Online productivity tools: There is a growing category of apps that aim to help businesses be more productive. The problem is, it’s such a broad category and includes hundreds of different solutions depending on what is needed to be more “productive.” An IT department in a large company, for instance, has a very different idea of productivity than a small marketing agency.
But there are some tools that span industries and can be applied to large teams or even large businesses.
Here’s a look at four online productivity tools to helps execs:
Basecamp is catching on as a powerful project management and collaboration tool for businesses in the small-size range, in just about any industry.
The company that developed it, 37 Signals, has taken users away from the charts, graphs and complex analytics that seem to jazz up big company execs and has put the focus on simple UI, organization and collaboration.
For freelancers and small companies, Basecamp provides a really great way to get all of your projects and the tasks associated organized and transparent for the entire team.
One great feature is that you can share projects with clients and invite them to collaborate, reducing some exporting and sharing, while giving insight as to where you are in each project scope.
Pricing starts at $49 for 35 projects and goes up from there.
Easy Projects .NET
Easy Projects .NET is similar to Basecamp, but it’s probably better for mid-size or large companies that need bit more robustness in their reports and features.
It includes all that great charting, graphing and other reporting features that are more in tune with a large company workflow.
Keeping in mind that managers will use it to stay on track of their teams’ output, Easy Projects .NET includes a unique page called My Assignments, designed to help manage the day-to-day activities. Managers and users can tag higher priority items, set deadlines within the app, log time on tasks, share files and post comments.
Don’t want your boss on your back? Easy Projects .NET communicates progress on tasks to the people who need to know. This can certainly reduce time usually spent on routine tasks like chasing down progress reports (and creating them).
Starts at $75 a month for five users, and you have the option of hosting it yourself or having them host it for you.
Having trouble motivating? Have a couple procrastinators on your team? You might benefit from the LazyMeter.
Aptly named, this app was designed not just to help you manage projects, but also to help motivate you. No, it doesn’t include audio clips from Tony Robbins.
LazyMeter has developed a software activity list that helps you focus on completing tasks and projects just one day at a time and shows you the progress day to day so you feel more accomplished. It is like your favorite teacher reinforcing the great work you’ve done, as you’ve completed it, then gently moves you on to the next task or project.
LazyMeter is both an online and mobile app, so you can feel good from anywhere. It is a newer company and right now the application is free. The company explains on its website that it will start to provide premium services later.
Those who work in services find themselves spending an excessive amount of time tracking hours. And translating the time into reports is usually the last task addressed at the end of the month because it’s so tedious.
Harvest tries to alleviate that by making time capture, reporting and even invoicing a lot faster and simpler. This is probably best for small businesses or even consultants that need an easy and affordable way to manage their time, budgets, expenses and reports for projects.
The company has an iPhone app so hours can be captured on the go from anywhere. One really cool feature for the mobile exec: use your iPhone camera to scan, categorize and upload receipt that goes straight to invoicing.
Starts at just $12 a month for solo users and up to $90 a month for the business package.