59207 The 5 Best Apps for Business Nathan Clevenger iPhone Life 1528-5456 2010-09-23 NovDec2010_BuyersGuide 2 5 24 Apps Business

Apple has achieved 80 percent penetration of the FORTUNE 100 and has demonstrated that the iPhone can provide powerful capabilities to business. And as the iPad continues to gain momentum in the marketplace, it is being embraced faster and even more openly than the iPhone has been.

This collection of the best five business solutions highlights the apps that have demonstrated a strong capability to extend business information, data, and systems to information workers wherever they might be. As small businesses and larger enterprises continue to embrace the iOS platform, this application segment will continue its explosive growth and deliver even more powerful solutions to the mobile worker.

5 Keynote (iPad)

$9.99, iPad only, app2.me/2481

imageEven though Keynote is more of a productivity app than business app, it is popular with road warriors everywhere, allowing them to create, view, import, and make presentations on the go. Keynote turns the iPad into an incredibly elegant presentation tool that can be connected to a projector or simply display a series of slides on the iPad itself. With instant-on, Keynote transforms the iPad into a living, breathing presentation that allows you to simply forget about the technology and get down to business.

4 Citrix Receiver (iPhone/iPad)

Free, iPhone/iPod touch version: app2.me/3024, iPad version: app2.me/3025

imageCitrix Receiver lets you access virtual desktops, applications, and data, giving you the ability to extend existing line-of-business applications to the iPhone and iPad. It's a very simple and powerful solution that works very well with applications that are easily used with a touch screen and in environments where there are fast and reliable internet connections. This makes it a very good solution for many, but not all situations. Organizations should seriously evaluate it if their solutions can leverage Citrix, especially if the organization already has an investment in Citrix infrastructure.

3 Cisco WebEx

Free, iPhone/iPod touch version: app2.me/3022, iPad version: app2.me/3023

imageWebEx has helped mobile workers bridge the distance between the conference room and remote work sites, allowing them to participate in meetings wherever they are. It transforms your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad into a mobile Web conferencing portal that lets you view shared content, chat, voice conference over VoIP, and more. It's a powerful app, but it's not perfect. We eagerly await the day that Cisco enhances this app to allow mobile users to lead meetings.

2 Salesforce Mobile

Free, (requires a salesforce.com account), iPhone/iPod touch only, app2.me/3021

imageSalesforce.com mainstreamed cloud computing for large and small businesses, and the mobile companion to the Web-based service is fairly revolutionary in its own right. The app lets you access sales information stored in your salesforce.com account and provides significant and powerful out-of-the-box functionality for accessing and editing CRM information. It also provides the ability to extend the application with your own custom data objects and functionality.

1 Roambi Visualizer

Free, iPhone/iPod touch and the iPad versions, app2.me/2428

imageBusinesses have been waiting for nearly a decade for a useful Mobile Business Intelligence solution, but it wasn't until Roambi launched Visualizer for the iPhone that a powerful, usable, and beautiful one became available. The more recent iPad version gives business executives a taste of the iPad's potential. Visualizer is a cloud-based solution that can be used by individual workers who need to visualize spreadsheets, data, and other corporate information as well as remain fully integrated into business solutions deployed by their organizations. If you want to know where your business is at wherever you are, Roambi Visualizer is the app for you.

Honorable mentions

LogMeIn Ignition ($29.99, iPhone/iPod touch and iPad versions, app2.me/2425) is one of the only remote terminal clients that supports both Mac and PC. It is an extremely simple and elegant app that turns your device into a powerful business tool.

Credit Card Terminal (iPhone/iPod touch: $0.99, app2.me/3026; iPad: $14.99, app2.me/3027) turns your iOS device into a remote credit card processing terminal to close the sale wherever you might be.

MicroStrategy Mobile (free, iPhone/iPod touch: app2.me/3028, iPad: app2.me/3029) is a mobile business intelligence tool that, while not as pretty as Roambi, is just as functional, if not more. It's a completely integrated vertical solution for those organizations that have MicroStrategy's reporting and business intelligence tools in place.

Oracle Mobile Sales Assistant (free, iPhone/iPod touch version only, app2.me/3030) provides real-time secure access to your company's sales information. Oracle's collection of iPhone applications, including the Mobile Sales Assistant, can help organizations take their investments in existing business applications to the next level.

37signals Highrise (free, iPhone/iPod touch version only, app2.me/3031) is a clean, simple, and powerful app that lets you access your Highrise contacts, notes, e-mail, etc. from wherever you are.