Small Businesses can become more productive, efficient and serve their customers better by managing their business processes in the Cloud (Web). Application (app) Marketplaces like the Apple App Store make it easy to find, try and buy the application that best suits your needs. However, with every passing month there are more and more app marketplaces popping up. How do you decide which marketplace has the right tools for you?
App marketplaces are typically built by a leading brand with access to millions of customers and more importantly around business data and processes that is core to most businesses. To use an example, the Google Apps Marketplace provides apps that apply to Google Applications like email, calendar, and document collaboration. Meanwhile, Intuit has an app store for managing financial data with integration of QuickBooks.
Identifying what business data of yours will be touched upon by these applications is as important as picking the right marketplace. Consult the following list of app stores and descriptions to find the best place for your business to shop for apps.
Google Apps Marketplace
If your company’s business processes depend heavily on Google Applications like Gmail, Google Docs, or Google Calendar, then the Google Apps Marketplace is a great place to find useful apps for your day-to-day functions. Google launched their app marketplace in March 2010, and provides applications that are designed to work in conjunction with your email and Microsoft Office like documents stored in Gmail and Google Docs.
Intuit Workplace App Center
Intuit provides an App Center that focuses on the organization of financial data with a focus on Quickbooks integration. Bookkeepers, accountants, and business owners that work closely with Quickbooks will find that the Intuit App Center offers many useful apps for leveraging financial data. Intuit is currently running a “Get Organized. Get Rewarded” campaign promoting and providing free trials of apps that help offices organize their data.
The SalesForce app exchange is designed to leverage customer and marketing data stored in the original SalesForce application. SalesForce can be used to design surveys, run email marketing campaigns, and manage leads and customers. By adding third party apps through the app exchange, you can integrate with networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Oneforty is an app marketplace for the ever-popular service, Twitter. If you use twitter for networking and marketing, oneforty is sure to carry an app to make that process easier and more effective. They even offer apps in the form of toolkits, designed for specific purposes such as entrepreneurs, and social business.
Facebook has an app store and it isn’t just about games and photo sharing. If your company markets with a Facebook page, the Facebook app store can provide you with surveys, event management tools and videos to boost interaction, and leverage your existing social network.
iPod, iPhone, and iPad app stores aren’t known for their business applications, but there are a lot of helpful tools that can be very useful in the office. Browse these app stores if you frequently use your iPhone or the new iPad for your business, or if you want to download some games and ease some stress.
Other Mobile App Stores
Besides the vastly popular Apple app stores, there are other mobile app stores specific to a brand or device. If you use a smartphone for business, find the app store for you below:
Nokia (Ovi Store)
Are there other marketplaces that you think I missed that are worth a mention?