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Research: Business Process Outsourcing

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Strategy: 18 Mobile Productivity Apps

Research: Business Process Outsourcing

Talking to the Machines

It's still early days in mobile apps, and the driving idea behind our Quarterly Review of Business Apps series is to convey a sense of the scope and variety of interesting, useful and economically advantageous activities that business users and IT pros can accomplish using smartphones and tablets.

That's why, instead of installing random apps and pressing buttons, we put a call out on the wires soliciting pitches for the best enterprise-oriented apps. We weren't at a loss for applicants: For this first edition, we sorted through about 50 pitches and scheduled about 20 interviews to narrow the field.

To impose order, we developed six general categories; these are the continents, so to speak, on the map of the app world:

1. IT management: Apps that allow IT professionals to work remotely more effectively by gathering information about users, devices and traffic on the network.

2. Portability: For the most part, these are enterprise alternatives to Dropbox that offer some combination of increased security, live links to enterprise data and enhanced governance.

3. Workflow: Frameworks and technologies that provide a custom front-end interface for enterprise data that enables workflow enhancements.

4. Convenience: A broad category that encompasses apps that take advantage of mobility to make things easier for mobile workers.

5. Communications: Connecting employees and partners through social networks for business, enhanced by VoIP calls, video calls and conferencing; to be covered in a future issue.

6. Mobile device management: Technology that sits between the mobile OS and the app layer to enforce corporate policies around smartphone and tablet usage; to be covered in a future issue.

Some apps might reasonably belong to more than one of these categories, and we’ll indicate those as they appear. We’ve also awarded "QRBA Picks" designations denoting Quarterly Review of Business Apps' most interesting entry in each category. (S5530812)

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