My must have SaaS apps
The web is an ever evolving and growing thing. It’s changed the way we all live our lives and how we go about getting our work done. One of the biggest game changers in recent times has been the proliferation of software as a service (SaaS) applications. Historically companies were required to install and maintain fat client software that was prone to crashing and taking all of your data with it.
The SaaS model has allowed that data to be hosted centrally and made access available from any device, anywhere in the world. And the best part? If that device dies, you can just grab another one and pick up where you left off! Despite all of this, I still see a lot of companies struggling with certain processes that could easily be addressed by leveraging SaaS apps. Here are some of the apps I find myself recommending time and time again.
While email still has it’s place in the world, it has become a bit of a distraction. It can often be an abused tool that takes up way to much of our time and focus. We all receive way too many emails and sifting through them all have become somewhat of a chore.
The idea behind Slack isn’t new or earth shattering, but it’s implementation sets it miles ahead of anything else in the market. It ’s the new email, instant messenger, chat room, intranet and social network all rolled into one. With Slack there’s no need to toggle through a bunch of apps to find what you’re looking for. It’s all right there.
Most of my projects involve working remotely with some kind of a team, whether I’m working with an agency or directly with the client. There’s designers, developers, content editors… you get the drift. Slack makes it easy to communicate with each other in a way that is both immediate and archival. Discussion can be isolated to only the relevant parties, leaving everyone else to get on with their work.
Best of all, Slack fosters a culture and comrade which is especially important when working remotely. The Radom channel often induces a lot of laughter. And who wants to go through their day without laughter?
I use Google for loads of things, from Mail, Calendars, Analytics, TagManager… the list goes on. But there’s one Google service that I think every organisation should use. G Suite (or Google Drive or Google Apps or whatever it’s called at the moment) it’s the equivalent of MS Office, but much, much more. It gives you the ability to easily share and collaborate with others and everything is centralised.
You never need to hit save, because your files are being saved as you work. If you have your file shared your collaborators can see changes in real time and vice versa. Exporting files is a snap however with more and more people using it everyday, the need to export files is becoming redundant.
Development projects are often big and complex. They have a lot of moving parts and dependencies. Without some kind of organisational tool you are almost guaranteed to miss something. Trello is based on the kanban organisational system which was made popular by Japanese manufacturers like Toyota back in the 80’s.
Trello is simple, anything you want to organise fits onto a board. Each board contains lists (as many as you like) and each list contains cards (again, as many as you like). Within a card you can add labels, assign people, create checklists, set due dates and more. Cards are dragged from one list to another as tasks progress throughout the project. The possible configurations are endless.
Tracking time in my business is very important. I work on hourly rates and without easy and accurate time tracking, I run the risk of either not getting paid for my work or overcharging clients. I use Harvest for time tracking my time. At any given point I can easily see how many hours I have worked on a project, whether I am on time and on budget and exactly what tasks I have spent that time on.
On top of all this, I use Harvest for invoicing clients and estimating new projects. It outputs great looking documents that can be easily shared and tracked. It also offers easy integrations for online payment.
One of the great things about SaaS applications is the ability to integrate them with other SaaS applications. It opens a whole new world of possibility and automation, ultimately allowing you to spend more time getting your work done. However this isn’t always possible out of the box. Enter Zapier which allows all of your different apps to talk to each other, allowing you to automate all sorts of stuff.
For example, whenever I add a new invoice in Harvest Zapier automatically creates a copy of this invoice in Saasu (my bookkeeping app). This is great because while Harvest is great at keeping timers and generating invoices from those timers, it’s not a bookkeeping app. Without Zapier doing that work behind the scenes, I would have to create each new invoice in 2 different places. The number of available app integrations on Zapier is massive, which means the possibilities are almost limitless.
That’s just some of the SaaS apps I use every day and the list is always growing. I hope this gives you some ideas about how you can improve your business and processes by moving way from clunky and outdated software.