30 Fantastic Online Business Apps

The cloud is now at the forefront of business computing, and the rise of the SaaS model is driving down the cost of business software. Gone are the days when companies used bulky proprietary software to handle their business. Online business apps are generally easier to set up and they store your data remotely, so can be accessed from anywhere. There are now online business apps for all areas of company management, including CRM, accounting, project management, and help desk.

The great thing about cloud apps is that they are tailor-made to cater businesses of any size, and can be scaled very easily. Some of the applications listed below feature freemium subscription model, so you only pay for the features you end up using.

We have curated some of the best online business apps out there and grouped them under relevant sub categories. Find out how these cloud applications can help boost your business!

[Update] This post was originally published on February 24th 2011, under the title “40 Fantastic Self-Hosted Business Apps”. It was updated on October 16th 2015 to highlight the changing face of business computing, where we updated the list.

CRM

Insightly

Insightly is a cloud-based service that dares to think beyond CRM. Insightly blends together CRM, project management and collaboration into a single comprehensive solution. We would recommend Insightly for smaller businesses that lack the IT support to run traditional solutions and don’t need the slew of features offered by services like Salesforce.

Pricing – Free for up-to two users. Paid packages starting at $12 per user per month

Trial Availability– Yes

Insightly

Insightly

Salesforce Cloud

Salesforce Cloud is one of the most well known CRM applications and is tailor-made to suit both small and large businesses. Salesforce Cloud isn’t the cheapest solution, but for the quality product and the prompt support services it offers a good value for money proposition. The Salesforce console boasts a highly customizable dashboard-like interface which makes it easier to update, find and create new records.

Pricing: From $25 per user per month

Trial Availability: Yes

Salesforce_Dashboard

Salesforce Sales Cloud

Infusionsoft

Infusionsoft is another solution that targets small businesses, offering customizable online sales and marketing solutions. It boasts intuitive lead generation tools, email and social media tools, which will eventually help businesses attract leads, tidy up the sales channel, and help in deal making. Infusionsoft also offers one-on-one, personalized coaching services to help users start up.

Pricing: From $199/month

Trial Availability: Yes

Infusionsoft_dashboard

Infusionsoft

Pipedrive

Pipedrive is a sales management tool which is most suited for small and medium businesses. It has a simplistic touch to it yet it doesn’t fail to deliver what it promises to. The product facilitates an easy and efficient sales pipeline management, letting you focus on the other important aspects of the deal. The best part is that it is flawlessly integrates with Google Calendar, Google Contacts and other Google apps and can be used on computer and smartphones.

Pricing– From $12 per month

Trial Availability– Yes

pipedrive

Pipedrive

SalesforceIQ

SalesforceIQ is a CRM app that will help you seamlessly integrate email inboxes and interactions with customers, thus helping you analyze and improve your relations with them. It aggregates everyone’s contact info including the data from LinkedIn and Twitter, thus equipping you with a freshly updated address book.

Pricing: From $25 per month

Trial Availability: Yes

relateliq

SalesforceIQ

Finance & Accounting

FreshBooks

Accounting software and services have been maintaining the same old traditional approach for long, in spite of reducing the computing efforts and manual work on the human end it still confuses operator with complex accounting terminologies. Freshbooks has solved this problem by a large extent by introducing a simpler and much intuitive UI which can be understood by non-accountants, with relative ease. FreshBooks not only helps in raising and distributing invoices but it also keeps a track of time, expenses and reports. The best part is the fact that FreshBooks is integrated seamlessly with payment options like PayPal and Stripe.

Pricing: From $9.95 per month

Trial Availability: Yes

freshbooks

FreshBooks

Zoho Books

Zoho Books is primarily a cloud-based app that offers all the tools needed to accept payments, track time, manage expenses, and create invoices. The app works well with the other apps in the Zoho ecosystem and has one of the best mobile integrations. If you are constantly on the move Zoho Books can be your perfect accounting companion.

Pricing: $9/month onwards

Trial Availability– Yes

zoho_books

Zoho Books

FinancialForce Accounting

FinancialForce is aimed at Salesforce Enterprise Edition users and it creates a comprehensive end-to-end solution by extending the CRM and any custom objects and applications built for services/manufacturing/operations. FinancialForce is the only accounting system that has been completely based on native Salesforce platform and it is one of the best services out there that can support multi currency functionality and handle multi-companies.

