Top 10 most promising productivity software tools to have in 2016
Using the right productivity tools
Running a business or starting a new one can be tough; you need to get a lot of things done quicker. Using the right tools or apps enables phenomenal increase in productivity, a requirement for running a successful business today.
Here are 10 such promising software tools. This is a curated list based on my own experience along with some crowd-sourced recommendations from product managers and entrepreneurs. These tools have helped businesses, especially startups and SMBs to better go about their basic business tasks and bump up their throughput.
1. Trello - Best tool to keep you on top of your activities and tasks
Trello is an awesome project management tool that makes collaboration easy and visually fun for both personal to-dos and team projects. Use the app to manage everyday tasks and be on top of the things that really matter. But this isn’t all that Trello has to offer the businesses.
Trello’s business class subscription package provides companies more flexibility over their boards and data along with an enhanced administrative panel and some handy integrations like connecting Trello account to company’s Google Apps account, have more administrative controls, play an observer role (restrict control over board for some members to view/comment only) as well as one click bulk data export. Use Trello for pretty much everything you would list down - especially the complex team projects/sprints. Ideal for freelancers and contractors. My favorite part is dragging the cards around on the lists, which represent different stages/categories of a project.
- Category: Internal Collaboration
- Price: $10 per month/$100 per year
- Compatible: Mac/PC, iOS, Android, Kindle
2. EZOfficeInventory - Asset Tracking Software to increase ROI on business assets
It's no secret that most businesses are unable to track their valuable assets, including equipment and inventory effectively. REASON? There are very few apps that solve this problem in a focused and intuitive manner. To overcome challenges like low productivity, poor collaboration between employees, and hampered business growth because of equipment not being in a good shape or worse not available; you need a powerful asset tracking software like EZOfficeInventory.
EZOfficeInventory is a specialized cloud-based asset tracking software trusted by thousands of diverse Enterprises and SMBs. It enables you to locate your assets instantly, conduct audits, and have your employees use their hours more productively. No more headaches because of misplaced equipment, or hassle of running after people to figure out which asset is where. You can easily pinpoint an item’s location whenever the need arises. It’s an easy-to-use app and your team can swiftly adapt to the system.
This tool will literally enable you to get the best out of your equipment. Apart from saving time, it will reduce costly errors and give you the opportunity to provide top-quality service to your customers and clients. Ideal for Enterprises and SMBs. Other cool things you can do include designing QR Code or Barcode labels, set up email alerts and understand the usability of equipment across your organization. Their mobile app is also pretty neat.
- Category: Enterprise Productivity/Asset Management
- Price: Free 15 days trial, Starting $29.99 per month/$320.00 per year
- Compatible: Mac/PC, iOS, Android, Windows
3. Slack - Revolutionize team communication
Spending a lot of hours on emails and still everyone on your team is not up to date? Well, ditch the emails and use Slack! The app lets you communicate with your team in the most natural way; a simple yet rich chat. No more sifting through a number of emails. Create multiple channels for small team projects. Discuss important ideas and feedbacks, and bring up conversations of all sorts in the chat rooms. Mention users, topics, and get non-intrusive desktop notifications to stay on top of all that’s happening at your organization.
Slack is hot! It’s trending and replacing some top notch communication apps/tools including Skype at various workplaces. Some say Slack is killing Email. But I say, it’s the perfect platform for team communication, where everything is in one place and is instantly searchable no matter wherever you are. While Slack is a complete soup to nuts collaboration tool, with a team account you can extend administrative control, have different service integrations and it’s an excellent private backchannel with a set of rich settings and options. With integrations such as Github, JIRA and Airbrake, it’s ideal for boosting productivity for any tech team.
- Category: Communication/Internal Collaboration
- Price: Free for smaller teams, Starts at $6.67 per user per month for extended features.
