Lately I've received several requests for my most current Enterprise 2.0 toolkit. I've hesitated writing it down because it really does seem to change from month to month. But now I'm thinking that having a placeholder for future posts is a good idea. So I'll try to revisit this every quarter or so, to see what tools endure and which are just flashes in the pan. The applications listed here are my core, I use them several times a day.
Gmail - I know some people fear Google and their penchant for searching our information. But there is only one email tool ever created that comes even remotely close to the utility of Gmail - and that is Evolution. But Evolution is Linux only and not on-line. Always having your email available via your phone or other device and having it totally searchable is reason enough for me to consider Gmail unparalleled.
Google Docs - Google Docs is pure magic. More than any other tool, it has hands down, increased my productivity, my ability to collaborate, and my overall satisfaction with life in general. Does it have some major limitations? Absolutely. Does it format documents as if it is intoxicated? Sure does. But does it allow me and 16 other people globally collaborate on and edit a document in real-time seamlessly? Yes. Does it care if people are in Kenya on a netbook or that they don't have the most recent version of the latest software installed? No.
Zen - Our Personal Kanban has been given life by Zen. Zen is an online Kanban tool that gives us the ability to visualize our backlog, our workflow, and our work styles - greatly increasing our productivity, effectiveness, and (again) satisfaction. With a functional yet elegant interface, Zen lets my entire team know who is doing what, when they are doing it, and what problems they are having. We can help each other get past sticky points, we prioritize better, and we now understand our business better.
CoTweet - Robert Frost sort of once penned: I doubt that I shall ever meet, an app as lovely as CoTweet. Why? Because there is no wasted effort in CoTweet. It allows me and my colleagues to manage Twitter accounts together. It allows us to build permanent searches. It allows us to annotate who certain people are, why they are important, and how we can best engage them. In short, CoTweet squeezes the noise (the cacophony) of Twitter until just the signal remains.
Facebook - There is no escaping the fact that Facebook has become a major information conduit. In a hyper connected world, one has little choice but to participate in Facebook - it's the 800 pound social media site. But what I've come to appreciate most about Facebook is that it has humanized the world of business. Perhaps unexpectedly, virtually gathering our business contacts, friends and family in one place shows - rather than tells - business contacts that there are real human beings behind that corporate logo. Perhaps now we can get rid of that awful notion that "Business is Business," that our lives should be bifurcated between work and play. For as messy as Facebook's interface can become with live feeds of Mafia War updates and Farmville announcements, it has given us all insight into what really makes each of us tick.
Flickr - I write lots of blog posts, educational materials, white papers. Like A LOT of them. And they all require pictures. With an advanced search function that lets me select Creative Commons licensed images, Flickr is a godsend to me. I credit the original author and include a links back to them. I also share many images with the Flickr community. Not nearly the quality as what I use in documents - but Flickr is unique in its focus and its reach. Every organization should be using Flickr for its images.
Dropbox - Google Docs is excellent for first drafts or collaborative projects, but Tonianne and I still need to share a wide variety of other digital files. We use Dropbox to share files like PDFs, Adobe Illustrator, or print-ready Doc files that are formatted beyond Google's capabilities. With dropbox, we simply create shared folders that allow my PC and Tonianne's Mac to enjoy seamless, web accessible file sharing.
Zoho CRM - To be honest, I've fallen off the Zoho CRM wagon but I still maintain it is the best CRM I've found to date. It is not overweighted, it is customizable, and quite easy to use. I know that as Personal Kanban grows, I'll be returning to Zoho to manage our customers.
Things I Am Missing or Seldom Use
Feedreader - I have been using Twitter as my defacto aggregator, but it is proving to be less than optimal. There's a huge difference between tracking blogs and letting your network recommend posts to you. Over the next quarter I plan to find a more robust and appropriate feedreader, and get back into it.
Tagging Engine - While I have tried many, I still use Delicious more than any other social bookmarking site. I've yet to find one with its simplicity and utility.
Photo by bre pettis