Since its launch in 2008, Evernote has been used primarily by consumers for recording and organizing notes and ideas.
And while consumers continue to be the company's chief target, the application has many potential uses in business, a fact underscored by their announcement earlier today of sponsored accounts for schools and businesses.
Evernote's new sponsored accounts are simply a way for companies and other organizations to purchase premium accounts for their employees. From there, there are a number of ways people can use the application for professional purposes.
Collecting & Organizing Research Material
Evernote is, first and foremost, a note-taking app. Its tag line, "Remember everything," pretty much sums it up. Whether its through the desktop-based Web clipper or any of its smart phone apps, Evernote is great for grabbing bits of information from the Web or the world around you and storing it in the cloud, synchronized across devices.
For businesses, this can really come in handy when it comes to do any type of research, including competitive analyses or fact-finding for that next big project. Even day-to-day reading about one's industry and other areas of professional interest can be collected by Evernote. Web articles can be clipped via the browser bookmarklet and excerpts from print articles can be snapped as a photo note.
Digitize Documents, Business Cards and White Boards
Evernote on a smart phone can act as kind of a mini-scanner for printed documents. For example, if you want to read that contract on the commute home, just snap a picture of it, fitting the entire document within the frame of the camera. The resulting image might require a little pinching and zooming to be easily legible, but at least you can review it without lugging home a bunch of old school paper.
Meanwhile, amassing a digital file cabinet of important documents that is accessible from any Web-enabled device will no doubt come in handy in the future.
Several weeks ago, we covered a few digital alternatives and supplements to paper business cards and you can add one more to that list. When you recieve a new business card, snap a photo of it with Evernote and tag it as "business cards" to keep them all in one place. Since the app can recognize and index text found in photos, the person's name, title and contact info will be searchable later.
Holy crap. Did your team just invent the next Facebook while brainstorming on an office whiteboard? To save these and other brilliant ideas, take a picture of whiteboards with Evernote before wiping them clean. The same goes for "back of the napkin" notes and other musings written by hand.
Take Meeting Notes
Evernote lets you record the minutes of a meeting in one of two ways: Either by typing the details by hand or using the mobile app to record it as an audio file. Typing on a smart phone might be a bit cumbersome to do at length during a meeting, but the iPad or desktop version should do the trick.
Keep Track of Finances
Just as with other documents, Evernote can be used to archive copies of financial records like receipts and checks. This can come in handy during tax season, especially if one's physical filing system isn't quite as airtight as the cloud.
Share Important Information Among Colleagues
In addition to capturing and organizing information, Evernote also lets users easily share it. While making notebooks public is an option, that's probably not a good idea in most business scenarios. Instead, you can share notebooks with individuals by providing their email addresses, not unlike sharing a Google Doc. This could be useful in any of the examples cited above, whether it's meeting notes, a scanned document or financial records that are being shared.
Have you used Evernote in a professional capacity? Let us know how you put it good use in the comments.