At WHYPAY? we believe that effective business tools shouldn’t cost the Earth, which is why we set out to make the best free conferencing service out there. This got us thinking: if you can get conference calls for no cost, what other great services can you get for free? That is why we have scoured the web to find the best free services to help your business and to bring them to you weekly.
This week we look at one of the premier free tools for note taking and information sharing, Evernote.
Document organisation for the digital age
Storing business information has changed dramatically in just a few short years. While there will always be a need for hard copies of certain files, the vast majority of stored information can now be done digitally. As progress in this area marches on, new issues surrounding how data is kept, shared and used start to come to the fore. Addressing these as well as taking advantage of new opportunities for note taking and data sharing is paramount. What is needed is a tool that allows you to fully realise all the potential of your digital information.
Evernote is a highly flexible, cross platform information storage, sharing and organising app. It currently boasts over 150 million users worldwide (as of July 2015) and has been going from strength to strength since its release in 2009.
More than just note taking
At first you might be fooled into thinking that Evernote is a simple but well presented note taking tool. Most people will use it as just that, an app that allows you to create notes while working on a project that you can access easily at a later date. Even if this is all you use it for, you will quickly come to rely on how easy it is to write, save and then retrieve what you have written.
The next thing that becomes apparent is how easy it is to access the information you have created and saved. Along with versions for major desktop operating systems, support and apps are also available for Android, iOS, Blackberry and Windows mobile. This means that there should be no issue reviewing documents no matter where you are. On top of this, there are also versions for wearable devices like the Apple Watch and Android Wear platforms.
Over time, the amount of notes, clippings and other information you store can reach staggering levels. While space is not as big an issue as with physical storage, organisation can be. With Evernote you can merge, sort and group your notes with great simplicity. For example, you could collect all of your notes relating to a project in one notebook, then create an index or contents list of links in that book so you can quickly find the right info. On top of this you can seek out specific keywords in all of your notes using the powerful search tool. If you wish, you can also add another level of grouping by using tags on your notes or note books.
As for collecting information, Evernote has you covered. On top of standard note taking, the iOS and Android apps come included with an audio recording feature. By using this you can turn your phone into an instant Dictaphone that sends the recording automatically to your account. Another powerful feature is the web clipping application. Perfect for online research, clipping allows you to quickly take information and details from a web page and store them for later viewing.
Sharing is also an important factor of Evernote. After creating your notebooks, you can then share them with people who you wish to work with. Easily allowing multiple people to share information on a project no matter if they are working geographically close to each other.
Evolving and affordable
There are a good number of benefits attached to Evernote being a cloud based service. These range from accessibility to disaster recovery. Have a look at our Dropbox review from a few weeks ago to see more detail on why cloud storage is a great idea.
Evernote is a great example of a freemium service. To begin with there is no cost and you can use the majority of the features described here without having to pay. For the majority of SMEs this will be more than adequate. If you wish to increase your use, or have access to more features, then there are three grades you can choose from. Plus and Premium offer up increased storage and access to improved features for a yearly cost. There is also Evernote Business which is dedicated to larger companies and teams and comes with added team and admin features.
The features highlighted above are just the tip of the iceberg and the most used features. Evernote is continually adding features as well as adding support for other popular applications. With business needs continually evolving, you can be safe in the knowledge that Evernote will always be there to support your information needs.