Productivity Apps Aren’t Just a Fad
Businesses need to maximize productivity any way they can. Some look to software to make this happen. When searching for productivity software, it may seem like you are looking at the same thing over and over again. While we admit that many productivity programs are similar, it’s important that you acquire the software that will give your team the tools it needs to succeed. Let’s take a look at how you can find the right productivity apps for your business’ needs.
Productivity in Software
Productivity software isn’t a flashy item. Every business needs certain apps to do business and most businesses need the same apps. There are a lot of options to choose from, and many of the options might seem pretty similar. What’s important is that you get the tools your business needs.
Productivity software, which is generally made up of a word processor, a spreadsheet program, a presentation software, note-taking software, and other useful task management tools, isn’t much different from one to another. What is different—and makes a difference—is how the apps are deployed and how they are managed by the developer. It’s fair to say that you get what you pay for, and some productivity apps are just stronger than others.
What Should You Look For?
When trying to sort out which productivity apps to use, you obviously will want to consult your budget and your needs. As we mentioned above, most word processors are going to do the job you’d expect out of a word processor, but with more innovative solutions, you will get more options that will help your overall productivity. That’s extremely important. Let’s take a look at some variables you should consider:
If your software isn’t reliable, it isn’t worth it, period. Reliability can be measured in several ways. Is it still being developed consistently so you know it isn’t a security risk? Does it have the options you need? Is it easy to use and won’t take a long time to get the hang of? Some apps will promise you benefits that you will never see, but what you can bank on is if the applications cause you a steady stream of problems, you’ve probably made a bad choice.
If a lot of your team is working remotely on their own computers, you may find that not everyone is going to have the same OS, the same chipset, etc. You will need any productivity app that you choose to work on several different systems. This includes mobile devices. You may think you’re getting a great deal, but if a handful of your workers are working on macOS and the software isn’t compatible with it, you’re going to be kicking yourself.
As many people continue to work remotely, or in some type of hybrid work system, having apps that work from anywhere is extremely important. Today, a lot of options are available as Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings to help businesses avoid the expense of setting up their own cloud server or remote access tools. Either way, you need to be able to get your remote workers the tools they need to be productive.
Speaking of productivity, a lot of businesses are asking their people to do more. We are in unprecedented times and business decisions have to be made down to the dollar. When the productivity software your business uses has collaboration features built-in, it can make a world of difference. Workers can work in the same file, share files, and consistently stay up to date on workflows. A lot of the productivity suites available will also come with some form of project management software. This is a good way to oversee your team’s progress on a project and work right alongside them in real-time.
If you are looking for the latest software to boost productivity for your business, our technicians can help. Give us a call at 334-834-7660 for more information today.
Tip of the Week: How to Share Documents in Google Drive
Collaboration is something that no modern business can do without, which helps to explain why so many current applications feature it so heavily. Let’s focus on Google Drive and its multitude of collaborative capabilities that so many businesses are now making use of.
This is the foundation of any collaborative process: the capability to share a file and allow others to edit it. Google Drive provides you a few means of doing so:
● From My Drive, click one of your various documents to highlight it and click on the Share icon in the toolbar at the top-right of the page.
● Right-clicking the document and selecting Share will provide you with the option to do so.
● Google Drive’s assorted applications, like Docs, Slides, and Sheets, each feature a prominent Share button at the top of the page.
Each of these options pulls up the same window: The Share with people and groups panel. Let’s examine the options that this panel provides.
The “Share with people and groups” Panel
This panel allows you to select who can access your document, and what they can do with it afterward. As a result, it is simple to share with anyone from a single coworker to an entire department—all you need to do is type in the appropriate name or email address, add a quick message if needed, and determine the access you’re granting:
● Editor—Someone with editor-level access privileges can make whatever changes to a document that they see fit, as well as extend permissions to others to share the document in question.
● Commenter—A commenter has much more limited capabilities, as they are not able to directly change the content of a given document or share it out, but they can leave their feedback and suggestions for an editor to review and approve or deny.
● Viewer—A viewer can read through a document but can leave no feedback or send it along to others.
You can also adjust these settings even more, taking away or adding capabilities as you need to (or even taking away permissions entirely). In the Share pane, click the field that specifies the user’s access and make the changes you need to. From there, you can set an expiration date to their access to match your needs.
The Share pane also allows you to generate a link that allows your document to be shared that way. Under Get Link, you can select the option that gives anyone with the link the appropriate privileges, whether that be edit access or the ability to comment. This access can be removed whenever you need it to be.
Determining Which Documents Have Been Shared
Finally, Google Drive also simplifies the process of establishing which documents have had their access shared. A small icon will appear next to the filename that looks like two silhouettes, so long as you aren’t working in Grid view.
Hopefully, you now have a better idea of the capabilities that Google Drive offers in terms of collaboration. There are plenty of other ways that your business’ IT can help to facilitate teamwork, too, so give us a call at 334-834-7660 to learn more today.
Prioritizing Security with Your Messaging Apps
If you asked your average person whether they are okay with their personal information being taken and used by businesses, you’d probably come across quite a bit of dissent. Ironically, it seems that people will give it right over via social media programs, but you are beginning to see some pushback when using apps. WhatsApp, the messaging app owned by Facebook, that is known for end-to-end encryption, has told users that they will soon be forced to share their personal data with Facebook.
Today, we thought we would take a few minutes to review the goings on in the social media and messaging space.
Back in December, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a lawsuit in federal court against Facebook, claiming that the social media giant has been engaged in anticompetitive conduct and violated antitrust laws. The attorneys general of 46 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam all cooperated with the FTC in an investigation that states Facebook has been engaged in unethical business by acquiring and running would-be competitor apps WhatsApp and Instagram. Facebook’s actions are being scrutinized as they begin to consolidate the management of data throughout their family of apps.
Facebook is also accused of restricting third-party software developers from accessing Facebook’s development platform unless they signed legal agreements to only create applications that don’t directly compete with Facebook’s properties.
Smaller Messaging Apps Thrive
With WhatsApp’s recent announcement that all data sent and received on the application will effectively be considered a part of that person’s Facebook profile, a lot of users are looking to change to emerging messaging applications to avoid the security and privacy concerns. Two options include Signal and Telegram. These two options have seen massive growth. Signal has gained 7.5 million new users in a week’s time, while Telegram became the most downloaded app in the United States, adding 9 million new users.
With WhatsApp now requiring users to share phone numbers, locations, and contacts’ phone numbers with Facebook and its subsidiaries, there is concern about user’s privacy. Facebook has stated that the new privacy policies do not affect messages shared between family or friends, only those messages sent to a business. That fact is largely lost on people who seem to finally be getting a handle on how important their data privacy really is.
What do you think? Do you agree with Facebook’s move to consolidate their data collection, or do you think that data privacy is too important for such a powerful company to make these drastic moves?