In the last few years, collaboration and productivity business tools are to thank to for the success of many businesses, especially small ones.

Evidently, business web and mobile apps are to look first to when searching for innovative solutions to improve productivity, communication, management and engagement, to cut costs, and to save time.

In general, more and more businesses are turning to mobile technology (not because they simply want to, but have to). With recently announced partnership between IBM and Apple, business apps are back in the spotlight, once again, though, this partnership only proves what is known for quite some time, firstly, businesses have more demands regarding business apps, and secondly, businesses are becoming more dependent on those same apps they use daily.

The enterprise app market has been offering quality business web and mobile apps for a while, and many companies have been trying to deliver the products accordingly; the competition between developing companies is on the rise, as well. Everything that users seek are the same basic qualities – simplicity, utility, and engagement, yet, every business has its specific needs, thus for some businesses, to maximize the effectiveness of work, communication and engagement, the app might request more qualities and specific features.

Business web and mobile apps are not perfect, one app often doesn’t offer everything users need, and although it may seem that they will always lack something, still some apps distinguish themselves from others, and deserve to be mentioned on the list of those that offer good tools and get good results.

#1 Basecamp

Ever since Basecamp was launched, it remained one of the most popular business project management software all due to its simplicity, which probably kept this service running successfully for more than a decade, and now with an iPad app, it is certainly going to attract more users.

The greatest pros are its undeniable practicality, more or less reasonable price (30-day free trial, no per-user costs, and unlimited users for a paid package, free for teachers), huge numbers of add-ons and integrations (though some find this a downside) and speed. However, Basecamp is and remains in fact the most appropriate tool for handling simple projects, thus very convenient for small businesses (with features like daily recap, email notifications, loop-in feature, auto savings, easy archiving, and more). All in all, Basecamp has nothing remarkably innovative, yet, simple and easy remains its best qualities.

#2 Asana

Asana was promoted as a tool that can help with productivity problems (lowering email flow within groups, teams) and it apparently is, because since launching in 2011, big clients and names started using it, such as Dropbox, Pinterest, Virginia Tech.

This service has reasonable pricing (free for groups of up to 15) and very much easy to use interface (the better word would be uncomplicated). It is purely a task management tool, with list of integrations and add-ons – Google Drive, Zapier, CloudWork, Dropbox, Chrome Extension, Github, WordPress, Evernote, HipChat, Mailchimp, Usersnap and more. Although pretty basic, a lot was invested in task features, organizational units (teams, workspaces, organizations) and sections, all to enhance project management and team collaboration. It is known for its excellent keyboard shortcuts, hypertext feature, colour-coded option for projects and uncomplicated interface. Similarly to Basecamp, Asana is suited for different types of organizations – enterprise organizations, small organizations and middle-sized businesses. 

#3 Slack

Flicker’s co-founder business collaboration app Slack caught much attention since launching. Presented as an app that can help us “be less busy”, it is basically the app that offers centralized group chat, advanced search and file-sharing options, with various third-party apps (Google Drive, Dropbox, Twitter, Asana, Github).

It seems that this is another app that “attacks” email communication, and similar ways of communication, to empower collaboration and work flow. Some high-profile companies embraced this app very quickly, such as HBO, Buzzfeed, eBay, Dow Jones, Times of London, ESPN, Wall Street Journal, Yelp Inc., and others. Even though this is not a novel approach to business communication, Slack does offer an easier way to search through all those files and data one may easily lose track of.

#4 Redbooth

Redbooth, formerly known as Teambox, is another web-based platform worth mentioning, which was completely redesigned some time ago, after relatively successful several years, with two ideas on mind: speed and easy utilization.

Redbooth offers cloud-based and on-premise service, and a universal mobile app for both iOS and Android, also functioning in offline mode. With focusing on providing the easiest way of organizing tasks, boosting workflow with tagging and other Twitter-like shortcuts, good notification management, and options such as create button and quick add, Redbooth is built to improve work efficiency. The feature users like the most is unlimited storage space, however, many would like the ability to rebrand and more reporting tools, thus for some businesses Redbooth may not be enough for project management.

Noticeably, business web and mobile apps are battling for users’ attention. Which one is the best? Depends on the business niche. One thing is certain – apps that are highly appreciated are those that have cloud integration with different services, cross-platform integration and basic communication tools.