Technology

Top 16 Google Apps for a Professional Firm

google_apps.jpgManaging small businesses are becoming more and more efficient using technology. Google Apps is a great way to quickly get some really useful applications hooked up to your website that can make the basic enterprise functioning easy. Applications like EMail, Google Calendar and Google Sites, and Google Docs. For premium accounts, you can also get Google Groups and Goole Video tools hooked up.

As useful and powerful as these tools are, they still leaves gaps for many areas in an enterprise which could be very useful. Specifically in the areas like Expense and Invoice management, CRM and Project Management.

Many 3rd part application developing companies have come together to create “plug-in” products that enhance what you get from Google Apps. Here is a list of top Google Apps that can help a company effectively manage its productivity.

  1. Expensify is a expense management system where employees can create, approve, reimburse and analyze expenses online. Users can Import expenses and receipts from US credit cards. It also has integration with QuickBooks, and CSV export mechanism. (Free to create and submit reports. $5/submitter per month to approve (2 free))
  2. Zoho Invoice is a way to create, send and manage invoices online as well as record, invoice and track reimbursable expenses. Users can also accept online payments from customers using this app. The app also provides multi-currency and multi-lingual ability, which might be helpful when clients are overseas in diverse countries. APIs to mash up Zoho Invoice with other business applications as well. (Cost: Free for up to 5 invoices. Paid plans start at $8/month).
  3. Insightly is a popular CRM and Project Management package which helps track leads, proposals, opportunities, projects and manage files through one interface. It also maintains full history of customer interaction and a central shared contact list.(Cost: Free)
  4. Shoeboxed is a scanning and organizing service for receipts and business cards. Users can send receipts and business cards by mail, email, or the mobile phone. The company scans them, extracts and human-verifies the data they contain, and makes the data available for download from a secure Shoeboxed account online. (Cost: Paid plans from $9.95 per month. Free catch-up scanning and two months free with annual plans)
  5. Smartsheet Project Management takes the normal spreadsheet-like interface and converts it into an online project management tool, integrating features such as Gantt charts, dependencies, sub-tasks, file attachments, calendar views and automatic reminders. (Cost: Free 30-Day Trial / Plans starting at $9.95 per month)
  6. Socialwok is a business social productivity and collaboration app for Google Apps which can be used by the users to share ideas, web links, email and Google Docs. It integrates with Gmail, Google Talk, Google Docs. Its a useful collaboration tool where distributed teams and projects can be managed and members can post status updates. (Cost: Standard Edition (Free) Premier Edition (Paid) Enterprise Edition (Paid))
  7. Strategicfrontend is a unique tool for management consultants. As per the site it “helps you solve the most critical and challenging topics of your organization by Apps powered exchange of facts, ideas and interact online with virtual teams and customers “. The tool reduces hundreds of emails per manager per week and synchronize the rest with the decision context of 5 Gmail Gadgets for CEO, Business Unit Manager, Country Head, Product Manager,, Customer Manager, Innovation Manager & Operations Manager. (Cost: Free 30 day Trial of Enterprise 2.0 Platform then $ 89 per User per Month)
  8. Mavenlink is an online collaboration solution that allows you to manage projects from start to finish, including communications, docs, tasks, scheduling, time tracking, invoicing and payments. Mavenlink integrates with Google Docs, Calendar, and Contacts. Your networks, communications, project notifications, due dates, and deliverables related to your working world are captured in one place: your Mavenlink dashboard. (Cost: Basic – Free | Premium – Free 30-Day Trial / Plans starting at $39 per month)
  9. GQueues is an integrated task manager that will help you get organized and keep projects on track. GQueues integrates with Google Calendar and allows you to set due dates and automatic reminders for repeating tasks. The collaboration features allow you to share the task list with coworkers and assign tasks as needed. (Cost: GQueues Lite – Free | GQueues – Free 2 week Trial / $25 per user per year / Bulk order (25 or more) – $10 per user per year)
  10. Creately is an online diagramming application that allows project teams to collaboration more effectively through the creation of diagrams, wireframes, flowcharts and mind maps. Team members are able to easily collaborate on diagrams and leave review comments. The app contains many quick-start templates and a wide selection of objects and shapes for just about any business, design or development project. (Cost: Plans starting at $4.95 per month)
  11. Gliffy is a Web-based tool that allows you to quickly create diagrams and turn complex information into easily understood images. Users are able to share diagrams or invite others to collaborate on one. The Revision Control feature automatically keeps a copy every time a document is saved, so you can track changes or revert to an earlier version. An extensive shape library is available to complement most any diagram. (Cost: Basic – Free | Premium – Free 30-Day Trial / Plans starting at $5 per month)
  12. gTrax is a time tracking application that helps the project management process by tracking and reporting time spent on projects by employee. It is accessible from the universal toolbar in Google Desktop, and allows for new time tracking entries to be imported from Google Calendar. Managers are able to assign tasks to users and record the daily progress made on assignments. (Cost: Free)
  13. Gantter is a Web-based project management tool that allows you to plan and estimate your project duration, work, and cost by separating the project into smaller tasks. You can manage resources and assign tasks, while tracking the project’s progress through % completion values for each task and setting milestones. Results are saved in XML format and are compatible with Microsoft Project. (Cost: Free)
  14. Viewpath is an online project management solution where you can create collaborative workspaces for each project, allowing team members to visualize, organize and prioritize project tasks. Features include a timeline/Gantt charts, daily activity dashboards, search and report generation. (Cost: Express – Free | Standard – $10.95 per person per month)
  15. Glasscubes is an online hub that allows you to communicate and collaborate through project Cubes with people inside and outside your organization. In the online workspaces, you can share, edit, and leave comments on files. The application also allows for tasks to be scheduled through a shared calendar, and provides a free conference call service. (Cost: Free)
  16. Manymoon is a team collaboration application for Google Apps that integrates Google Calendar, Contacts and Docs with your tasks, projects and conversations. Users are able to create projects from Gmail, assign tasks from within the e-mail, and add project information to shared Google Calendars. Links and Google Docs are automatically added to the project record. (Cost: Free)

Desh Kapoor

The panache of a writer is proven by the creative pen he uses to transform the most mundane topic into a thrilling story. Desh - the author, critic and analyst uses the power of his pen to create thought-provoking pieces from ordinary topics of discussion. He writes on myriad interesting themes. Read the articles to know more about his views and "drishtikone".

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