The BYOD popularity surge means that more of the workforce is conducting business via their mobile devices, and often outside of the office. There are now dozens of apps available that allow employees to collaborate and keep connected with each other, even as they are working independently. Here are a few of the most popular and useful business collaboration apps available.
The popular video chat application has a group video calls feature that allows up to ten people to join in on a face-to-face conference. Also, in addition to being able to make regular phone calls on Skype, you can have your calls forwarded to another phone if you’re offline. It is also more economical for employees to use Skype on a WiFi network, especially for employees who travel or communicate internationally.
This app helps to keep work tasks on deadline. Every milestone (or project) has a due date and can be linked to task lists related to the project. These milestones are shared via the app with all of the other people on the project and has the option to be synched with Microsoft Outlook Calendar, Apple iCal or Google.
Users of this app are able to create workspaces that allow them to collaborate with groups. As the Podio website explained, the app “puts people in control of their work tools, rather than the other way around. You decide how to structure your projects, teams and workflows. You also decide how to structure, create and present content and information that’s linked to your work processes and interactions.”
Hosted Exchange features shared calendaring, tasks, and contact capabilities. It allows you to access your email on any device and, depending on the host provider, can offer large blocks of storage, making it easier to share videos, slideshows, and other large attachments. This application ensures your data is secure and backed up.
This app combines document sharing and social media. It can be customized to work with different types of teams that may be working on a project but keeps the data centralized in one tool. It also integrates any apps being used by any member of the team, as well as allows collaboration in note taking and brainstorming.
In the office conference room, the white board is an important tool to share ideas, work out numbers, and create designs. The Whiteboard app brings that favorite collaborate tool to the smartphone (without the squeaky markers). As InformationWeek described, the Whiteboard app lets users “put a shared whiteboard on two mobile devices that are on the same Wi-Fi network or connected via Bluetooth. What you draw on one will appear on the screen of the other, enabling true real-time collaboration. You can even draw on top of photos you’ve taken or images you open in the app.”
In the global workforce, chances are not everyone on your project team will not speak the same language. Even if everyone is able to speak English, for example, it may be easier for those using English as a second language to communicate in their native tongue. Google Translate is able to translate words and phrases in 50 languages.
Sue Poremba is a freelance writer focusing primarily on security and technology issues and occasionally blogs for cloud service provider Rackspace Hosting.