by Matthew Stibbe
Published on 29 October 2012
The original point of apps was convenience and time saving, but now there are so many to choose from that you spend all that saved time and effort finding the best ones or identifying the ones that you really need. Apart from collaborating on projects are there any other benefits that apps can bring to CEOs? I am a CEO as well and I know that we are especially pushed for time, so I've shortlisted a few here that I like:
There's no point recommending LinkedIn because you'll already have it, but CardMunch is a little extra app powered by the same people. Point and click to capture and transcribe your business cards to your phone. Then connect with your new contacts via LinkedIn and send follow-up emails, all from one place.
Manage your staff online with this cloud-based HR system. Approve time off requests, sign off expense claims, manage purchase orders and complete staff reviews from any device, anywhere. It's like having the HR filing cabinet in your iPhone or on your laptop. (Full disclosure: Turbine is my company!)
Sign documents quickly, securely and virtually with this app. Save costs in printing and overnight shipping and set reminders to ensure clients remember to sign too.
This is a brilliant project-management tool. It lets you share documents, prioritise tasks and update discussions in real time. Everything is based on a single page and the layout is kept simple in order to make communication easier.
If you're in New York, Silicon Valley or London (or a host of other cities) then Uber is the way to travel. Instead of standing in the rain trying to hail a taxi, you click on your smartphone and summon a limo. It costs a bit more than a taxi but you ride in style and you pay online with a credit card so there's no awkward fumbling with tips or struggling to find enough cash at the end of the journey.
TripIt is another indispensable travel tool for the jet set and the jetlagged alike. Get your PA to put all your travel details for each trip into this online app and then download them to your phone or tablet. Pay a few bucks for the pro version and you'll get text messages about gate changes, flight delays and cancellations.
As a CEO you need to stay on top of emerging trends and ideas, which means managing subscriptions to lots of blogs. There are plenty of RSS readers, but Google Reader is free, easy to use and based on a familiar platform. I use Reeder on my iPhone to synchronise with Google Reader.
Of course, it's easy to get carried away and spend too long reading blogs. A great way to keep track of how you spend your time is RescueTime. It sits quietly in the background, monitoring your activity. It can differentiate between tabs on browsers and you can even set it to ask what you've been doing when you've been away from your device: a brilliant efficiency booster.
Get feedback on logo designs, product ideas or slogans in minutes by asking your question on Pickfu. The feedback is from real people and you can analyze the demographics of your respondents. A nifty tool that's incredibly simple to use.
This last one is a little bit different. Sparked Community is a relatively new app, designed to help companies that are interested in social responsibility by facilitating micro-volunteering. You invite local charities, schools or other organisations that you are passionate about helping, to break down their volunteer projects into small tasks, and categorise them by skill. Employees then log into your branded Sparked Community to accept and complete tasks that make the most of their talents. The app monitors participant numbers, hours clocked and top performers and helps you strengthen your community and employer profile.