- Compatible: Free native apps for iOS, Android, Mac and Windows Desktops
4. Google Drive - Your best bet for storing files online and collaborating on them
Nothing makes team collaboration on documents better than Google Drive. It's the go-to place for secured online access to documents. It makes team collaboration and document sharing super easy. It’s an online productivity tool and the best part about that is you don’t have to worry about backups, and you can access it from any device connected to the internet; either through an app or from the web. It’s free and accessible to anyone with a Google account. You can also share the files publicly, restrict view/edit control and organize them in folders.
Google Drive is quite essential when you have to collaborate with your team members and clients/customers on documents regularly. It’s not as rich as MS Word when it comes to formatting and beautifying your content, but it’s the best option out there for secured online access to documents within a workplace. Share and collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, presentations and see who else is viewing/editing a file. You can also access photos stored in Google Drive. As a team leader you can assign tasks to your team members, create spreadsheets for updating data coming in from different departments and plan business events.
- Category: Internal Collaboration, Secure Storage
- Price: Free
- Compatibility: Mac/PC, iOS, Android
5. Splashtop - Better alternative to Teamviewer (#trending)
Splashtop has billed itself as a better alternative to Teamviewer. No doubt, remote desktops have existed for a while now, but there is always the competition to be better, to be the best. It’s the only remote desktop app that supports full audio and HD video streaming. Splashtop is the new trend in town for remote desktops, a great tool.
People in the business world are always on the move, and everyone has the need to access a file stored on a PC which isn’t in their vicinity. Splashtop lets you get to your computer no matter wherever you are by using a PC or mobile device and helps you open folders, work on files and run applications/programs on your system. Best for business purposes like during business trips, while conducting a presentation at a client’s office (probably across town).
Access files and programs on your device via Wi-Fi/3G/4G to work seamless remotely. All you have to do is install the app and configure it on each additional system or mobile device you may want to connect. Ideal for situations where you might need your IT team to sort out an issue you might be facing while on the road or at client’s office.
- Category: Enterprise Productivity/Remote Desktop
- Price: Free (Personal), Starts at $60 per year (business)
- Compatibility: Mac/PC, iOS, Android, Windows, Kindle, Ubuntu
6. XERO - Accounting, Bank reconciliation, Invoicing from anywhere anytime
Xero is an easy to use online accounting software that’s designed specifically for small businesses. It's all online, so you can work when and where you want to. Just login with your PC, Mac or mobile. Xero has all you need to run your business – including invoicing, paying bills, sales tax returns, reporting and much more. The best part about Xero is that it makes something boring like financial bookkeeping fun. Xero becomes your finance and accounts manager.
With Xero, your bank statements are automatically imported and categorized, letting you see your cashflow in real-time. You can also invite your team and then work on the financials together. You can collaborate over your up-to-date numbers. Xero has also been listed on Webby Awards (Internet’s highest and leading honor award) several times as a winner, honoree and nominee since 2009.
Category: Accounting/Invoicing/Banking/Enterprise Productivity
Pricing: 30 days free trial, starts at $20 per month
Compatibility: Mac/PC, iOS, Android
7. Uberconference - Simplifying the conference calls
Audio conferencing has always been a pain point for small businesses. Don’t we all hate it when you have to make audio calls to clients by dialling in, putting in a room code and on top of it sometimes even enter a passcode. But what if I tell you that Uberconference simply makes audio conferencing easy for businesses. When your business is international, it often puts you in scenarios where you need to communicate easily to offices/clients abroad.
Add callers, eliminate annoying sound by the mute option, record calls (in case someone missed out the conference). No more confusion in identifying who is still in the conference or who is talking at the time. Share files or your computer screen with everyone else. Link your social media accounts/view callers’ social accounts (useful to identify prospective clients). Set call outs so and don’t worry about other callers forgetting or missing out a conference.
Uberconference is a freemium app with limited features allowing you to add up to 10 callers, but you can avail advanced features with its premium account like dialling in without using a PIN. UberConference visual interface lets callers chat online in a side panel. It was also a 2014 Webby Awards nominee for productivity in a workplace. UberConference service providers haven’t solved the pain point of eradicating conference calls altogether, but it sure makes them easier to stomach. Ideal for small businesses communicating to clients/teams worldwide.