Pricing: On request

Trial Availability: Yes

financialforce_dashboard

FinancialForce

Xero

Xero has been tailor-made for small businesses and their bookkeeping requirements. The app is primarily online and it caters to the requirements of the small businesses across different industries. The software offers collaboration features, which help business owners and their clients to work on their financial activities.

Pricing: From $9 per month

Trial Availability: Yes

xero_dashboard

Xero

Intacct

Intacct is one of the few cloud-based accounting apps which helps you automate processes, reduce cycle times and conduct your financial close with more efficiency, without disturbing compliance and the level of transparency. The fact that Intacct offers a modular pricing subscription model will ensure that users pay only for what they need.

Pricing: From $425 per month

Trial Availability: Yes

intacct_dashboard

Intacct

Project Management

Wrike

Wrike is all-in-one, cloud-based project management solution that can be used by all the workers across different departments. It is surprising to see how Wrike has been structured as it is equally suitable for both individuals and freelancers. Wrike is best suited to managing large multi step projects and also individual tasks.

Pricing: From $49 per month

Trial Availability: Yes

Wrike_dashboard

Wrike

Mavenlink

Mavenlink helps you in managing all the aspects of your business, from conceptualisation of the project to the end of the project, thus proving to be a great one stop shop for all your project management needs. The platform further facilitates advanced project management, financial management, resource management, analytics, reporting and the most crucial timeline management.

Pricing: From $19 per month

Trial Availability: Yes

Mavenlink_Dashboard

Mavenlink

LiquidPlanner

If you want to manage tons of details about your project with relative ease, than LiquidPlanner is the one for you. It allows your team to focus more on analyzing the results rather than focusing on the processes themselves. The best part is the fact that LiquidPlanner doesn’t need an operator trained in the PM methodologies. It comes seamlessly integrated with mobile tools for Android and iOS.

Pricing: From $29 per month

Trial Availability: Yes

Liquid_Planner

LiquidPlanner

JIRA

JIRA is capable of working across diversified industries from software to automobile and aerospace engineering. JIRA tracks the bug activities and also helps in managing the issues efficiently. The product boasts of quite an impressive clientele, including BMW, Adobe, Cisco, LinkedIn, and SalesForce. JIRA is used globally and, as of now, it supports five languages. JIRA is best suited for software developers, editors, and IT support teams.

Pricing: From $10 per month

Trial Availability: Yes

Jira_dashboard

JIRA

LeanKit

LeanKit is a Kanban Method-based organizing tool which relies on implementing visual management. LeanKit is aimed at varied employee levels, starting from a CEO to support staff. The software has a focus on distributed teams and caters to the need of various well known businesses across Healthcare, Manufacturing, Financial Services, Telecommunications, Retail, Energy and Manufacturing Media.

Pricing: From $12 per month

Trial Availability: Yes

Leankit_dashbaord

LeanKit

Help Desk and Ticketing

Desk.com

Desk.com offers an end-to-end customer support engine that seamlessly integrates with Salesforce. It comes with an array of advanced reporting features that will help businesses to build their own solutions. The inbound requests are all displayed at a single place by combining them into a centralized location.

Pricing: From $3 per month

Trial Availability: Yes

deskcom_dashboard

Desk.com

Freshdesk

Freshdesk is a customer service solution for any small and mid-sized businesses which require a fully functional support department. Freshdesk is well suited for startups and freelancers as it offers a free plan which will cover up to three agents. Furthermore, Freshdesk also automates several processes like scrutinizing tickets and allocation of tickets.

Pricing: Freemium

Trial Availability: Yes

freshdesk_dashboard

Freshdesk

Zendesk

Zendesk is used by small, medium and large scale corporations across the globe and is one of the best help desk applications for businesses who want to improve their customer services. The Zendesk services can be used by any company who use computers for managing the business.

Pricing: From $1 per month

Trial Availability: Yes

Samanage

Samanage combines IT asset management and support software in one package. It helps small and mid-sized businesses get a handle on what software and hardware they have and, at the same time, delivers IT service tools to internal users and customers. These features include incident management, service catalogs, change and problem management, and knowledge base management.

Pricing: From $2400 per year

Trial Availability: Yes

samanage_dashboard

Samanage

LiveChat

LiveChat is a simple online chat solution that allows the service agents to talk directly with the customers, right on their websites. This will allow businesses to help customers on a real time basis and finally close on the deal. LiveChat also features a well built Analytics and Reporting dashboard which covers the daily activity of each agents and also displays their efficiency in each individual cases.

