Several years ago, after everybody’s New Year’s Resolutions season was over, I offered up a selection of application treats for making your business more productive. Four years later that article continues to trend as a reader favorite. As my company’s software is an inventory program for helping businesses manage their “stuff,” productivity is one of our favorite topics as well. We are particularly fond of Boxstorm, an inventory management system for QuickBooks Online users that is entirely cloud-based; but because of our role in its development we are not including it as a formal pick on our list.
But by popular demand, here’s a look at the programs that can help your business be more successful than ever in 2017. We also welcome your input in comments on any of your own favorites that our selection has missed.
- Meeting Mapper, from Point N Time. Are you having successful meetings? How do you know? As an update from our prior list, the Meeting Mapper application includes some new features. Meeting Mapper is an intuitive and elegant application for iPads that makes it easy to gather up and “map” (thus the name) the information you need for truly successful meetings.
This application tracks the role and the stance (opinion) of every participant in a meeting, and makes it easy to create action items or next steps and automatically schedule the actions for follow up. Meeting Mapper costs $6.99 and is available from the Apple App Store.
- Strategy Mapper, from Point N Time. As a related application, Point N Time’s Strategy Mapper is integrated with Salesforce and is optimized to serve as a strategic weapon for closing new sales. This technology provides sellers with a consistent framework to plan and execute selling activities. In addition, Strategy Mapper enables sales leadership to provide coaching to their teams in every step of the process. With Strategy Mapper, companies win more opportunities faster and have better relationships with their customers. The software also provides consistency across all sales teams and improves the company’s sales methodology and processes. The software is offered for $40 per month.
- Day One Journal, from Bloom Built In. As a means of helping every executive gain an instant productivity boost, Day One Journal makes journaling your ideas, thoughts and goals as simple as tweeting.Day One Journal makes journaling as easy as composing a tweet. The app provides an effortless way to record and quickly enter thoughts and memories.
The Day One app’s uncomplicated interface encourages users to write and document life as it happens. The cloud-based app even comes with customized writing reminders and hashtag capabilities. It’s available for $4.99 on the Apple App Store and $39.99 on the Mac App Store.
- Informant, from Fanatic Software. Have you ever found yourself saying, “I’ve just got to get organized”? Informant is a tried-and-tested organizer for mobile devices that users applaud as “the one calendar and task app you’ll ever need.” Informant is a full-featured calendar task app in one.Informant keeps you on track with its calendar and task tracker capabilities.
It allows users to organize, using the Getting Things Done® methodology. Informant 5 includes a smart navigation bar and an email-to-task feature. Paid versions start at $2.99/month. Also worth noting is that Fanatic Software, the maker of Informant, is now owned by Complete XRM, allowing that company to offer productivity solutions that meet both individual and team and culture productivity needs, which is why we’ve included both Informant and PlanPlus Mobile on our list of favorite picks.
- PlanPlus Mobile, from Complete XRM, Inc. Need to organize not only your own work but your team or business as well? PlanPlus Mobile is a personal or team productivity system that is highly compatible with the Franklin Covey methodology. It includes a CRM software tool, so you can manage customers, sales opportunities, marketing campaigns—as well as your tasks and goal setting—all in one place. The Essentials version comes with a free mobile app for iOS and Android devices, and it syncs with Outlook, Google and Apple. Paid versions start at $12/month.
6. iMonnit, from Monnit. Monnit’s wireless sensors are transforming how businesses connect to, monitor and control machines and other things in our environment. In fact, Monnit’s 50+ solutions now make it possible for business managers to receive instant access – through the iMonnit app on their smartphone – to the data they need to improve almost every conceivable element of business, from keeping food (and even animals) safe, to ensuring temperatures are correct at schools to help children learn effectively, and even monitoring water levels at unoccupied apartments to alert landlords before they flood. Check out their extensive list of use casesto find one that might work for your business. For a typical food service or restaurant application that requires a connected gateway and 3-4 wireless sensors to monitor walk-in coolers and freezers, the solution would cost around $350 for all hardware equipment and remote monitoring software and apps.
7. Impartner PRM, from Impartner. Does your company have an indirect channel? Research indicates that more than 80% of us sell through partners, particularly in tech. But if you’re not managing those relationships well, you’re potentially leaving millions of dollars on the table. One of the best ways to maximize your channel potential is through a partner relationship management solution like Impartner PRM. Analyst firms like Frost & Sullivan tout the power of the PRM to help companies capture an incremental $8 million to $9 million in additional revenue. In this category, Impartner PRM is leading the pack. This secure, mobile-responsive, enterprise-class Web application manages all aspects of the partner lifecycle, from partner recruiting and lead registration to cooperatively marketing and selling, and performance management. Even better, it’s easy to adopt, quick to deploy (within 30 days, thanks to Impartner’s highly engineered Velocity 3-step onboarding process) and simple to customize with your company’s own branding—you can choose from multiple design layouts to add your logo and content. Price: $2,000 per month for up to 100 partners.
8. Veriato Recon, from Veriato. One of the greatest risks to organizations today continues to be security breaches from employees, commonly known as “insider threats.” Veriato Recon – referred to as “user and entity behavior analytics software” – gives organizations the tools they need to prevent these threats.
Veriato Recon uses the latest machine learning algorithms to help determine what behaviors are normal for an employee or position and then it alerts the security team when those normal behaviors change so they can respond by monitoring the employee’s work emails or Internet visits more closely or by conducting additional investigations.
This server-based technology can alert security teams through email on their mobile or desktop devices. Veriato Recon has a price starting at $1,200.
9. QuickBooks Online, from Intuit. Although QuickBooks has been traditionally best known as an accounting solution for small and emerging companies, with every progressive version it’s become a stronger alternative for increasingly larger organizations. When coupled with great solutions, such as Fishbowl (of course!), the result is a surprisingly flexible and effective alternative to the far more IT-intensive MRP or ERP-level solutions. The ability to collect a payment online, create an instant profit and loss report or even cut a paycheck directly from QuickBooks makes the online version even more attractive than ever before.
10. Sentiment analysis, from SORO. My number 10 pick is a preview to an upcoming sentiment analysis app. As this space is a vital one I have written about on several occasions, I am watching it closely and am excited to share this update. I have had the opportunity to preview this innovative solution that will be entering its beta phase shortly. Watch this space for an update as soon as this program appears.
I am the founder and chairman of DKW Ventures. I am a serial entrepreneur, have led divisions and companies and a C-level executive for companies ranging from startups to multi-nationals. I am a consultant to C-level executives throughout the world, from South Africa to Amer…
David K. Williams is a serial entrepreneur, founder and chairman of DKW Ventures and author of “The 7 Non-Negotiables of Winning: Tying Soft Traits to Hard Results,” available here.