Just as Google has come to own a significant portion of my online life, the same can be also said about many businesses around the world. Continuing with this trend, the Goliath of a search engine recently launched the Google Apps Marketplace, allowing third-party developers to take advantage of the increasingly powerful Google Apps platform.
Conventional wisdom will have businesses running their own internal servers, but Google Apps can put all of that information “in the cloud.” By doing so, employees can access the equivalent of the company intranet from anywhere they have an Internet connection.
Google Apps has been around for a while, but it has been restricted to in-house solutions from Google like Gmail for Business and Google Documents. With Google Apps Marketplace, businesses of all sizes can take advantage enterprise-level solutions that integrate directly with these Google solutions.
In no particular order, here are eight of the best offerings from the Google Apps Marketplace.
Collaborating with your team on a project can be a challenge. Emails get lost in the mix and they’re hard to organize. With Manymoon, you get an application that was designed specifically to manage your team collaborations.
In some ways, it takes some of the best aspects of social networking and applies it to a team project context. Manymoon integrates with Google Calendar, Contacts, Documents, and Spreadsheets. It can also be used to manage your tasks.
Manymoon is free to use.
Expense reports are made easier with Expensify. Using this software, employees can automatically import their expenses from 95% of US credit cards, making it much simpler to generate the expense report each month.
Further still, many of the imported transactions are accompanied by eReceipts, which are digital versions of their paper counterparts. These eReceipts are just as acceptable to the IRS as regular receipts. Cash expenses can be entered via the mobile tracking application too, which is available on several smartphone platforms.
Expensify is free to create and submit reports, but there is a $5 charge for each submitter per month beyond the two free users.
3. Intuit Online Payroll
Google Apps is designed to put everything up in the cloud and this includes most things that would normally be performed locally. Rather than having the payroll managed by internal servers, you can use Intuit Online Payroll for Google Apps.
This is equivalent to the local installation of Intuit for payroll, except it allows you to run payroll anywhere you can log in to Google Apps. The paychecks can be shown in Google Calendar and you can print checks (or use direct deposit) directly from the application.
Intuit Online Payroll is $39 per month for one employee filing in one state.
Some people have made the full migration over to Google Documents, but others still prefer the familiar environment of Microsoft Office. For that group of users, there is OffiSync.
In effect, you get Google Docs-like collaboration from within Microsoft Office. After installation, a new toolbar appears inside Office applications, allowing files to be saved directly to Google Docs. Users can also take advantage of Google Search to find existing documents.
OffiSync is free to download and use.
Just as Manymoon appears to be a great tool for project collaboration management, TripIt can serve the same purpose for organizing business travel among colleagues.
The software allows employees to organize and share their travel plans, integrating their custom itineraries with Google Calendar and Google Contacts. These plans can be further enhanced with weather, maps and directions. The accompanying mobile app for Android, iPhone, and BlackBerry completes the package.
TripIt is a free app.
Invoicing can be a big hassle, especially for smaller businesses that are strapped for time. FreshBooks online billing streamlines the process.
The software caters mostly to freelancers and subscription services, but can be used for a wide range of other businesses. The invoices can be managed and sent from within the application, including the ability to track their progress. The app is also used to manage contractors.
FreshBooks charges based on number of clients. Prices start at $19 per month for up to 25 clients.
Need a way to better maintain your customer contact lists? Capsule is a simple customer relationship management (CRM) software package that is flexible and versatile.
By using this software, you can maintain “one turbo-charged address book for your company” and “keep track of your sales pipeline and activities.” Capsule lets you see who said what and when with a full history of the contact and helps to ensure timely follow-ups by creating tasks about customers that can then be shared with co-workers.
Capsule is free for the first 30 days and $12 per month per user after that.
Google Calendar is great for managing your own schedule, but what about collaborating on meeting times with other co-workers and colleagues? The TimeBridge web apps helps to schedule these meetings, finding a time that is suitable for all attendees.
Meetings can be scheduled quickly, because the software automatically finds the time that works for everyone. This is because the availability is shared across calendar systems and the calendar can then be synchronized.
TimeBridge Basic is free. TimeBridge Plus starts at $12 a month with a free 30-day trial.