In the proverbial quest to build a better mousetrap, business tech tools reign supreme. There are always processes your company can tweak with tech to reap higher productivity or reduce costs.
From collaboration and team chat to email marketing and security tools, choices abound in every category. Here are some of the most interesting technologies and tools available for propelling your team or company forward.
A Corporate Wiki
Bring important internal company information — handbooks, websites, handbooks, emails, recordings, and employee expertise — together in one place with a corporate wiki. Individuals in the company can contribute knowledge on specific topics, making it instantly available for anyone who needs it. By preserving and centralizing knowledge, a corporate wiki helps employees save time and promotes consistent practices across the organization.
You can organize corporate wiki content in lots of different ways. For example, sales content could include demo scripts, expense report templates, business development tips, and current promotional pricing tables. The HR department might include best practices for scanning résumés, performing candidate background checks, and processing vacation requests.
Alternatively, you can organize a corporate wiki around content categories, like product information, process documentation, or administrative documents. These useful tools offer powerful, yet flexible, ways to keep everyone from new hire to old pro on the same page.
Team Chat Apps
Every business needs a team chat app. Even though these tools have been around awhile, there are many reasons why they have staying power. More than just a means of letting teams communicate more easily, these apps have evolved into productivity powerhouses. Here are just a few reasons why:
- They organize conversations, allowing users to see what they need to see and not see what they don’t.
- They enable users to easily search and retrieve past threads and conversations.
- They reduce the email barrage rampant in most organizations.
- They give users one-click access to video and audio calls.
- They let users drag and drop nearly any kind of file to view or share.
- Most integrate easily with calendar, task management, note-taking, and other productivity apps.
Some are paid, and some are free, but there are many good choices for organizations of any size. Popular paid (or freemium) team chat apps are Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Chat. Other apps offer free subscription options, additional functionality, and optimization for mobile chat. These include ProofHub, WhatsApp, Flock, Beekeeper, and Chanty.
Not only did the COVID-19 pandemic launch a mass migration to videoconferencing apps, it also helped boost the use of online whiteboarding tools. The ubiquitous whiteboard — covered in design sketches, equations, or a blizzard of buzzwords — is now a brainstorming must-have for teams everywhere.
Users of online whiteboarding tools can jump right into complex visualizations while monitoring changes and assigning tasks to teammates. They can even integrate database elements or plug-ins that allow fellow users to vote on designs. Some online whiteboards employ familiar visual icons like sticky notes, timers, and chat boxes to help users translate ideas into visual representations. There’s even an online whiteboard — Limnu — for users who are reluctant to give up their markers.
The best whiteboards for business use include features for audio and video calling and chat messaging. Also vital are the ability to save iterations and revisions and upload files and images using multiple file format saving options. Check out products like Miro, MURAL, and Stormboard. With Explain Everything, you can even record your whiteboard and voice as you draw, turning them into an MP4 video. Both paid and free options exist for many of these products, depending on the size of your team and desired functionality.
Email Marketing Software
Email marketing is one of the best ways to create or increase engagement with your customers. And you don’t have to have a big marketing department or sophisticated strategy to get results. With easy-to-use templates, design tips, and visualization features, almost anyone can create a professional-looking email campaign that boosts brand perception.
Most email marketing apps also include automated capabilities, such as response tracking, campaign management, and analytics. You can conduct A/B testing to see which versions get the best response or map out automated campaigns to re-engage business prospects. Some apps also offer live chat or chatbots to engage with interested recipients before their interest level tapers off.
Highly regarded email marketing apps include the full-featured ActiveCampaign package, which includes a CRM to help prioritize leads as you track interactions. MailChimp offers users four flexible pricing plans—including free—for growing businesses. Easy-to-use templates, audience segmentation, and real-time performance tracking make this platform beloved by sole proprietors and large brands alike.
Other equally well-embraced apps include Constant Contact, HubSpot, Zoho, and Litmus. When you can conceive a campaign, design it, send it, and analyze results within days, you’re saving time and driving business simultaneously.
With multiple online tools come multiple passwords. It’s practically impossible to remember the login credentials for every corporate system, client account, banking app, and consumer site you access. This leads to the bane of every cybersecurity professional’s existence: using the same password for everything from logging in to the corporate CRM to shopping on Amazon.
Weak — or identical — passwords make it easy for cybercriminals to breach multiple accounts with a single theft. That’s why password manager tools have become so important. They remove the burden of having to remember a strong, unique password for every site by storing them for you. Security pros also recommend changing passwords regularly, and a password manager makes this task easier by generating new passwords when necessary.
Password managers work by capturing credentials when you create a new account online. When you revisit a site, most automatically fill in the saved data. Look for password managers that work across your devices. Most use encrypted cloud storage, making it simple and convenient to ensure password protection anywhere.
These handy tools come in free and paid versions. Highly rated free apps are Myki, LogMeOnce, and Bitwarden. Paid offerings typically provide more features than free ones. Auto-filling web forms, managing passwords for applications as well as websites, and secure password sharing are a few examples. Paid products with the highest-rated functionality include Keeper, Dashlane, LastPass, and Bitwarden Premium.
These five categories of helpful tech tools just scratch the surface of what’s possible. Whether you’re looking to reclaim time spent on noncritical tasks or make life easier for your team, these solutions might be just the ticket. They’re great examples of how companies building better mousetraps can help their customers be more productive mice.