As technology continues to advance at such a rapid pace, the methods of business management and communication advance alongside it. More people are telecommuting from home now than ever before and the nature of the business entity is being tested. The traditional office environment doesn’t work well when most, or all, employees are at home. So what do you use then? The answer is Bitrix24.
Bitrix24 is a cloud-based network service that allows you to collaborate over the Internet with others within your company. You can think of it as a social network that focuses less on wall posts and photo albums and more on task management, file sharing, colleague interaction, and project collaboration between members in the company.
We’re giving away 10 Startup accounts, which will you to add up to 12 users to your account and costs $1200/year — but the lucky winners will get to use Bitrix24 for free! We’re also giving away a 64 GB HTC One so you’ll be able to use Bitrix24′s Android app on the go.
For a basic overview, check out our previous coverage of Bitrix24. Over the past few months, Bitrix24 has updated their service and added a slew of new features, so keep reading to find out how much better this service has become.
New Activity Stream
The Activity Stream is like most news and update feeds you’d find in typical social networks, but Bitrix24 has recently updated their Stream to include a few new features: Polls, Announcements, Badges, and Smart Follow Mode.
The concept of the Poll is self-explanatory, but Bitrix24 has a few bells and whistles on it that make it more useful than you think. For one, you can make a poll available only to a certain subset of users according to workgroup, department, or what have you. Polls can also include attached files, videos, reminders, etc. and not just text alone.
Announcements are special Stream messages that appear in a different color to mark its importance. Announcements will also show in the sidebar until the user marks it as read.
Badges are a way for supervisors and managers to show appreciation to users in the network. Think of them as small visual awards that others can see. When used properly, Badges are great for boosting employee morale and motivation.
And lastly, there’s Smart Follow Mode. All social network feeds suffer from clutter and “unwanted information syndrome.” Bitrix24 fixes that with Smart Follow Mode, which allows you to select which conversations are unimportant to you, thus preventing them from updating in your Stream.
Bitrix24′s web messenger now supports Video Calls. You can make video calls to other users straight from your browser without needing to install any external programs. This is possible through WebRTC technology and at the time of writing this article, both Chrome 26 and Firefox 22 support this feature.
While in a video call, you can continue to use the text messaging option in the messenger with the person on the other end, or you can expand the video itself into full screen mode. The whole thing is reminiscent of Skype’s call-and-chat interface, but I have no problems with it because it works so well.
The Bitrix24 system now supports viewing Google Docs files straight from within the system without requiring any external applications. This support is currently limited to viewing and previewing documents (text and spreadsheet) but Bitrix24 does plan on expanding it to include editing in the future.
One of the most awaited features of Bitrix24 has been Invoices, and they’ve arrived. You can now issue invoices directly through Bitrix24′s system and these invoices can be sent to clients by means of email. They can also be printed directly or saved in PDF format.
The system guides you through the entire invoicing process so the learning curve for this feature is quite shallow. All invoices are stored on the company’s Invoices page and each invoice is limited by permissions. Managers can only view access-granted invoices while Supervisors can view them all.
Check out the Bitrix24 announcement for a full overview of the Bitrix24 Invoice system.
The Bitrix24 Desktop App allows employees to stay connected through their network without requiring a browser to be open. It works as a replacement for whatever other messenger is being used between employees and it taps directly into the network’s communications: Activity Stream, personal messages, likes, comments, notifications, and more.
The newest addition to the Desktop App is the Bitrix24.Drive tool, which synchronizes files between the Bitrix24 network and your local computer. When these files are modified on either side (your computer or the network), a new synchronization will automatically be triggered.
And speaking of network files, Bitrix24 now supports external file linking similar to the way Dropbox handles their file linking. Users can generate links to certain files on the network and share them with others who aren’t on the intranet. Access can be protected with passwords and expire over time for added security.
Sign up for a free account
If you’re eager to try Bitrix24, you should sign up for a free account. It will cost you absolutely nothing, and you’ll have access to most of the basic features. If you do win a Startup account from this giveaway, we’ll provide you with a license key that will unlock the professional features like extranet support, records management, time management, meetings, reports and the ability to use your own domain name.
How do I win a free Bitrix24 account?
You may enter by submitting your name and email address. You’ll receive one entry simply by doing so, and will be entered into the combined drawing for 10 Bitrix24 Startup accounts and the 64 GB HTC One.
After that, you’ll also be offered various methods to earn additional entries. They range from sharing a link to this giveaway on social networks; to commenting or visiting a specific page. The more you participate, the higher your chances of winning! You will receive 5 additional entries into the giveaway for every successful referral via your shared links.
This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, August 9th. The winners will be selected at random and informed via email.
Congratulations, Maria Sumakova! You would have received an email from firstname.lastname@example.org. Please respond before August 12 to claim your prize. Enquires beyond this date will not be entertained.