It might seem that a calendar is one thing that does not need much explaining or instructions – put in an event, save – done.
Of course, it is like that, but aside from creating events, the calendar includes several other nice functions like synchronization with Outlook and Google calendars, coordination with the CRM and tasks, and favorite calendars.
I’d like to share all the possibilities which Bitrix24 calendars present.
Social intranet is one of the hottest enterprise 2.0 trends right now, with Microsoft recently paying $1.2 billion in acquisition costs just to catch up. Yet, as with any ‘hot new thing’, there’s just as much hype about social intranet as there are real benefits to having a successfully implemented one. So how do you end up among the companies that increase productivity with social intranet, instead of spending your time and resources on something that will be used to store cookie recipes? Here are some pointers collected from people who develop and deploy social intranet solutions for a living.
1. Determine what you specifically want from your social intranet. 60% of Bitrix24 users log in on weekends. That’s one of the benefits social intranet can provide. People will use corporate intranet during off hours, if it makes their work easier. It’s your job to cut through the marketing hype and determine – what exactly do you want to do with social intranet? Which social intranet provider can do that?
2. Make sure your social intranet has the tools you need. If you work in a law office, you probably need a strong document sharing option. If you work in sales, integrated CRM for your social intranet is a must. If you develop new products, you probably need project management module. Some older generation intranets don’t offer any business tools, so stay away from them. Find a social intranet that either has tools you need already built in or that supports easy integration of such tools.
3. Talk to your employees about their social network experience. Most social intranets look very similar to Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. The reason for that is that workers are already familiar with these networks, so they can start using social intranet right away. However, some people have lim ited social network experience, so you’ll have to teach them how to use an activity stream or how to send instant messages to a specific employee or group. The more ‘social’ your employees are, the easier it’ll be for them to use social options in your corporate portal.
4. Make sure your intranet is appropriate for your company size. Some social intranet makers make claims along the lines “Fortune 500 companies use our product”. Which is great IF you work for a Fortune 500 company. However, if you work for a small company, and a lot of us do, you probably won’t be happy with a solution that’s tailored for industry giants. Luckily, Bitrix24 targets small and midsize business, so you can find a solution that’s perfect for a company of your size.
5. Watch the costs. Social intranet costs are anywhere from zero to tens of thousands of dollars. The costs depend on whether you are going to use a cloud based solution (less expensive) or deploy it on your own servers (takes more time and costs more money, but is generally more secure). Another factor is the pricing policy of the intranet provider. Some developers charge per user, which quickly adds up if your company is large. Others offer unlim ited users but charge for space used (which is a lot more economical, unless your company works with hundreds of gigabytes of data).
Why Compare? Because it's always fun to compare other products with your own just to find out how good or bad you are at something. Also, it makes it easier for you guys to get a better understanding of what business tasks we can solve (and what we can't).
What are social intranets and how they differ? The three products we're about to analyze are social intranet with main purpose to serve small and medium sized companies improve their internal and external communications. They offer a wide range of communication and collaboration tools that can be used by companies with different profiles and business needs.
Project Management software has become a standard business tool for companies in nearly every business sector. Bitrix24 has a number of project management features that can be extremely useful for small and medium-sized companies to manage their daily workflow.
One of the tools present in Bitrix24 is Workgroups. Workgroups, which can be thought of as project groups, allow you to monitor all active projects or easily find information about finished projects which had been archived. Each Workgroup can be created and made accessible for all Employees of your Company, for the Employees of a certain Department (or several Departments), for any set of individual Employees, etc.
You can also create and manage Projects with for people outside your company using the Extranet (a place with restricted access that you can make available to business partners, clients, suppliers, etc., without compromising the sensitive data which is stored in your Intranet)
The actual process of using the Workgroups for Project Management can be divided into two major steps:
(1) Setting up a Workgroup
(2) Working inside the Workgroup
The CRM (Customer Relationship Management) System in Bitrix24 handles interactions with clients and potential clients, and/or with partners, journalists, and other persons. Its objective is to provide a convenient and transparent tool which improves relationship quality and therefore the bottom line.
How Does the CRM Work?
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a class of software which provides structure and coherency in the management of business contacts and potential contacts. “Leads” obtained through any number of methods can be entered into the system, assigned to responsible employees, and developed into clients, customers, or partners with a full record of all interactions. The CRM organizes information about customers and the various interactions with them from the qualifying stage through closing of sales.
The fundamental process which a CRM enables is the development of a potential client (a sales ‘lead’) into a paying customer.
