The basic package of applications supplied with OS X is great for simple tasks and educational needs. However, when you’re using Macs as part of your business operations the basic package doesn’t quite hit the mark. This is perhaps a result of lack of features and Apple’s goal to make the software usable by anyone.
In this article I will propose SaaS alternatives to Numbers, Address Book, Calendar, AirDrop and FaceTime. These web-based alternatives offer an array of additional capabilities not found in your pre-installed OS X applications. Read on to find out more!
[Update] This post was originally posted on February 2nd 2012. It was updated on September 25th 2015 to add new business app alternatives.
Alternatives to Numbers: Accounting Applications
Numbers is effective for basic database management, but to take full control of your accounting needs you need a dedicated finance and accounting application. Here are three of the best:
Freshbooks is simple way to track time and invoice your customers. With powerful mobile integration and easy-to-use payment options, FreshBooks gives you complete control for you and your clients.
- Free 30 day trial available.
- $9.95/month for up-to 5 clients.
- Ranging up to $29.95/month and $39.95/month for packages with unlimited clients.
KashFlow prides itself on the ability to make accounting, a normally difficult process, simple. This is achieved through an easy-to-follow user interface and features such as PayPal integration, invoicing, and reporting.
- Free trials available.
- £5/month for the Starter package.
- Ranging up to £10/month and £15/month for the Business and Business + Payroll packages respectively.
Xero is a cloud accounting service for small businesses. One of the most appealing features of Xero is its financial overview dashboard which gives you a complete view of all cash-flow. It’s designed to inject a bit of fun into monotonous processes such as transaction monitoring, bill paying, invoice issuing, and expenses management.
- $6.30/month for the Starter package. Limited features.
- $21/month for the Standard package.
- $49/month for the Premium package.
Alternatives to Address Book: Customer Relationship Management Applications
The Address Book is one of the most basic OS X applications. In order to enable yourself to track customer details and the progression of your conversations a dedicated CRM (Customer Relationship Management) application is the only choice. Below are three fantastic options!
Insightly is an online CRM for small businesses. Built for integration with Google Apps, Insightly allows you to easily sync with Google Calendar, Documents and Contacts. Alternative systems, including Xero, MailChimp, and Evernote, can also be integrated just as easily. Through this integration with other applications Insightly allows the user to bring all customer and project information into one place.
- Starting from: $12/month per user for Basic package.
- Ranging up to $99/month per user for Enterprise package.
- Free package for up to 2 users.
The goal of SalesForce Sales Cloud is to improve communication between you and your customers. This is achieved by tracking all customer communication in a dashboard. Through this you are given the ability to analyze whether strategies are working or not, this allows you to adapt in the future to improve your customer relations.
- $25/month per user for basic sales and marketing for up-to 5 users.
- $65/month per user for complete CRM for any size team.
- $125/month per user for deeply customizable CRM for your business (billed annually.)
- $250/month per user for unlimited CRM power and support (billed annually.)
Infusionsoft is a CRM tool built for business owners with between 1 and 25 employees. Similar to SalesForce Cloud the application, Infusionsoft allows you to track all customer information and conversations to help improve your sales technique in the future. One way in which Infusionsoft differs is that it provides you with the resources to create an online storefront.
- $199/month for Basic package.
- Ranging up to $599/month for Team package for larger businesses.
Alternatives to Calendar: Scheduling Applications
Much like the Mac Address Book the Calendar is built for simple day-to-day tasks. In turn, this will not suffice for major company-wide scheduling, making an advanced scheduler a strong option. Below I have highlighted three great choices!
Acuity Scheduling possesses a whole host of features that the standard Calendar application lacks. These include the ability for clients to see your availability and then book appointments in advance. Through the software clients can also pay for the appointments using their PayPal accounts. With powerful integration with Google Calendar, iCal and Outlook, Acuity Scheduling is a great way to stay organized.
- Free for solo use, limited features.
- $10/month for Solo use with advanced features.
- Ranging up to $19/month and $34/month for greater numbers of staff and text messaging capabilities.
