Recently, an employee of Bitrix24 had reached out to me in regard to their social workplace collaboration platform. Of course, I was intrigued by this because I find these types of tools to be fascinating. Over the past couple years, I have been researching, testing, or using different SaaS to see how it can help organizations be more efficient. Naturally, I wanted to hear more about this and learn about the features it can offer an organization. Stephen Ankenman of Bitrix, Inc. was kind enough to speak with me in regard to their concept.
Ashley Perez (AP): What is the core concept of Bitrix24 and why did you decide to develop this idea?
Stephen Ankenman (SA): “Small businesses need classic intranet tools and social collaboration just like enterprises. Our driving philosophy is to unite the management of a company to a single platform that can handle all standard company operations: vertical and horizontal, internal and external.”
AP: What are some key features that help employees collaborate and coordinate more effectively?
SA: “Content can be shared instantly to any subset of users, whether it is a comment or file. Internal notifications, automatic reporting, and the activity stream replace a lot of email and greatly reduce the need to repeat information. For some companies, simply having anywhere, anytime access to files, tasks, and other data is a game-changer. There are also Business Processes available in the CRM and file library which can draw on other parts of the intranet, such as the company structure, instant notifications, and tasks to keep operations running smoothly.”
AP: How does this SaaS help all levels of employees communicate and socialize?
SA: “The Activity Stream keeps users informed of everything that pertains to them and provides commenting and other methods of instant feedback (public or private). The social layer of Bitrix24 provides discussion threads directly attached to objects such as tasks and files, and spontaneous conversations can be started, shared, and enhanced with new files, pictures and videos.”
AP: How has this helped project management?
SA: “Any number of project groups can be formed. Tasks inside groups can be viewed as a Gantt chart and are visible to all users. With a group-only activity stream on the front page, it’s very easy to get a snapshot of what is going on.”
AP: What are the different features that help employees navigate to find relevant documents, knowledge-base, information, and resources?
SA: “ Search is very powerful in Bitrix24. Search covers file content, comments, tasks, wiki entries, the CRM and other objects. It’s important to note that simply having all of these objects under one roof provides a distinct advantage for Bitrix24’s search.”
AP: Is Bitrix24 flexible and mobile? If so, please explain.
SA: “Bitrix24’s CRM is highly customizable to reflect products, sales stages, contact types, and all other nuances that are unique to each company’s sales process. In the intranet side, the access system lets you share what you want how you want and with whom you want.
“Business processes, available in the CRM and document library, allow highly specific workflows to be created according to the very specific needs of a company concerning approvals, conditions, and drawing in information at various stages of the workflow.”
Recently, I spoke with an individual, Jim Sweeney, who had started using Bitrix24 for his start-up company’s needs. As he had stated, “I’ve used other platforms before that seemed much more entailed and weren’t really necessary for smaller companies and start-ups like my own. Bitrix24 helps with communication, organization, and project management. It’s simplified and user friendly so it’s very easy to find the information that you’re looking for. It helps organize each person in our group so we can clearly see what the next milestone is and what the next due date is. It helps us easily link our tasks to our process mapping.
“I can see it being really great for project management, and is especially good for inter-office communication. This is extremely helpful because all of the team members of my company is scattered throughout the country. The communication features are so clear and easy to use that we can get straight to the point rather than having to mess around with customization features.
“The selling point for this platform over larger platforms is the pricing (it makes it easy for small start-ups) and that its simple- I don’t need all the features that larger organizations need. It works for us. There is a very small learning-curve. For smaller companies, we don’t have time to waste on trying to learn every aspect of a platform. We’re more concerned about getting our product/service up and running. Bitrix24 takes away the hassle and allows us to get to what matters.”
After speaking with Stephen about Bitrix24 and also hearing some real, customer feedback, I’d have to say I’m impressed with this. Sometimes having too many customization features can be daunting, confusing, and can actually slow down productivity. I like the fact that Bitrix24 allows companies and users to get straight to the point and makes using the SaaS a lot easier.
If you’re interested in learning more about this company, please feel free to go to www.bitrix24.com