Bitrix24 gives a virtual garage to startups

Synopsis: Bitrix24 is social intranet+ CRM focusing on small business.It is a cloud-delivered service with a wide range of tools which gives it the feel of a full virtualization of your company. The generous terms of the free version provide startups with a place to keep everything they need, including files, user profiles, contacts, future marketing materials, minutes from strategy meetings, and virtually everything else in a single space. It’s like a garage in that there are lots of tools and free rent and it provides a low-pressure atmosphere in which to work on your startup. One major difference, of course, is that when you put something in Bitrix24, it will always be easy to find later.

Why did you start this company?

Bitrix has been in the intranet business for about 4 years. In the process of selling a ‘box’ product,we saw the opportunity to bring a full-service product to small businesseswhich do not realistically have the resources to install and maintain afull-featured onsite intranet. Delivering from the cloud is without question the key to bringing enterprise-level tools like comprehensive search, document versioning, workflow, and notifications, etc. to the wide world of small business.

Why would a small business, entrepreneur, freelancer, etc. use your product?

The product is designed for this segment. Having files, scheduling, tasking, and CRM all in one place greatly simplifies search, eliminates a significant amount of email, and enables instant sharing of any object to any subset of users. Private information kept in a user profile is absolutely private, but at any given time access to it can be granted to other users. This is especially important in the extranet. The extranet in Bitrix24 is simply a separate area for workgroups where clients can be invited and given access to whatever is needed, but nothing more.

Bitrix24 gives a virtual garage to startupsHow could you effectively use these tools?

Planning, scheduling, reminders, email subscription to activities and groups – Bitrix24 isn’t a blank, non-descriptspace, it is loaded with collaboration tools and interactive capabilities like commenting on everything and an internal instant messenger. With the CRM, you can bring information from a form on your website automatically and start working with the lead as you would in any CRM. Inside Bitrix24, however, all of your intranet resources and tools, like instant messenger, profiles, and document libraries, are all at hand and ready to be implemented in processing the lead.

Another use of the service is for an individual department or team (usually sales), inside a larger organization. The CRM is the main attraction in this case, but the other tools are certainly very valuable.

Do you offer free online or offline tools?

Bitrix24 is free for up to 12 users and 5Gb. A mobile version will be out by Fall 2012 which will apply to all plans, including the free one. We have optimized our free plan for companies or businesses with just a few workers. The free version is a fully fledged social intranet with CRM, file sharing, calendaring, activity stream, instant messenger, project groups and much more.

Are there different pricing levels?

Paid plans, unlike most cloud services, are not based on the number of users, but rather on the amount of space and functions. The two plans offered are set at $99 per month for unlimited users plus the extranet, and $199 for unlimited users with reporting tools. Additional space may be purchased as needed.

Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, etc.?

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bitrix24

Twitter: @Bitrix24

Who is your competition…

There are a lot of products that perform some of the functions in Bitrix24, and a few which can be reasonably said to have the coverage of business tools that we have. They are known as social intranets, social platforms, even project management platforms which have added additional features. However, Bitrix is focusing on small business, and product development is driven by feedback from small business, not the enterprise level.

how are you different…

Inside, our product benefits from cohesion among its parts. The activity stream and its optional notification system let users maintain complete awareness of anything that is going on. Tasks, for example, can be launched from the meeting planner or the CRM; search covers document content, comments, tasks, and users; and the visual company structure is utilized in tasks and in the CRM’s workflowmodeler.

The focus on small companies and pricing model, which we believe is more in tune with the true cloud concept of paying for what you use. All pay plans allow an unlimited number of users.

and how could you be better than you are now?

The service is in open beta still. There are several features which will be added to improve the user experience. It is easy to provide tools that remove some of the clutter and hassle of the average business person’s inbox, for example, document sharing with versioning and a comment thread at the file access point. However, when the goal is to eliminate nearly all inbox clutter, it is crucial not to create clutter somewhere else. This is both a technical and a UX problem and we feel like we are only scratching the surface thus far.

How do you see your company in the next 2-5 years (more products or services?)

We will be working to provide the most elegant and practical solutions for small business collaboration and communications available.

 

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