AppDirect: A Small Business Wonkaland

I’ll never forget my first small business client that had mobilized a small arsenal of apps. Upon my hiring, I was added to a Diigo account. Did I have Dropbox? Oh, and be sure to download Wrike. “Uh, whaaaaaa?” was my first reaction. Sure, I had used an app here and there and appreciated their value, but that’s a lot of accounts, log-ins and passwords. What to do, what to do?

Your Golden Ticket

San Francisco-based AppDirect, founded in 2009, is a web-based application network that helps businesses discover and manage apps in one central place. Once a business owner signs up for the account, he or she invites team members and sets up a personal and company profile. The owner then assign roles and apps to company users. Using a “marketplace,” a business owner can shop around and sample various applications, even browsing by industry or function. They select what they want, checking out user feedback in the process, and the app appears in the dashboard. If the administrator wants to buy apps beyond the free trial period, it’s all billed in one place through AppDirect. There’s no need to download updates, and the apps can be used from any device.

Go Ahead, Dive In

The first thing I did to test this baby out was to establish an account. All they needed initially was an email and password (i.e. no billing info, nor a zillion fields to fill out), then a confirmation link was sent to my email. Once I activated and logged in, although I had the option of setting up my profiles and inviting users, I immediately scrolled through the available apps.

Once you click on an app displayed in the marketplace, you are sent to a page giving the run-down of the app. Here, you will see a general description, pricing, reviews, and more details on the app’s key features. Below you can even see what else those users bought. Next, after clicking on the “free trial” button or selecting a package, you are sent to AppDirect’s checkout page. Still no billing info required if the trial is free. Agree to the terms, hit the Place Order button and you’re set. After a little toying around, my dashboard now consists of Yast Time Tracker, up A knee (email marketing), OpenCal (appointment setting), and TeamworkPM.

If you are looking for options for managing your small business but feel overwhelmed by the amount of apps out there, AppDirect is your golden ticket.

AppDirect was founded by Nicolas Desmarais, a former management consultant at Bain & Company, and Daniel Saks, who worked in investment banking at Viant Group and in wealth management at RBC.

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