marketing manager of Apadmi

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