I've got something really awesome for you guys today! Our business partner AIC, a creative agency, and Bitrix are finishing work on an App that allows you to use Bitrix24 and Bitrix Intranet in your iPhone or Android-based mobile device!
Bitrix24 is still in 'beta', but we're planning to have it out of that phase by the time our mobile app is ready. And that's going to be very soon! This is very important for Bitrix24 because we strongly believe that in the nearest future most people's daily tasks will be accomplished through a mobile device.
I manage my tasks and communicate with my colleagues from different departments and offices through Bitrix24 every day. But heaven knows how I need the mobile version of Bitrix24 to in touch with my colleagues, clients and business partner!
But do consider this: Bitrix24 is truly addictive! One of my colleagues told me that his spouse was very upset with him because 'he never leaves his laptop with Bitrix24'. I can imagine him getting a divorce notice shortly after the mobile version of Bitrix24 is released She's no competition for Bitrix24 whatsoever
Ok, here is the plan. After our free App goes live, you'll need to find it in the App Store or in the Android Market and install it on your mobile device. I've prepared several screenshots and photoshop'ed them with an iPhone 4s case so that you have a better understanding of what we're working on.
First of all, you need to get authorized. You can use this free app to get connected to your Bitrix24 or to your on-premise Bitrix Intranet (www.bitrixsoft.com/intranet/).
There you go! The main page of your intranet appears on the screen. Now you can read the latest news in your personal Activity Stream. Using your mobile device, you can post comments, like posts, and add to favorites. Just a single click - and you open the main menu to start the navigation on your mobile intranet.
Access rights in the CRM are based on roles. That is, roles can be created and the access levels for those roles can be assigned, and then users can be assigned certain roles. Importantly, roles can be assigned to individual users, entire user groups, project groups, or to departments in the company structure.
Extranet is a web zone inside your Bitrix24 instance created so that company employees can productively collaborate with authorized users from third parties such as clients, suppliers, or partners.
The extranet is based on the workgroups. External users are invited to a workgroup, communicate with the workgroup members and are allowed access only to that workgroup and their own profile.
For example, web studios can create a separate workgroup that is available in the extranet for each project, invite clients there, discuss the project, store related documents and media files, manage tasks, schedule events, and so on.
Each Extranet workgroup is divided among employees and outside users. The activity stream in the group’s main page shows the workgroup’s events. Employees who are members of the Extranet group will see its activity in the main Activity Stream, noted as coming from the Extranet. Extranet users will see the activities of the workgroup(s) in which they are members. IM messages can be sent to and from Extranet users, but only by employees who are members of the given Extranet group. Furthermore, tasks from the extranet group are listed and marked clearly in each employee’s personal task section.
The workgroup is a virtual community of users created for discussing and solving of defined issues, goals and tasks.
By uniting users into workgroups for collaboration and projects, all the communications and data related to a given project or team is organized in a single place. All tasks inside the group can be viewed in relation to each other and access to information can be shared to users outside the group if needed.
Groups have individual permission settings and roles such as moderators, owners, and members. New members are added via invitation.
We are proud to introduce Bitrix24 – a new collaboration solution for amplifying productive interaction inside companies. We have long envisioned a product which will put the benefits of enterprise-level intranets into the hands of smaller players, instantly.
Bitrix24 is for any company needing a single platform for work and communications. When work and communications are united, people are more in tune with the progress of projects, notifications are made automatically, projects pass smoothly from one phase to another, and inefficient meetings and excessive email are reduced. Small companies, creative teams, and departments of large organizations will find Bitrix24 to be an instant boost in transparent collaboration.
Bitrix24 will be offered free! Up to 12 users are allowed in the free plan, which will in essence have all of the functionality of the basic paid plan. That means you and your colleagues are less than 5 minutes away from great tools such as company activity stream, file sharing, tasking, discussions, project groups, calendaring, secure internal messaging, and more – all fully searchable and with an intuitive interface.
I’d like to welcome you personally to our open beta phase, where you are free to use any plan of Bitrix24 knowing that your Bitrix24 intranet will transition smoothly to a free or premium plan when the beta stage is over.
This is not the end of our conversation. Let me tell you about one very small addition that I made to Bitrix24. At the bottom of each Bitrix24 webpage, there is a feedback link where you can send your needs and ideas about Bitrix24. Be in contact with me and the Bitrix24 team, and you will see that Bitrix24 is takes you to a new level.