The 10 apps that will own the future of the enterprise

It's no secret that the enterprise app landscape is changing. Here are 10 apps that are poised to lead the future of work.
Written by Conner Forrest, Contributor
Image: iStockphoto/audioundwerbung

As the needs of the enterprise continue to shift, legacy software vendors are finding themselves competing with a host of potential upstarts. Changes in the way we get work done mean that more small solutions have an opportunity to fill a niche or meet a specific need.

This isn't to say that incumbent providers are going anywhere anytime soon, as many are building out their product offerings to meet the expanding needs of enterprise users. But as the cloud moves towards enterprise ubiquity and buzzwords like big data become canon, the list of top tools for getting work done is changing.

Here are 10 apps that are next in line for enterprise dominance.

1. Microsoft Office 365

Perhaps the best-known software vendor in the world, Microsoft made a strong move when it took its popular Office productivity suite to the cloud with Office 365. In fact, the service topped Okta's recent survey of the most popular cloud apps used at work. Of course, the ability of Office 365 to maintain dominance depends on Microsoft itself retaining its strong base of support in the enterprise.

2. Google Apps

According to its website, Google Apps for Work has more than five million businesses in its customer base. With a plethora of administrator capabilities, and a combination of both storage and collaboration tools, the future of office productivity will likely be a two-horse race between Google and Microsoft.

3. Salesforce

Stuck in the middle between the legacy systems it disrupted and the startups fighting for its crown, Salesforce continues to innovate in a way that keeps it ahead of the curve with its CRM solution. Because it was developed native for the web, Salesforce didn't have as much legacy infrastructure to contend with in pursuit of mobility and responsive design. The Salesforce1 app and new Lightning redesign show that the company understands where the enterprise is headed.

4. Box

Cloud storage headlines have always been focused on either Dropbox or Box, but it's clear that Box had the enterprise in mind from the start. Already boasting some of the world's biggest companies as customers, Box continues to embed itself in the enterprise with its strategic platform and channel partners.

5. Workday

Although it's a recent name to some, Workday has actually been around for a decade. The company built a foundation on its financial management and recruiting services, but has recently added a career development tool called Workday Learning. The company has also been expanding in Europe and Asia as of late.

6. Slack

In the race to replace email, Slack leads the charge. A young company, Slack got its start in 2013 and quickly became the messaging platform of choice for many companies with virtually no marketing effort. Earlier in 2015 the company announced it had 200,000 paid users and a valuation close to $3 billion.

7. Tableau

Tableau is one of the key leaders in the analytics and business intelligence space. Headquartered in Seattle, Tableau got going in 2003. The company posted impressive earnings and customer growth in Q2 2015. And with the explosion of big data, Tableau appears on track to continue its impressive growth.

8. Concur

At the end of 2014, SAP made a strategic move in acquiring travel and expense company Concur Technologies. Before the acquisition, the company landed on a few lists of the fastest-growing startups, and that growth seems to have been sustainable. Just last month, Concur announced it was hiring an additional 170 engineers to fuel its growth.

9. Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative suite has, since its inception, been one of the most important tools in marketing departments and creative services firms around the world. When Adobe shifted to its cloud-based model, it eliminated the frustration of paying to replace outdated software. Recent earnings point to continued adoption and growth of the company's cloud offering.

10. SugarCRM

SugarCRM, the major open-source challenger to companies like Salesforce, had 18 consecutive quarters of growth up until 2014 and saw massive growth in the Asia Pacific Japan region earlier this year. The company's increasing global footprint proves that it will likely be a force in the enterprise in the years ahead.

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