Digital Disruption: Apps as Today’s Go-To Resources

If you’ve been an admin. professional for more than a decade or so, you likely had a few valued resources you would consistently keep close at hand – a dictionary, a thesaurus and flight or rail schedules come to mind. You’d like a translation of information before sending your executive travelling? You’d likely also have a couple of preferred taxi companies on your speed dial, if not (depending on how long you’ve been doing this) on a Rolodex. 

These days, Rolodex and other suppliers have apps for your business cards. Many readers are likely to use an Uber  app to arrange for a lift, or you may use an app developed for your preferred taxi company.  Want to check on train or flight schedules? Check your app.  Needing to check that you’re not creating potential for a faux pas in another language? Get a translation app. Looking for that perfect word? If you’re away from your computer, you may turn to a dictionary or thesaurus app to help you on your way.

Apps, apps and more apps

Apps as Office Resources

With this in mind, I asked our panelists – Sofie Koark, MistiLynn Lokken, Janice Parker, Helen Rees and Julia Schmidt – to tell us a bit about the apps they use most frequently, and any impacts such technology has had on their work lives.

Helen: I use Trainline (for rail bookings), Skyscanner (for researching corporate flights), Trello (for project planning), Marwell Zoo app (our own, which shows zoo highlights and events for our guests), Eventbrite (for events management) – all of which save time and ensure I have the most up to date accurate information (and therefore often save us money, too).

Janice: The only app I tend to use to assist my boss is Citymapper, which is similar to Google Maps in that it can help you get from A to B but is much more efficient and logical with the route options it suggests!

I am frequently on my smartphone and use many apps in my personal life (which also helped me when I went back to university in 2013 – 2015), though I don’t really use any in my current role. This more than likely due to assistants in my organisation not having a work device, so I don’t tend to use my own personal phone for anything work related besides checking emails on the go or after hours.

Julia: One of the big impacts is in reporting travel expenses.  Many taxi companies, public transport and parking firms in Norway offer apps that automatically send receipts to the user’s email address.  My CEO is Swedish and lives in Stockholm.  He travels every week to Oslo, so I make very good use of FlightStats. In addition, I use Dashlane for saving passwords and creating strong ones. I also use an app to order taxis. Google Maps is also an excellent tool for planning time for commutes.

MistiLynn: FlightView – I share the log-in with my boss and his family so they can keep current on his many flights, modifications and any flight delays.  The changes make sync to the other phones so we’re all aligned. His wife also adds family trips so I know where everyone is headed. Of course, Lyft and Uber are must-haves. Hotel Tonight saved me recently and was very easy to use.

Sofie: I use LinkedIn, OneNote, Google Maps, Google Translate and travel apps, etc., but since I spend most of my working time in the office I don’t need to use apps professionally that much.

A call to app developers – and Microsoft in particular

You’ll know by now that I routinely ask people in my Real Careers interviews to suggest their dream apps for the office. The most common refrain there (only sometimes in jest, I suspect) is for an app to track the whereabouts of one’s executive. So, assembling this international panel via the internet, I of course asked this group the same question. It’s interesting to see that all three suggestions relate to MS Outlook.

Janice: I am already quite an organised person and utilise the full range of Microsoft Outlook, so there wouldn’t really be any kind of app or software to further aid in my career – other than Outlook being much more mobile friendly and integrated than it already is (the current versions are quite clunky and not user intuitive).

MistiLynn: An app to clean coffee French presses! Okay, that’s not realistic. As simple as it sounds, Microsoft Outlook needs to add a response option on calendar invitations that say, “Declined, but keeping on calendar for visibility purposes.” Plans change frequently and there’s no easy way to go back and see what meetings were requested for a given time.

Sofie: I would like a mobile app where I easily could see and manage all Outlook calendars for the team.


What apps do you rely on most frequently?

In my May 18/17 Weekend Poll, I asked readers to identify apps they use in their professional and personal lives. As it turned out, each of the apps below appeared on readers’ professional and personal lists.

  • DLF24
  • Eventbrite
  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • OpenTable
  • Periscope
  • Pinterest
  • Snapchat
  • Twitter
  • Wallet
  • WhatsApp
  • YouTube
  • XING
  • Other – banking, gym and train apps


For more on these apps mentioned by our panel …


Have we missed any? 

Are there any apps not identified here that you use regularly for professional purposes? If so, click on the “Comment” icon on your screen to offer your recommendations.

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