There is an App for That!

The apps that are shaping the business world

By Jessica Foreman

Not long after Apple’s first iPhone made its way to the market the Silicon Valley tech giant began using the marketing slogan ‘there’s an app for that’, extolling the virtues of the ways in which smartphones could cater for just about every part of our lives. As a slogan it worked and as a mantra it has definitely come to pass. Now, whether you’re banking, shopping, playing games, working or even trading on the MT4 platform, there’s an app to cater for your needs.

It’s a world that has been good to South Africa too, as the continent’s most advanced centre for IT and technology. Companies such as Port Elizabeth-based Axxess or Johannesburg’s Wanititall and Parcelninja are great examples of pioneering companies making the most of the digital economy, while Mark Shuttleworth and Elon Musk are inspirational South African born world leading digital entrepreneurss
But, while the age of the app is not even a decade old, things continue to move on at a rapid pace. From a business perspective, the best apps are those that can save time, money or – preferably – both. So, which apps have the power to do just that?

Marketing

The last decade or so has seen digital tools, software and techniques transform the way in which marketing is carried out. Brands can now make data-driven decisions with more detailed insight than ever before and tailor their marketing materials effectively to any audience. However, this does pose a challenge too. How do you take all of that information and turn that into a marketing campaign that works? This is where HubSpot comes in. It’s a world-leader in terms of marketing automation and the associated app makes using this platform simpler than ever – letting you manage contacts between all teams no matter where they are based or what time they need the information.

Speed up the paperwork

Paperwork can be a huge drag on the time for a business. Increasingly apps avoid the need to waste hours filling in financial information – letting you check, amend and analyse your accounts on the go. One particular pain for many businesses is managing expenses effectively. This is where Expensify comes in. As PC Mag notes: “Expensify lets you upload receipts via its iOS and Androids apps, both of which utilize OCR SmartScan. Expensify is the best tool we reviewed at accurately processing scanned data, which saves employees and administrators time inputting and processing expenses.”

Social media

Social media offers a great opportunity for businesses to reach out to their prospective customers, build excitement about their products and services and answer their queries and questions. The app Hootsuite helps businesses to manage a range of social channels, making it easy to monitor multiple channels at once and to time posts so that they can go into the timelines of followers at the most apt moment.

File management

Sharing files, documents, presentations etc is a vital but it can be fiddly – as anyone who has ever found themselves lost in a complicated email chain can attest. Using functions such as Dropbox or Google Drive, however, makes this much quicker and easier and gives everyone working on a team the chance to collaborate smoothly and effectively. Real-time messaging platforms such as Slack are also useful to speed up and simplify communications, especially when it comes to large scale projects that involve workers in different teams (and maybe even different countries and time zones).

These are just four key ways in which apps are shaping the business world – making tasks quicker to execute, freeing up time for important money-making activity and improving business processes to boost efficiency. However, there are many ways in which individuals can benefit from apps that suit their niche or circumstances. The trick is to keep that Apple slogan in mind. If you’re struggling from a poorly performing process, working inefficiently or struggling to keep your costs down, it’s almost certainly true that ‘there’s an app for that’.

Jessica Foreman jessica.wforeman@gmail.com