Other Business Tools
An entire article (or several) could be devoted to all the database solutions that are available for Mac OS X. One deserves to be highlighted in the article because it is designed with an ease of use that is attractive to business users who need to create or use database tools quickly and easily. FileMaker Pro has long been an easy-to-use yet powerful database solution for both Macs and Windows. In addition to its remarkable flagship product, FileMaker now offers several preproduced database solutions that enable many business users to find a fully functional solution they can customize for their needs instead of starting from scratch.
Phone Valet and Herald
Parliant’s Phone Valet and Phone Herald are without a doubt the best telephony solutions for Mac OS X. Phone Valet enables you to easily create and manage a phone system that includes phone trees, voice mailboxes, and onscreen notifications about incoming calls. It also supports a robust set of filtering rules based on information received from caller ID. Perhaps more importantly, Phone Valet offers these features with an incredible ease of use—whether you have an installed PBX or VoIP phone network, or just one or two incoming lines. It offers all the features of much more expensive phone system solutions at a much lower cost and is perfect for small businesses that cannot afford to hire a receptionist or invest in a commercial phone system . Its companion, Phone Herald, is an equally amazing tool for creating automated outgoing calls—such as those to remind clients about appointments or mass notifications about events or cancellations.
OCR and Document Solutions
As electronic document storage becomes more and more prevalent in the business world, many organizations are looking for easy ways to convert physical documents to various electronic formats. Three excellent tools offer these capabilities to businesses running on Mac OS X: OmniPage Pro, Optix, and Working Papers X. All three offer easy-to-use interface and all three offer options for future search and retrieval. OmniPage focuses on enabling the widest use of documents in various electronic formats. Optix offers workflows for distributing, storing, and cataloging documents using database technologies. Working Papers X focuses cataloging and cross-referencing documents using metadata for search, batching documents together, and appending annotations to document files.
App4Mac’s xTime Planning is a great tool for any business that needs a simple but effective solution for staff scheduling. It offers an intuitive interface for managing staff schedules and assignments. It also offers conflict detection and customizable reports for productivity and hours worked, as well as web publishing and integration with Address Book.
Also by app4Mac is xTime Inventory. Like app4Mac’s other business tools, it offers a very polished interface that makes it easy to enter, manage, and view resources as well as customizable resource reports and web publishing. If you need an inventory management solution that is separate from your accounting solution, this is a good option.