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Cloud apps for business
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Five Cloud Apps To Manage Your Business From Anywhere

Cloud apps for business have made it possible to manage a remote team and work from anywhere in the world. All you need is a smartphone and wifi connection.

 

Since starting my mobile app and software business two years ago, I have catered to clients from all across the country.  All the while, I have been running the business – having coffee with clients, meeting with the development team, providing customer service – from my office in Sydney.  Things got a bit more complicated however, when I recently attended a friend’s wedding that was held in beautiful Boracay, an island of the Philippines.

I had the most wonderful time drinking cocktails, lounging by the beach, and pretty much just enjoying my holiday with friends.  As a small business owner though, I had to keep an eye on my business even from a different hemisphere.  Good thing I made use of clever cloud apps to get work done and communicate with my team.

If you’re a business owner like me, you will be glad to know that the recent growth of cloud-based applications have made it possible for you to manage a business from anywhere in the world.  Your data is stored online, and you can do almost everything with just a browser and an internet connection. Not even the Pacific Ocean can stop you from doing what you need.

Here are five cloud apps for business to help you operate from anywhere in the world and manage a mobile workforce.

Google Apps

What it is

Google Apps is a productivity suite composed of Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides.  As if Google isn’t ubiquitous enough with its search engine and the rise of Chrome, it has launched this game-changer of a collection that has all the basics you would need.

Gmail might be the best email service available, even providing offline support, while Google Calendar is easy to use for scheduling appointments and receiving reminders.

However, the apps of interest here are Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.  These are actually under the Google Drive umbrella now, but let’s treat them separately for our purpose.  (We’ll also discuss more about Google Drive later).  These productivity apps allow you to create, edit and share your documents, spreadsheets and presentations, in addition to letting you collaborate with friends or colleagues.

Why you need it

Google Docs was built for collaboration.  Someone in Manila can access and make changes to the same document that another person in Sydney is editing.  Likewise, you can have a shared calendar with the rest of your team, who can also be allowed to add appointments and events.

The best alternative

There are a lot of cloud-based productivity suites out there, but nothing comes close to what Google Apps offer.  The nearest competitor is Office 365.  Microsoft has quite recently launched an online version of its office products, which allows for file sharing and other cloud-based features, but I think it was a little too late from Microsoft.

Dropbox

What it is

It allows you to save your files and folders online, then access them anywhere with an internet connection.  You can then share your photos, documents, or videos with anyone you like.

Why you need it

If you’ve ever saved your presentation in your USB flash drive then left it at home, this service will be heaven-sent.  Your files are all online, so you are essentially taking them with you wherever you go!

The best alternative

The best available alternative is the mentioned Google Drive.  It has almost all the features of Dropbox, except it does not allow you to automatically upload photos from your phone or tablet as soon as you take them.  I personally use both Google Drive and DropBox, as each has its pros and cons.

I use Google Drive for internal business documents and files I need to collaborate with other parties.  However, for general file storage I still prefer Dropbox.  DropBox for Business has version control, so if you or anyone deletes a file or folder from your online folder, you can restore it, and you can also see previous versions.  Google Drive does have this feature, but only for its proprietary documents, not Word, Excel, or PDFs.

About Michelle Romero

Since graduating from UTS with a degree in Engineering, Michelle Romero has had considerable success in the IT industry, working on various business improvement and software development projects for healthcare companies. In 2012 she started projectCREATE, a software and mobile app development company that caters to private businesses, nonprofit organisations, and government agencies. When she's not traveling the globe, Michelle runs her company out of her Sydney office and balances her duties there with those at the Magic Moments Foundation, a nonprofit where she serves as a Director. She is enthusiastic about empowering women and contributing to the growth of SMEs, in addition to assisting neglected people in society.

5 comments

  1. Awesome work but I think these tools are worth looking too.
    ProofHub.com
    Basecamp.com
    Trello.com

  2. Love it – and if you’re an appointment or class based business see MINDBODY Online to get a lot of this in one place and online bookings/payments too. I could write you an article about that one!

  3. Good collection of apps that are based on cloud based platform and get the things streamlined properly to meet the desired standard. One more tool could be added to the list here that I have been using and is based on cloud based platform with a user friendly and calendar based interface which makes it all an intuitive tool to work with. Its the tool named Replicon that I have been talking about. Along with the time tracking and management, this tool is also capable to manage the tasks and projects.

  4. How can you review remote business management tools without mentioning most popular free options? Where is Bitrix24? Or Trello?

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