Thursday, October 6, 2011

Expert John Garrett: Top 10 Business Apps for the iPad

Guest Contributor – John Garrett, CEO, Facilities Management Advisors LLC

The iPad is widely believed to be one of the greatest innovations in technology we have seen over the course of the past two decades.

Obviously, the concept of a tablet had hit the marketplace well in advance of Apple’s 1st generation iPad, yet failed to gain any traction or otherwise create much interest with the consumer.

On the other hand, Apple’s first-generation iPad and all associated products have, I believe, turned the industry upside down, dramatically affecting the manner in which both businesses and users approach technology and the basic use of either a desktop and/or laptop computer.

Interestingly, it was just a few years ago whereby observing someone in an airport, at a restaurant, or in the board room, utilizing an iPad was somewhat of a novelty. Today, they are as commonly seen as perhaps the corner Wal-Mart or Target!

For many, including myself, the iPad often replaces the need to use a desktop, laptop, or notebook computer. The iPad is very light, compact, travels very well, and it’s overall functionality unparalleled by any standard.

Whether just using it for such things as basic e-mail management, games, or web surfing, or utilizing the device for more technical purposes such as document editing/design, development AND delivery of presentations, working with spreadsheets, etc., the iPad’s usefulness is relatively endless – it can do everything short of making you dinner, however I can only assume that eventually there will be an app for that too!

I utilize my iPad for virtually everything and more specifically have found it an invaluable tool that allows me to more effectively and efficiently manage all or most business tasks. I commonly research top trends, latest developments and innovations, and reviews of the top applications available to the market.

Just as important, a user’s personal experience with a particular application can often be the best possible endorsement. Far too often we find ourselves wasting both time and money on applications that are at best marginally effective, and/or, don’t deliver the basic functions and features advertised.

For this reason, I have noted what I perceive to be the Top 10 Business Applications available on the iPad below – it is my hope that you find this information helpful, and hopefully the applications useful to your business.

iAnnotate PDF: This app is a top-rated and customizable PDF manager with world-class functions for annotating, organizing, reading, and sending PDF files. Pick and choose tool bars, which allow you the freedom to select the tools that you need – insert comments, highlights, recorded audio links, and a variety of other options. You can personally sign any file with either your finger or preferably stylus on-the-fly.

Penultimate: This app is a best-selling and I believe must have handwriting app for the iPad. Eliminate the need for carrying paper notebooks, while supporting sustainability and the environment. Multiple selections for both pen and paper style; very functional interface for taking notes and keeping sketches, etc., whether at home or on-the-go. Notes taken are stored within an easy to manage library; e-mail individual pages or entire notebooks as a PDF file.

iWorks Suite: The platform includes Pages, Keynote, and Numbers, although you must purchase each app separately. Pages is for word processing, Numbers is for charts and graphs, and Keynote is for presentations.

Each integrates and works effectively within standard Office programs including Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Documents can be both created and edited continuously in one program and shared painlessly with the other and vice versa. A must-have for anyone that routinely works within Office while wanting to be able to effortlessly continue to work on projects on the road and/or through the iPad.

iXpenselt: This app is an outstanding expense management and overall budgeting tool for both business and personal use. Simplifies the budgeting process and in fact makes it enjoyable. Easily create detailed expense reports by month, year, Venor, etc., through both a CSV and/or beautiful PDF interface, which includes expense related metrics.

Presentation Link: One of the most frequent frustrations communicated by iPad users who frequently conduct presentations has revolved around the difficulty of utilizing the iPad for this important purpose. It would seem that we have an application that has effectively addressed this challenge.

This application allows one to create and show interactive presentations on the iPad: import existing presentations as a PDF or images, integrate videos, set hyperlinks, re-order slides, and a variety of other unique features. Whether conducting your presentation virtually, or connecting through use of VGA and HDMI output to present via an external screen or projector, I have found this application incredibly useful.

Dropbox: Dropbox is an excellent backup app that automatically syncs files across multiple computers, and offers you remote file access and sharing. It also doubles as a PDF- and document-reader.

Have you ever been in a position either at an airport or just after boarding an airplane whereby you’re suddenly in a position to send a very large file to an existing or potential client? This application will allow you to easily send a down loadable link to your file within seconds. For the “road warrior”, this alone would make this application a must-have.

Air Display: This app provides the user a second monitor which contributes to overall productivity, as you can keep Outlook, Twitter reader, or other potentially distracting work element on a second screen. Air Display turns your iPad into a wireless second LCD monitor for your iMac or MacBook.

This application makes your laptop or notebook more useful in that it extends the size of your screen, allows you to wirelessly drag files back and forth between both devices, and allows you to fill the second screen with such things as utility apps like iChat, Mail, iCal, etc.

Dragon Dictation: This app is easy to use voice recognition application that allows you to instantly speak your text either for transfer into written documents, e-mail messages, text messages, etc. Dragon dictation is considered up to 5 times faster than typing on a keyboard. The application does take getting used to but once you have mastered “the basics” you will see an increase in productivity and overall ease-of-use.

JotNot Fax: This app turns your iPad into a portable fax machine. You can use the application to send PDF files to any US or Canadian fax number from anywhere. customize your cover page, track delivery, and send clear facts is while on the go in a matter of seconds.

AppAdvice: Although not an app specifically designed for business functions, I have personally found this application incredibly useful. Take the guesswork out of downloading either free and/or paid applications – AppAdvice evaluates all known applications by category and function, and recommends only the very best applications based upon effectiveness, functionality, and overall value.

Why waste time researching apps when you can more than cut that time investment in half while ensuring a greater return on investment through the use of this application?

There are quite a few additional applications that could be listed for both business and personal use, however I have found that the aforementioned applications have proven to be of considerable value, enjoyable to use, and allow me to be much more productive in all areas of my business.


John Garrett is a Senior Executive with 18 years Business Development, Operations Management, Customer Relationship Management, Business Strategy & Management Consulting, Sales and Marketing experience within the Facilities Management & Corporate Real Estate Industry.

Garrett has led growth efforts with clients that included some of the most recognized Fortune 500 organizations in the world across multiple market segments. He led operational assessments and growth initiatives that involved in excess of 400 Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF) throughout the Americas.

Garrett's company, Facilities Management Advisors LLC, is a certified Women/Minority Business Enterprise (W/MBE) providing consultative services to both large and small businesses across a variety of market segments. For more information call 888-656-0740 or visit Facilities Management Advisors.

Follow Brenda Krueger Huffman on Twitter and on Facebook.


  1. This is a great list of Apps to consider. Always looking for solid recommendations. Thanks.

  2. Heya¡­my very first comment on your site. ,I have been reading your blog for a while and thought I would completely pop in and drop a friendly note. . It is great

    stuff indeed. I also wanted to there a way to subscribe to your site via email?

    Expenses Management Application