8 Web apps for streamlining your business

Is your business struggling to collaborate, communicate or connect with customers? These apps may be just the ticket to meet those challenges.

8 Web Apps That Will Change Your Business

Sometimes, it takes only one Web app. In business, solving a financial crisis, streamlining operations or getting your team to communicate more effectively is often a matter of using a better app. Countless companies have remedied a plaguing technical issue by upgrading to a more powerful tool. This has a ripple effect across an organization. These eight Web apps may be just the ticket to help your enterprise—or at least get you on the road to renewal.

John Brandon is a former IT manager at a Fortune 100 company who now writes about technology. He has written more than 2,500 articles in the past 10 years. You can follow him on Twitter @jmbrandonbb.

Creately
Creately

For visualizing company plans, nothing beats Creatly. The flowcharting and diagramming app helps you create clear visual representations of ideas, which can be a game-changer. The app is collaborative, so team members can leave comments and track tasks. And unlike Vizio, it runs entirely in the cloud and stores all diagrams online. To create a visual file, simply drag and drop objects. You can also use pre-existing templates to get started.

More: 10 Advanced Data Visualization Platforms to Watch

ZenDesk
ZenDesk

There's a better way to do help desk support. ZenDesk, which runs entirely in the cloud, helps agents track a support call, knowing the status of the assistance and offering guidance on what to do next. In fact, the templates fill in appropriate responses for support staff to use. More importantly, the app can be used by managers to generate reports on call times, successfully support resolutions and tweak the knowledge base for better accuracy.

More: How Big Data Can Improve Marketing and Customer Service

Work.com
Work.com

The idea of a "game-changing" app might seem elusive. With Work.com, there's proof in the results. The app is designed to help managers gauge discernible achievements on the job, yet it's built for the employee, not the manager. Using gamification techniques, employees can get points that earn rewards such as recognition on Facebook or even a gift card. As employees achieve goals, managers can interact and tweak their performance.

Related: How Gamification Reshapes Corporate Training

Smartsheet
Smartsheet

There was a time when Microsoft Excel made a massive impact in the enterprise. Many large companies still rely on this spreadsheet tool every single day. Smartsheet is like Excel 2.0 for the cloud. The app lets you create collaborative spreadsheets with all the calculations you've come to expect. Employees can attach files to individual cells or leave comments. There are versions for the Web as well as tablets and phones.

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Setster
Setster

Calendaring has been moving to the cloud for years. With Setster, you can open schedule-making up to customers. They can book meetings—and, if your company has a business model that charges for meetings (say you're a consultancy or accounting firm), even pay for the privilege. As you'd expect from an online app, the scheduler is collaborative; cancel or re-schedule a meeting, for example, and everyone gets a notice. The app even has features for padding a meeting or adding flex time so everyone knows they don't have to be on time.

Related: 11 useful Android apps for time management and productivity

WalkMe.com
WalkMe.com

WalkMe.com can change your business if you are struggling to communicate complex ideas to customers. For example, if you have a website that requires customers to fill out a lengthy form or complete a difficult task, you can use WalkMe as an on-site tutorial. The tool uses a drag-and-drop approach to create steps that appear alongside the actual site. Best of all, with self-service aids, fewer people will call tech support or drop out of the process.

Related: How Social Customer Support Brings Social Media Beyond Marketing

15Five
15Five

Not every game-changing app has to be a wholesale replacement for an accounting system or a massive roll-out of a new inventory control tool. For example, 15Five is just an aid for communicating complex ideas. The tool provides a clear goal: employees spend 15 minutes writing a status report that managers roll into to a summarized document that takes five minutes for execs to digest or re-purpose for other executives.

Related: 25 practical Windows 8 tablet apps for business users

Do.com
Do.com

There's a sense with task management and project tools that everyone is an island. Even some so-called "team collaboration" tools still tend to stay disconnected. Do.com is one of the best small team management tools available. Employees can leave notes connected with tasks and even chat in-line. The app is highly connected to the social realm, too: Employees can connect files to Dropbox and Google Drive and even sync up with Salesforce contacts.

Related: 10 Free Android Apps for Easy Task Management