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6 Must-Have Enterprise Productivity Tools

  • The modern enterprise moves at breakneck speed, making employee productivity crucial to its success. If you think your old systems and interfaces are working just fine, take a second look and you'll likely find outdated practices and slow processes that can be eliminated. There are a large number of modern productivity tools available that are designed with a specific focus on usability. Tools like office suites, content management, Web conferencing, project management, innovation management, and social software help users remain happy, efficient, and productive.

    The latest enterprise productivity tools can be accessed anywhere on any device, including mobile phones and tablets. They offer quick setup and easy-to-use graphical user interfaces. Mobile-based productivity apps and tools enable easier access to employees, data, and cloud storage, all of which contribute to better collaboration.

    These tools can also improve integration between systems and departments, which is extremely valuable in fast-paced, multi-functional environments. In fact, many of today's software solutions are considered more effective at delivering business impact than legacy productivity offerings.

    To gain the most benefits, enterprises must identify and remove any roadblocks that may be preventing a collaborative environment and make sure that the tools they are using are those that will benefit employees most.

    With all of these enhancements so easily at your fingertips, updating your older applications with modern tools for productivity workflow is a great way to prepare your organization for today's increased demands. To help you identify the best productivity tools for your organization, click through this list to learn about tools that can drive efficiencies and promote collaborative working.

  • Office Suites

    Office software suites are an essential part of every business because of how frequently they're used in daily operations such as drafting a letter, writing a report, creating a budget, or building a presentation. What sets apart modern office suites from traditional office applications is the way they improve productivity through agility, responsiveness, and mobility.

    When choosing an office productivity suite, the first thing to look at is the software included. At a minimum, office productivity software should include a word processor, a spreadsheet application, a presentation builder, and possibly an email client, as those are the most utilized applications. Also, if multiple platforms or productivity tools are being used across the organization, you may need to consider support for those platforms and file formats, as well. The best office software will support just about any file format for documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, which should make opening, editing, and exchanging documents with others seamless. Having good help (FAQs, user forums, tutorials, and user manuals) and support (by phone, email, or filling out an online contact form) are also important factors to consider.

    Support for the use of mobile devices, and the ability to perform basic operations and sharing, can provide additional advantages. Applications that are available in the cloud can provide employees the freedom to work from nearly anywhere, using nearly any device.

    The most popular office suite products are Office 365, OpenOffice, and Google Apps for Work, but there are many others.

    (Image: Microsoft)

  • Content Management Tools

    Enterprise content management (ECM) solutions help enterprises manage unstructured information and content stored across their complex infrastructure and applications. By standardizing the accessibility of information and application administration, ECM supports better management, improved searchability, and enhanced quality controls for enterprise content. Modern ECM tools enable enterprises to capture, store, organize, preserve, search, and deliver content related to organizational processes in the most efficient way possible. ECM encompasses document management, web content management, document imaging, records management, and digital asset management, and is closely aligned with collaboration and business process management.

    With modern cloud-based solutions, companies are using ECM tools to communicate and collaborate more easily. They are able to quickly share information and more easily locate documents and content because all the data is in a central location.

    The most popular content management tools include Alfresco One, DocPoint Document Management, Dokmee, M-Files, and Office 365, among others.


  • Web Conferencing Tools

    Modern web conferencing tools can help enterprises not only communicate with their collaborators, but also do things like record a meeting, share a screen in real time, and control a desktop remotely. These tools are used in enterprises to hold meetings, facilitate group collaborations, and enable screen sharing. They are easy to use; provide seamless integration with existing applications such as email, calendar, and office productivity applications; and enable collaborators to join in. These kinds of tools come in handy for things like webinars, trainings, projects, technical support, or just to have a group chat for fun.

    Common web conferencing tools include ClickMeeting, ReadyTalk, WebEx, GoToMeeting, and others.

  • Project Management Tools

    Project management software enables enterprises to efficiently track finances, resources, and tasks. Ideal project management software tools also help clarify priorities, enable all team members to be accountable, and facilitate seamless collaboration. They also help meet a variety of project management needs, from multi-project scheduling and task management to time tracking and advanced analytics. Strong reporting tools are also included in some advanced project management software packages, enabling better analytics and control.

    Modern project management tools are also equipped with functions such as strong email integration for fast and simple access and mobile apps to help users stay connected even when they're not in the office.

    Some of the best-known project management software tools in the industry include Microsoft Project Pro for Office 365, Clarizen, EPM Live, Celoxis, and others.

  • Innovation Management Tools

    Innovation is one of the key drivers for growth and productivity in business today. Enterprises that have adopted innovation-management strategies have seen a marked difference in terms of efficiency and operational performance. Innovation management software tools enable enterprises to capture ideas, vote on those ideas, collaborate on them in a social setting, and identify the best ideas to work on. Enterprises can even transform towards better workplace cultures through interactive knowledge management tools that help capture new product and service ideas from employees. These tools also enable enterprises to run engaging idea campaigns, build communities around strategic innovation goals and challenges, and evaluate the impact of the most promising concepts.

    The most popular innovation management tools include Brightidea, Hype Innovation, IdeaScale, and others.

  • Enterprise Social Software

    Enterprise social software (ESS) is one way to help employees share information and work more quickly and efficiently with a common goal to increase productivity.

    The global ESS market is estimated to grow from $4.77 billion in 2014 to $8.14 billion by 2019, representing a compound annual growth rate of 11.3% in this period. According to market research, "the ESS market redefines the traditional collaboration suite by bringing in a social angle to it. These solutions are not just confined to traditional email and online meetings but also extend their offerings to social networking functionality such as micro-blogging, wikis, profiles, tagging, and feeds."

    Modern social software offerings offer:

    Collaboration -- Allows employees to share and distribute information with others, including documents, email, IM, online meetings, videoconferencing, webinars, screen sharing, and more.

    Content sharing -- Documents, video, and images can all be shared through the social network.

    Communication -- Enables sharing of search engines, bookmarking, news feeds, profiles, commenting, photo-sharing, favorites, and ratings.

    Yammer, SocialEngine, Dolphin, and eXo Platform are some of the social software tools that can help employees collaborate across departments, locations, and business applications.