By Marie Johnson, Contributing Author at Enlightened Digital
For every company that wants to stay competitive, cloud adoption is no longer an option — it’s a necessity. With over 90% of today’s businesses using the cloud in some form, those who haven’t opted-in are at a serious disadvantage. If you’re one of many organizations who have begun to use cloud-based technologies to your advantage, it’s likely that you’ve quickly realized the many benefits it can have on business productivity, communication, and overall success.
With the many cloud-based tools on the market today, it can often become difficult to determine which are essential. In this article, we’re discussing the ten top cloud-based tools for project management, collaboration, and business operations.
For managing projects across organizations of all sizes, there is a vast market of cloud-based project management software. Cloud-based project management tools enable organizations to create, plan, manage, and report on projects across distributed teams and locations.
Podio: This project management tool allows businesses to create custom applications to best meet their unique business requirements and preferred workflows. Podio organizes any aspect of a business’s operations, whether it be team communication, project management, or even software development. They do this through the use of apps, which can be custom-built by the organization or downloaded via their app market. This approach ensures that the tool is flexible enough to organize any of a business’s needs. It understands that each organization works differently, and wants to provide businesses with the proper platform to do so.
Trello: Trello can be used both for personal use, like meal prepping or cleaning a home, as well as in the office. Trello is actually based off of the Kanban system of project and task management, which was once used by line workers at Toyota factories. They would use an actual card to signal the steps in their manufacturing process, which allowed them to quickly communicate with one another using standardized cues. Trello is best described as the digital equivalent of Post-It Notes and bulletin boards. It’s organized by boards, lists, and cards, which can be used to represent checklists or required tasks for a project or product.
Asana: Created by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, Asana strives to improve an organization’s teamwork. With that said, Asana boasts that everything team-related can be done within the web or via mobile application, eliminating the need for email. It aims to reduce the complications email can add to a workday, especially when it comes to project management. With Asana, business units or different parts of your company are separated into teams. All projects are located within teams and tasks are inserted into Projects. Asana also lets you create “Sections” that give you an additional level of organization.
Clarizen: Clarizen’s online project management platform for enterprise combines the power of social collaboration with robust project management. It facilitates team collaboration and project execution, ensuring data is always up-to-date and aligned with business objectives. Clarizen’s project management tool includes features such as project and portfolio management, resource management, time and expense tracking, and social collaboration to enhance project delivery, just to name a few.
Using cloud services for communication and document-sharing solutions can also become a great benefit to businesses. It allows teams to streamline their collaboration methods, regardless of time, location, or communication style.
Google Docs: Google Docs is a web-based document management tool used for creating and editing word processing documents. These documents can be stored both online on the Google cloud or on the user’s computer. Access to these files is available from any computer with an Internet connection, and can easily be shared with other members of an organization. Because cloud-based applications can be accessed anywhere, it allows users the benefit of flexibility when working on shared documents. Not only can users work collaboratively, a rising method of work for many professionals, but they can also work from home, the office, or on-the-go.
Slack: Slack is one of the most popular messaging apps for businesses today, offering a fast and easy way for employees to communicate over the course of the workday. Its workspaces allow you to organize communications by channels for group discussions and allows for private messages to share information, files, and more all in one place. One of Slack’s primary benefits is that it groups messages into channels and direct messages to organize conversations and replace communications that might otherwise be scattered across emails, text messages, or in-person meetings.
WebEx: WebEx is another cloud-based collaboration tool used for video meetings, team messaging and file sharing. It’s most well-known application in the suite is WebEx Meetings, a full video and content-sharing solution that you can join via desktop, mobile, browser, and video devices. Meeting participants can opt to share their screen for meetings and collaborative work and can also share and edit in other applications remotely. For example, if you’re working on an Excel spreadsheet, you can let your attendees input their own data during the meeting.
Microsoft Teams: Microsoft Teams, a component of Office 365, chat-based workspace that facilitates real-time collaboration and allows people to come together to have casual conversations and create work plans. Teams is essentially an enterprise-sized group chat, with features including instant messaging, online meetings, calling, and web conferencing. It works in tandem with other Office 365 apps including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and SharePoint.
There are also a number of cloud-based tools that can help you run and operate certain aspects of your business. Whether it be for accounting, marketing, or sales, there is sure to be a cloud-based solution that fits your business’ needs.
QuickBooks: QuickBooks is a cloud-based small business accounting program that is used to manage sales and expenses and keep track of daily transactions. You can use it to invoice customers, pay bills, generate reports for planning, tax filing, and more. QuickBooks also uses automation to streamline many aspects of managing your business by calculating sales tax, tracking products, and automatically updating transactions in your register, customer, and vendor areas.
HubSpot: HubSpot is an inbound marketing and sales software that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. You can use their tools to host web and landing pages, create blogs and email sequences, and manage interactions with your leads and customers — all while analyzing campaign success and tracking user behavior. HubSpot also offers a customer relationship management (CRM) platform, which allows teams to capture relevant information including sales cycle, lead velocity, lead quality, close rates, and customer profiles.
Mobile Monkey: Mobile Monkey is a Facebook Messenger marketing platform with tools to automate chat conversations, design conversion funnels, run interactive Facebook Ads, and integrate with other business applications. It offers a simple way for marketing teams to take advantage of mobile marketing opportunities, as well as connect and engage with new customers. Chatbots are a tool rising in popularity for customer service and marketing teams. Mobile Monkey’s automated chatbot functionality can arrange customer appointments, answer FAQs, track purchases, and more.
Sprinklr: Sprinklr Social Cloud is part of Sprinklr’s suite of products to help enterprises connect and serve their customers across any channel at scale. It enables teams in enterprises to collaborate effectively and to reach, listen, and engage their customers on more than 25 social channels. Sprinklr’s tool for social helps businesses conduct activities such as social listening, social publishing and engagement, and data visualization.
There are a number of cloud-based technologies that businesses of all types can use to their advantage. Whether it be to streamline your sales funnel, connect and communicate with your team, or get your finances in order, there is sure to be a cloud-based tool to service your business’ needs.
Author bio: Marie Johnson is a contributor to Enlightened Digital, UX Designer and technology writer from New York City. If she’s not writing her latest blog post in her kitchen, you’ll likely find her strolling through Central Park, cappuccino in hand.