Pricing: $16 per year

Trial Availability: Yes

Livechat_dashboard

LiveChat

SalesForce Marketing Cloud

SalesForce Marketing Cloud (which was previously known as ExactTarget) is the digital marketing segment of the Salesforce product lineup. It is one of the few applications which neatly integrates a messaging service for the customers so that they can be guided for each and every incremental step. Salesforce Marketing Cloud boasts features such as drag and drop segmentation, CRM and cross-channel integration, pre-built templates and themes, and deliverability tools.

Pricing: From $400 per month

Trial Availability: Yes

salesforce_marketing_dashboard

Salesforce Marketing

Campaign Monitor

Campaign Monitor is a simple-to-use email marketing tool which is used by more than million marketing professionals and comes with all features to give your business a much-needed marketing boost. Campaign Monitor offers individual customization so that the marketer can fine-tune their campaign for individual targets thus achieving a higher conversion ratio.

Pricing: From $9 per month

Trial Availability: Yes

campaignmonitor_dashboard

Campaign Monitor

Pinpointe

Pinpointe helps businesses to create, constantly measure and optimize the email campaigns and all this can be done through an intuitive interface. Pinpointe will take the load off a business by using its own cloud servers. The software offers Behavioral Targeting, which allows businesses to select recipients based on their past behavioral pattern.

Pricing: From $42 per month

Trial Availability: Yes

pinpointe_dashboard

Pinpointe

Zoho Campaigns

Zoho Campaigns is an advanced marketing tool that not only helps you to reach the right audience but also helps you to evaluate the best design of content based on the automated A/B tests. Zoho Campaigns has a very well built campaigning architecture which tracks what happens after the campaign is initiated, which help businesses to understand their customers better.

Pricing: From $5 per month

Trial Availability: Yes

zoho_campaigns_dashboard

Zoho Campaigns

Pardot

Pardot is perfect for mid-sized organizations who want to automate marketing and focus on capturing business-to-business (B2B) sales. The Pardot suite offers different products such as batch email marketing, automated drip marketing, real times sales alert and lead management.

Pricing: From $1000 per month

Trial Availability: Yes

pardot_dashboard

Pardot

HR

BambooHR

Bamboo HR is designed to offer a great level of simplicity and user-friendliness so that employees and HR both can use it. The software is best suited for 50-1,000 employees but the numbers can be scaled up considerably without limiting the functionalities. The app also offers a greater degree of control for the HR to restrict/allow the information employees can access and update.

Pricing: From $99 per month

Trial Availability: Yes

bamboohr_dashboard

BambooHR

Workable

Workable is not the usual do-it-all HR management software, instead it is a hiring software which brings about a great deal of efficiency in the hiring process. Workable offers features like Hiring Tracking Workflow, Social Media Recruitment, Unlimited Collaborators, and includes seamless integration with Gmail.

Pricing: From $19 per month

Trial Availability: Yes

workable_dashboard

Workable

Zoho Recruit

Zoho Recruit is best suited for Freelancers, Mid-Size Business, Non Profits, Small Business and Public Administrations. The Software is equipped with a comprehensive Applicant Tracking System (ATS) which facilitates automated job board posting, resume parsing, creating customized company careers pages, resume storage and interview scheduling. 

Pricing: From $5 per month

Trial Availability: Yes

zoho_recruit_dashboard

Zoho Recruit

FinancialForce HCM

FinancialForce HCM is built for mid-market organization but it is scalable to the enterprise level. The software is not just meant for day-to-day HR purposes but also goes beyond it and helps in recruitment, reducing paperwork, performance management, time and expense tracking, employee development, and compensation planning.

Pricing: On request

Trial Availability: Yes

financial_force_hcm

FinancialForce HCM

TribeHR

TribeHR is tailor-made for managing workforce requests and requirements. The software can be used to efficiently used to track employee documents, vacation requests, and the total tally of the leaves – thus leaving no room for discrepancies. TribeHR also comes with a employee reward system which will allow employees to earn brownie points/rewards for their achievements.

Pricing: From $5 per month

Trial Availability: Yes

tribe_hr

TribeHR

For more information on the top online apps for business, visit GetApp, which will help with your buying decision.