When I Work Scheduling is an application aimed at helping businesses manage their hourly workers’ schedules. Through the software employees are able to punch in from their smart phones and even receive their schedules through a text message. In addition to this employees are able to accept open shifts and managers can track employees through the location in which they punch in.
- Can choose to be billed monthly or annually.
- Starting at $16/month for up to 5 users and limited features.
- All features available on packages 10 users and up, starting from $51/month.
Wintac is a one-time license scheduling tool, giving service and contracting businesses a complete solution to their tracking needs. Aimed at improving efficiency Wintac allows users to set a day schedule and create invoices. In addition to this Wintac gives technicians CRM tools, allowing them to update and track customer job and billing history in real time.
- Three price bands, Wintac Green, Wintac Pro and Wintac Fuel.
- Wintac Green, $1995. Wintac Pro, $2495. Wintac Fuel, $2995.
- All three packages require cost of £1150 for each additional office user.
Alternatives to AirDrop: Collaboration Applications with Document and File Sharing
If your needs require you to efficiently share and store files AirDrop will most likely be a weak choice. Below I have highlighted Slack, Hightail and Stellar Library, each making an effective alternative to Airdrop.
Slack aims to condense all of a team’s communication into one place. With a plethora of mobile applications and quick search filtering techniques Slack makes it easy to track and notify colleagues of information. File sharing is achieved simply through dragging and dropping.
- Unlimited users on every package.
- $0/month for small teams and limited features.
- $6.67/month per user for Standard package and $12.50/month per user for Plus package.
Hightail is a file sharing tool built for professionals and that is reflected in its structured and professional layout. Through its advanced security measures, Hightail helps to ensure that no unauthorized personnel can access your important files. This is achieved through encryption, password protection, and identity verification.
- $0/month for Lite package, 2GB limit on storage and 250MB limit on sharing file size.
- $15.99/month for Professional package, unlimited storage and 10GB limit on sharing file size.
- $19.99/month for Enterprise package, unlimited storage and 500GB limit on sharing file.
Stellar Library is a file sharing application which allows files to be quickly shared and accessed on iPad devices. Through the web-based back-end of Stellar Library users can create company databases and control the documents that can be accessed by staff securely.
- Free trial available.
- $10/month per recipient for Standard package.
Alternatives to FaceTime: Video Conferencing and Communication Applications
FaceTime is great basic communicator if everyone owns Apple products, but that’s not always the case, especially in the business world. Using web-based video conferencing tools makes the process of video communication easier and more accessible.
Onstream Webinars gives you the ability to set up, schedule, remind and participate in video conferencing. Allowing users to present and share files, videos and even their own desktop easily, Onstream Webinars gives users a complete communication tool. Through the application users can also create polls between those viewing to quickly gather results.
- $49/month for up to 50 participants.
- $99/month for up to 150 participants.
- $149/month for up to 300 participants.
ClickMeeting is a video conferencing tool that offers a unique feature: the ability to create your own virtual meeting and waiting rooms. Through the addition of your logo, graphics and brand colors, ClickMeeting aims to give your users positive first impressions. In addition to a standard set of features such as file and desktop sharing, ClickMeeting also gives you access to instant translation for 52 languages.
- Starting at £18/month for Basic package.
- Ranging up to £172.50/month for greater number of attendees, video recording time and presenter limit.
GoToMeeting is a straightforward HD video conferencing application that allows you to host online meetings with up to 25 people. Assigned leaders can schedule and set up recurring meetings, these users also have the power to start meetings by clicking “Meet Now.” The process of joining a meeting is achieved through clicking a link, guests can join free of charge, and there is no need to sign up.
- $24/month per organizer for Starter package.
- $39/month per organizer for Pro package.
- $49/month per organizer for Plus package.
Thanks for reading! Hopefully this list of SaaS alternatives to Mac OS X software helped you in your search for greater productivity. Do you use any of the above applications already? Or do you have another cloud-based business app that accomplishes a similar role? Let us know in the comments below.