What the Year’s Biggest Apps Tell Us About Work

Whether you know it or not, robots probably made your work life easier and better in 2017. Okay, maybe not robots specifically, but artificial intelligence, automation, and inter-software communication play a rising role in the workplace, according to one company.

Zapier builds products that help different computer programs talk to each other, freeing up human workers from repetitive tasks. As such, it has a bird's-eye view of what apps are the most popular in offices worldwide — and which new ones are coming up fast. Whether it's gathering data, populating spreadsheets, or just enabling chats, a few clear trends have emerged.

Integration with the 800-pound gorillas of the tech and social media world remains key. Facebook, Google, and Twitter are all central players, and rounding out the top 10 are ways to reach customers off-network (MailChimp) and team coordination platforms (Asana, Trello, Slack). For the most part, companies continue to play in social media companies' sandboxes, but that shouldn't feel limiting. Instead, they're finding more ways than ever to target and understand their base.

Weirdly, some of the most popular new apps are reinventions of seriously old-school tasks. Spreadsheets are still a key means of managing data, but the ways we gather it and organize it are where all the innovation is happening. And if you're looking for the cutting edge of productivity and integration, check out Zapier's list of the fastest-growing apps.

Read the full report here to get some insights into the future of work — at least for 2018.