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One Way to Navigate the Business App Marketplace

January 2, 2012
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/222400

Navigate the Business App Marketplace

Name your business problem. More likely than not, there's an app for that.

More than ever, Web-savvy businesses are looking to a mix of cloud-based and traditional PC-based applications to tackle everything from basic bookkeeping to complex project management. Trouble is, there are likely numerous apps that aim to solve each of your problems. The challenge then is finding the software application that works best for your particular situation.

So, what's the best way to match your business software needs to the crowded app market? After an extensive search, we came upon GetApp.com, a search tool designed to help businesses sift through the crowded marketplace and find the right app for them.

How it works: GetApp.com, owned by Nubera eBusiness in Barcelona, lets users search through more than 4,500 business apps in several ways. You can browse apps through a search tool or peruse lists organized by categories and subcategories, such as business need, specific industry and popularity.

To use the search tool, users can describe their business by answering questions about company size, the type of employee who will be using the app, how it will be used, and how it is paid for -- including free to start with the option to pay for more features, subscription-based or flat one-time purchase. The site also includes customer reviews, CEO interviews and evaluation tools such as side-by-side app comparisons, software guides and white papers.

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The service is free to use. Nubera makes money from a mix of advertising and the referral fees it charges providers of the listed apps.

What's helpful: GetApp offers everything from major enterprise solutions to "freemium" services that provide basic apps for free but charge for advanced features. In our case, we searched for mobile collaboration and expense tracking tools for businesses with fewer than 10 employees. GetApp delivered information about several on-target apps, including a description of features, technical details, free trial offers, screenshots and video demonstrations. We learned about pricing, countries served, operating systems supported and certification requirements, all without having to leave the GetApp website.

We found the service more convenient than searching through, say, the more generic software exchanges such as the iTunes App Store or Android Market, where separating business apps from a selection of hundreds of thousands of general purpose tools can be difficult.

We also found GetApp more convenient for business use than targeted software exchanges including Google Marketplace or Microsoft Office Downloads Marketplace. Both of these sites offer a wide selection of third-party business tools, but target software optimized for their specific software and don't offer the wide-ranging options GetApp achieves.

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However, given that vendors have to pay for listings to be placed on GetApp, the service is by no means all-inclusive. But we found GetApp's selection robust and the search results rich enough to warrant making it a reasonable first stop for business app buyers.

What's not: As easy to use and handy as GetApp was for basic searches, some of the advanced features were poorly organized and resulted in information overload. We had no trouble browsing and generating potential software candidates to suit our needs, but we wasted time wading through the site's jumble of tip sheets and mostly user-generated reviews.

"We use a mix of edited content that we create ourselves and user-created reviews that we curate," says GetApp creator Manuel Jaffrin, co-founder of Nubera eBusiness. "But that part of the service will evolve as we begin to develop expertise in certain areas."

Bottom line: As a jumping-off point, GetApp was a reasonable tool to use. It's fast, easy to use and produced generally useful results for us. It's a significant upgrade over basic search engines and app marketplaces.

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