Responses

Add Yours
  • For self-hosted webmail, AtMail is one of my favorites. Its Pro version (starting at $400 for 25 users) is one of the most polished online email experiences I’ve seen outside of MobileMe, and its email server even supports Exchange-compatible push mail for mobile devices. Then, the free opensource version is both versatile and fairly full-featured for a free self-hosted email offering. Check http://atmail.org/ or http://atmail.com/ for more info about the free or pro versions, respectively.

    • I should mention, I’ve only used the demo version of Atmail pro, but I used the free Atmail.org version for several months and it worked quite good … much better than SquirrelMail for me! :)

      • Atmail Open seems to be dead project (more than two years since last update). Looks like they now focus only on their commercial offering while AfterLogic keeps making updates for their free version.

        And no POP3 support in Atmail (the same problem with RoundCube with SquirellMail). IMAP is great, no doubt, but many mail servers still offer POP3 access only.

      • I prefer Roundcube for Linux or MailEnable for Windows. Atmail is runner-up to those two.

  • Great and very useful list. Thanks.

  • Suggestion for Time Tracking and Invoicing:

    http://www.cronsync.com

    cronsync – web based time tracking and invoicing?

    We have launched cronsync this year. I look forward to your feedback!

    Best, Jakob

  • What about http://www.Zoho.com tools?

    • I think , Zoho can’t Self-Hosted. It’s SAAS.

      • have you used Zoho?
        dozens of packages ad a CRM that – if 100 users would be on it would give me 10000s of headaches and I’d still need to pay thousands of dollars for that, every month … gimme a break. That’s why this folk is on the net flocking their kids-experiments, cause with a company in the real world they wouldn’t get a job.

  • Throughout the article the word “know” is written as “k Now”.

    Feng Office is a great tool!

  • What about TeamLab?http://www.teamlab.com
    It is an open source (listed on Sourceforge) platform for collaboration and project management.

    • It’s Open Source, unfortunately it is a Windows app so it cannot be run on a fully open source stack (it might be a showstopper for some, or an advantage for others)

    • Olga, be decent and stop promoting your company’s product ON EVERY WEBSITE! You guys at TeamLab do not even have a Gantt chart, and the project management functionality is rediculous.

  • Ganttic Resource planning software can be hosted in your own servers too.

  • Veolay is also a great self-hosted Light CMS for web designers.

  • How about http://collabtive.o-dyn.de/ for project management ? It look like basecamp.

    • I use collabitive as well and it’s pretty cool

      • I prefer roundcube. Simple clean.

  • Isn’t that Collabtive in the Redmine screenshot? Or is it just a similar looking theme?

    • Yes, I think like that. The screenshot is Collabtive. Redmine and Collabtive are not similar.

  • Anyone know a good alternative to orderwave?

  • For issue tracking I’d also recommend Mantis Bug Tracker, I’ve been using it since 2005 and have managed over 13,000 issues. It’s been amazingly reliable and is super scalable.

    http://www.mantisbt.org/

    I also use Zimbra (a hosted version) but there is a free trial of the Network Edition and a free version of the Open Source edition. Their community support is quite active and the forums/wiki have tons of useful information.

    http://www.zimbra.com/downloads/
    http://www.zimbra.com/forums/
    http://wiki.zimbra.com/

  • Hi Justin,
    Thanks for including ERPNext.com

    Just to clarify, we are opensource (http://www.wnframework.org) and our SaaS offering is only USD7/user/month.

    Our vision is to power millions of small and mid sized businesses with a good quality, affordable software to manage and grow their business.

    • Well, for a start, if you claim you are open source, don’t say
      “start your rep now”… and just beneath you say…
      Only $7 per user per month

      What is it that you want us to believe? Does the public need to educate all these folks on the net trying to “talk”. But I guess you are still better than so many others which try to lure the public with mouths full of shaggy marketing techniques to surrender their email addresses so they can bother the public with their slimy sales pitches while legally claiming, well, “you asked for!”

      I am really tired of all this either free and “over-priceced” malfunctioning CRM, ERP… out there…

      Gosh, can some “Harvard” einstein come up with something that just works, makes sense and yes, can be self-hosted cause I don’t give my business to all those losers out there pretending they have a great software!

  • I’m still finalising my own choices, but two I came across not mentioned here that seem worthwhile – CiviCRM (aimed at non-profits, but potentially of use in other sectors) and Alfresco (heavy enterprise hitter with free Community edition).