Category: Communication, Audio Conferencing
Pricing: Free, Pro package starts at $10 per month
Compatibility: Mac/PC, iOS, Android
8. Typeform - Forms done awesomely
Create user friendly surveys, online forms, feedbacks and ask opinions using Typeform. It’s very helpful for new businesses or when companies plan to launch new products. You can gather a market research or conduct a survey online. Get customer feedback on your products and services via Typeform. Creating a typeform is fun and very easy. Add questions, images, change the theme or use color palettes to beautify your forms.
Typeform reduces the pain of going through the process of data entry and hiring people to conduct surveys. Why not just make your own surveys and put them online for the people with an easy to make typeform? People don’t like filling up the traditional forms handed over to them at malls or on the streets, the time today demands something accessible and fast. According to Typeform, the completion rate has increased as about 55% of the respondents fill up the surveys now and 40% of them are completing it via mobile devices. Some of the strongest points of this app include high completion rate percentages, flexibility in form designs, unlimited freemium app, advanced features on paid account and cross device responsiveness. Ideal for businesses or entrepreneurs with no coding skills and aim to sell anything online.
Category: Feedback, Surveys
Pricing: Free, Starts at $20 per month/$240 per year
Compatibility: Mac/PC, Mobile devices
9. Easel.ly - Communicate your visual ideas beautifully
Visualization is a great tool for learning and Easelly makes it easier for businesses today. Use Easelly to create attractive images and infographics that represent your business or define a solution for your customers. Research has shown that people tend to be attracted by visual designs more than write ups.
Easelly helps you create visually beautiful flowcharts, diagrams, infographics, and so much more. Use Vhemes (visual+themes), objects (icons/shapes to best show your business idea or solution) and add text to that visual. There are a dozen of interesting design props in Easelly to tell your story more effectively. You can also customize your draw board with backgrounds or choose any template from a range of designs that suits your idea and put in your content. It’s an easy-to-use app and all about drag and drop. Easelly allows a crash course on Infographics, in case you are new to the concept. Infographics may help you in accelerating consumer decisions. Ideal for marketing your product, sharing statistics and spreading knowledge about your business.
Category: Design, Productivity
Pricing: Free, Get up to 1000s of free images on a Pro account
10. Zendesk - Reshaping customer relationships with better communication
An easy to use software that works for companies of any size, Zendesk is a SaaS suite that offers help desk ticketing, issue tracking and customer service support. It’s a complete customer support portal solution that provides seamless integration for on-demand help desk.
With Zendesk, keep your email communication organized, streamline your customer support with time saving and effective tools i.e. ticket views, automations and triggers - prioritize what matters most to make more meaningful conversations. Build up a knowledge base for your customers, create a customer portal (or a 24/7 help center) that helps your customers to answer their own questions. You can also measure your team’s performance via Zendesk’s reporting and analytics. It’s flexible enough to integrate with other tools and apps that helps you unite your business to Zendesk.
Businesses aren’t about individual transactions; they are focused on lifetime customer relationships. Word of mouth spreads like fire in the forest. Not many people go for products/services based on ads or marketing, they tend to pay for them based on how good they are, or what’s the word out there about them. Zendesk has often played a key role for many of today’s fast growing companies with high valuations, consider them among the 122+ unicorns. Ideal for businesses looking to strengthen their relationship with customers.
Category: Customer Support, Enterprise Productivity
Pricing: 30 days free trial, Starts at $1 per month
Compatibility: Mac/PC, iOS, Android, Windows, Kindle Fire
Boost your productivity
With the above mentioned range of most promising software tools in 2016, companies and team members can get the most out of their hardware, products, services and, most importantly, boost their productivity. With a solid team and the right tools however, you’ll soon be on your way to reaching your business potential.
If you think I’ve missed out that killer productivity software tool which you rely on regularly and makes you work better, faster and more efficient then share your comments.