Bitrix, maker of Bitrix Site Manager and the Bitrix24 on-premises social intranet, has released a new version of its free, cloud-based Bitrix24. Launched last year and available free for companies of no more than 12 employees, the newest online version now comes with a native project management toolset.

Dmitry Valyanov, Bitrix President, said in a statement that the new edition, which has desktop apps for Windows and Mac computers as well as for iOS and Android devices, is the first online CRM that is "fully fused with project management.” He added that users want a CRM which "allows them to plan, to collaborate with co-workers and to increase personal productivity,” not something that is “essentially a database with client information.”

Other Enhancements

Bitrix24 offers more than a CRM, however. It is designed as a social business platform for SMBs, with collaboration, communication, social networking, workflow and knowledge management. It provides a social intranet, with an activity stream, IM, conversations, an extranet, document management, workgroups, time and task management, employee search and e-learning, plus CRM.

There are a variety of other enhancements in the new cloud version. They include synchronization between files stored locally and the ones online, group chat in the Web messenger, a revised main page, a daily planner accessible on every page, and a tablet version of the mobile app. The main page changes include a new look for the Activity Stream, and the mobile app now allows users to view and create calendar events.

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The work flow in Bitrix24 allows a lead, contact, campaign or deal to launch a business process that has been created by the user, with the built-in visual constructor.

50,000 Users of Bitrix24

One example use case given by the company: the amount of a deal can trigger an assignment for a person in legal to draft a contract, or other employees can be automatically invited to a discussion when there’s a new deal with a specific client. There could also be email or IM notifications sent whenever a lead is obtained.

Inside the CRM module, there are PM tools, such as tasks, calendars, Gantt charts, task reports, workgroups, as well as document management functions, such as storing documents, attaching files, sharing them and assigning their access based on roles.

The company said that, since the beta launch in April of 2012 of its cloud version, Bitrix24 has reached the 50,000 user mark in less than a year. Another update is planned for the one-anniversary mark, at which time Bitrix24 will officially lose its beta status.