Monday, August 26, 2013

Top 10 Cloud Apps for your Business

Cloud Computing has graduated from being a technology buzzword to being an essential part of any business or organization. Let's take a look at the main categories off apps that have made the move from shrink wrapped software installed on our local clients, to web based clients that we can run from anywhere. Each of the ten apps covered here are provided by multiple vendors. Example apps are provided. Some of the leading vendors for each category are mentioned, along with a few AppTrain favorites.  Additional cloud apps for your business are listed in The App Train for your Business infographic.

1. Email

Email was the first business app that moved to the cloud. Even legacy organizations that still operate email servers now accommodate employees with web based email clients. In the AppTrain email comparison in March, GMail and Zoho Mail emerged as the front-runners for Email in the cloud.

 

2. Document Management

Cloud storage offers lower costs, better security, better integration, and improved productivity when compared to legacy office networks. The integration and productivity come from excellent Content Management tools that have evolved. Again Google and Zoho are the favorites in this space.

 

3. Project Management

Project Management tools will be the subject of a future AppTrain comparison article. BaseCamp is the forefather of the web based project management revolution. But the space is now quite crowed , and some excellent tools like Teambox are emerging.


4. Website Publishing

A clear favorite did not emerge from our Cloud Based Website Builder comparison. The quick site builders fall short when compared to publishing tools like WordPress and Joomla. It seems a Cloud Based Website Publisher Comparison would be more appropriate. Linux for You has an excellent WordPress vs Drupal vs Joomla comparison.



5. Accounting

For invoicing The in-house favorite here at AppTrain has been Freshbooks.  Freshbooks is a classic start in your parents basement company that is now an a accounting leader in the Cloud.





6. Customer Relationships

I'm not a big acronym guy. But  Saleforce has put CRM on the map and has branched into one of the leading cloud computing companies. SugarCRM entered this field not long after, and more recently Zoho has joined the game with , you could have guess it,   ZohoCRM. Leadmaster and Microsoft Dynamics certainly deserve consideration just for not using an acronym in their name.








7. Mailing Lists

When a customer wants to do email marketing, We beg them not to, and try to hip them to social media. But if they must, We refer them to MailChimp. It's good to know Monkey's are still finding work since the space program has cut back.




8. Version Control

Version Control is really document management for programmers. When a client starts developing software they're morphing into a competitor of AppTrain. To make the fight fair, we make sure they know about Unfuddle.  Unfuddle is a collaboration suite for programmers and includes project management and issue tracking along with version control.  The version control options are Subversion and Git but it's the integration with the other tools that sets it apart.


9. Issue Tracking

Things that don't work are called issues. When the issue with software it's called a bug. Do you think Unfuddle developers tracked issues in Bugzilla? Or the creators of Fogbuzz logged bugs in BaseCamp? All four of these tools are excellent, so more than likely, they ate their own dogfood.


10. Site Monitoring

Once a web site or product is in production, we want to make sure it stays working. Uptrends can check any site, verify content and perform multiple step transactions from multiple sites around the globe. They then send alerts via email or SMS when a site isn't performing properly. MxToolbox is a great tool for making sure your dns records are in order, and for staying off spam lists.  They also provide email alerts.


By developing an effective cloud strategy, companies can obtain and keep a competitive edge over companies stuck spending money and time maintaining legacy in-house IT Infrastructures. AppTrain migrates existing infrastructures to cloud solutions, and provides training to help maintain productivity through a seamless transition to the cloud.

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