Enterprise App Awards: CRN's Five Best Apps

The Best Of The Best

The enterprise is ripe with devices. By 2017, nearly two-thirds of enterprises in the U.S. will have adopted a mobile device management strategy. That's according to Gartner, which late last year said it expects companies to have added at least two mobile operating systems to their support responsibilities by then. It's clear -- small devices and the apps they run boost worker productivity.

And it's the apps we're interested in here. Each year CRN recognizes outstanding achievement in development of mobile apps for business with the Enterprise App Awards. Early this summer, app developers were invited to submit their latest and greatest applications for evaluation by CRN editors. Selections were based on functionality, suitability to task, ease of use and innovation, as well as the potential value to solution providers, their customers and the market in general. This year, editors narrowed the scores of submissions down to five. CRN awards Appys in the categories of communication, administration, information access and management, contact management and productivity.


App: Biba
Maker: Biba Systems
Platforms: Android, iOS
Cost: Free

Organizing co-workers can be like herding cats; each goes in a different direction based on their own priorities. This year's winner for communication is Biba from Biba Systems, a venture-funded startup that emerged from stealth in June. Its app for Android and iOS puts a leash on mobile conference calls by eliminating the dial-in numbers, pass codes, email addresses, availabilities, responses, and other bits of data. Rather than sending a dial-in number and waiting for people to call, the service first reminds, then calls participants until everyone is present. Meetings can be launched from Outlook, Google Calendar and others, and participants are culled from the organizer's contact list. Attendance is tracked; dropped calls are automatically reconnected; noisy calls can be muted. Participants who haven't registered with the service receive a toll-free dial-in and passcode. It supports one-on-one and group chats, and also works on desktops and laptops.


App: Worx Home
Maker: Citrix Systems
Platforms: Android, iOS
Cost: Free (requires XenMobile MDM)

Citrix in February launched the Citrix XenMobile MDM platform and followed up in July with Worx Home, providing a secure way to deploy productivity apps to Android and iOS mobile devices without putting corporate data or communications at risk. Enterprise admins set up an app store from which approved apps can be downloaded through the Citrix Worx Home app. Numerous apps are available to date, including those for web browsing, instant messaging, file sharing and syncing, as well as GoToMyPC and GoToMeeting. Also included is WorxMail, a native app for Android and iOS that brings email, contact management and a calendar that shows co-worker availabilities. Admins control how (and whether) apps communicate with each other, the corporate back end and the Internet through policies and provisioning rules. There's also ActiveSync and Exchange support, an SDK for building custom solutions and a mechanism for linking to live support.

Information Access/Management

App: HP Flow CM
Maker: Hewlett-Packard
Platforms: Android, iOS
Cost: Free (Flow CM subscription starts at $20 per month)

The more the enterprise relies on mobile devices, the greater the dispersal of documents will be. With a platform to bring it all together is this year's winner in the information access and management category. HP Flow CM from Hewlett-Packard is a cloud-based document management system that lets organizations centrally and securely store, tag, search and retrieve text, image and sound documents, which are created or captured by Android or Apple smartphones or tablets for access offline or from anywhere with an Internet connection. The system includes automatic OCR and cropping facilities, as well as image enhancement and resizing. More than 1,000 file formats are supported, and documents can be shared via simple URL with colleagues inside or outside the organization for free. They can be edited and used in collaborative sessions with document versions and changes retained. The iOS version supports AirPrint.

Contact Management

App: Introhive
Maker: Introhive
Platforms: Android, BlackBerry 10, iOS
Cost: $10 (requires Introhive corporate account)

It's one thing to provide the sales team with tools for contact management. It's another to leverage contacts for business intelligence. This year's contact management winner does both. Introhive is a simple app for major mobile platforms that analyzes the contacts in a mobile device in relation to their appearances in mail, calendar, phone and other apps to determine which are most active and valuable. After cleansing contact data and removing duplication, Introhive evaluates the importance of contacts—factoring in their company names and titles along with the frequency and variety of communications—to provide a ranked prospecting list. The tool also can send alerts when new or overlapping connections are forged by colleagues, when a contact receives a title change or promotion, or when it's time to call a meeting with everyone on your team with contacts at a particular account. Introhive integrates with CRM and collaboration tools, including Chatter.


App: Quip
Maker: Quip
Platforms: Android, iOS
Cost: $12

This year's winner for productivity is Quip, a word processor that's a lot like the one in Google Docs but without getting glitchy when there's no Internet connection. Quip started out as a browser app, and now runs natively on Android and iOS, taking on the native interface of its host. It's a collaborative environment that merges documents and messages together into a single update thread that's easy to understand and navigate. Anyone can see and edit shared documents in realtime regardless of device or platform. If a connection is lost, changes made on that device are synchronized as soon as the connection is restored, and there's no interruption in program functionality. Documents can contain spreadsheets, graphs, checklists and other objects, as well as live links to other documents. All objects and linked documents are editable by all collaborators at the same time. Quip employs a simple, elegant design that its makers say "helps you focus on writing, not ribbons."