    • As a long time evaluator of Open Source edition of Alfresco I’d have to say that, despite it being probably the most feature complete and best quality Document Management app of all opensource ones (and it kicks Microsoft SharePoint’s ass in some areas easily), their community edition is pretty rough ride and unstable most of the time, despite being even more feature-complete than Enterprise Edition. Also it’s pretty intense in system requirements department so you can forget running it on your 512MB VM.. think 2G for getting any decent performance out of it.

  • This is clearly an excellent list that really highlights the professional business software currently being released as Open Source for free. In particular, we would highly recommend Zimbra Server which currently does seem to be leader in communications suite with many people choosing this over both MS Exchance and Google Apps.

  • Thanks for taking the time to compile this list. I’m just starting and am not familiar with the self-hosted options. It’s great to see well made lists giving me a launching point in my hunt for the perfect software for me.

    Kudos!

  • Thanks very much for this list, several projects I hadn’t heard of that I’m looking into now. I’ll probably come back to add my comments about what I found easy to deploy on my own.

  • OK so has anyone found a great crm and project management platform that can be used as self hosted? Still trying to find one…

  • Does anyone know a CRM that works – And – makes sense?

    • vTiger CRM – impressive fuctionality and 100% free

  • Any suggestion on a “decent” and “functioning” PAID invoicing software that a firm can host on their own server?

    Tired to read through all the rubbish and nonproductive voluntary free “kids” on all these open source forums and then get told … “what do you expect, it’s FREE”? Not interested in free time wasters, we rather pay … if someone can produce something that is worth the money!

    All this free stuff is just full of bugs and a wasted attempt from all those losers out there not being able to get a job otherwise!

  • This is a really great list, thank you. I have never heard of some of these and will start to test a few out today. Another one I stumbled on while googleing today was http://www.vtiger.com

    • We’ve tried vTiger several times–it does seem like it should work–but it’s just too kludgy. For a CRM, we really want to be able to capture everything about a prospect and about clients, but this isn’t easy for the average admin.

  • Trac is an enhanced wiki and issue tracking system for software development projects. Trac uses a minimalistic approach to web-based software project management. Our mission is to help developers write great software while staying out of the way. Trac should impose as little as possible on a team’s established development process and policies.

    It provides an interface to ​Subversion (or other version control systems), an integrated Wiki and convenient reporting facilities.

    Trac allows wiki markup in issue descriptions and commit messages, creating links and seamless references between bugs, tasks, changesets, files and wiki pages. A timeline shows all current and past project events in order, making the acquisition of an overview of the project and tracking progress very easy. The roadmap shows the road ahead, listing the upcoming milestones.

  • a time will come there the desktop GUI building softwares no longer needed. browser will be enough for all

  • Eudora Internet Mail Server is one of the popular Internet mail servers for Macintosh.

  • Two I predominantly use are SugarCRM (which you mentioned) and ScreenConnect (http://www.screenconnect.com/). ScreenConnect is a remote support/remote access application- that compares to something like LogMeIn or Citrix’s GoTo platform which are Saas based. Thanks for this review as I am always looking for ways to save my company money. I am going to look into some of these suggestions. Thanks!

  • It’s Not always a comfortable decision to let someone else hold on to your business data.

  • 2 great apps are worth to include in the list:
    – activeCollab – Project Management, Time Tracking, Invoicing, billing, etc
    – UseResponse – Gather customer feedback, provide support, online chat, surveys

  • Stas, have you had any experience with adding additional payment gateways to ActiveCollab? (In addition to build in PayPal andAuthorize.net)?

  • I think Comindware task management software should be mentioned too, as a tool for project managers work and issue tracking. http://www.comindware.com/

  • Thank you!

  • Just to say thanks for this list. There’s plenty for me to take a look at.

  • What about Replicon time clock? which comes under time tracking division and its a self hosted hassle free app too.

  • Bugzilla forever.

  • Is OpenERP not opensource?

  • For self-hosted invoicing, I tried all of them but came to a conclusion that Siwapp.org was best suited for my needs. I mainly do invoicing as a freelancer (small business) and the elegant design of Siwapp and it’s customization is more than enough.

    If you need help installing Siwapp, shoot me an email !
    Perhaps I can even do it for you…

  • How about Replicon employee time tracking software? which is a cloud based time tracking software.

  • Thanks a lot fro the list. I will compile some of these tools in our software directory.Thanks again

  • How about a self-hosted aweber/mailchimp clone. Equally good for managing own newsletters and campaigns. Self-hosted and completely web based.

  • Love “SquirrelMail”.

  • crap