Google has been gaining steam in the cloud based business application space with the evolution of Google Apps, Gmail, and Google Calendar. That evolution made a pretty strong leap recently with the addition of the Google Apps Marketplace.
The Marketplace is an iTunes like library of 3rd party applications and services that are designed to easily plug into, integrate with, and extend the power of the Google Apps offering. Apps covering categories such as accounting, payroll, marketing, scheduling and productivity make running a small business entirely in the cloud a more easily achievable reality. Some apps are free while others charge a per user monthly fee.
While there are currently hundreds of apps and growing available through the Marketplace, below are eight that small businesses should consider right now.
- This app lets you create, share and collaboratively work on mind maps, making it easy to plan projects, exchange ideas and brainstorm online with friends and colleagues.
- Billed as a social productivity, project management and task management tool it is the one of the most widely used applications as it turns the Google Apps environment into a tool to run your business.
- OffiSync allows you to Sync Microsoft Office and Google Apps files so you can work back and forth without worrying which platform created a document or spreadsheet.
- Free design tools and templates to create, modify and share images, logos, presentations, audio tracks, podcasts and more. Teams can collaborate on multimedia projects, and it works directly in Google Docs. I think we’ll soon see more online design tools.
- Add state of the art workflow, business process and integration capabilities to Google Apps. Design, connect, deploy and measure day-to-day or complex workflows.
- Expensify takes the pain out of expense reporting by giving you the ability to create, approve, and reimburse expense reports from one interface.
- TripIt helps employees travel smarter by organizing their travel plans no matter where they booked. You simply email travel confirmations to TripIt and it builds itineraries you can share with your team.
- SlideRocket is reinventing presentations with its feature rich, innovative platform that lets you create, manage, share and measure your presentations in one complete and integrated application.
In addition to the apps above you will also find offerings from CRM providers Zoho and BatchBook, Finance tools from Intuit and Freshbooks, and email marketing integration from Vertical Response and MailChimp.
My guess is you can expect many other providers and familiar applications to jump into the Google Apps integration game.
To help ease transition from other platforms, most notably Microsoft’s Exchange environment, Google has created migration tools and is promoting 3rd party consulting service providers inside the Marketplace space to help small businesses and enterprises with installation and transition
Image credit: HerrKruegerJohn Jantsch is a marketing and digital technology coach, award winning social media publisher and author of Duct Tape Marketing and The Referral Engine.