Bitrix24 has added a new desktop app to its popular social intranet and collaboration service, giving its customers the option of sharing documents without additional costs. The inexpensive alternative to building your own Intranet, which I reviewed last year at http://www.itworld.com/it-managementstrategy/301265/bitrix24-serious-intranet-even-you-can-afford, now offers a free plan that provides group and company drives while competitors such as Box, OneDrive and Dropbox, even Google Drive either don’t offer this kind of service or charge for it. Bitrix24 provides a suite of tools that, in addition to allowing collaboration on documents, provides instant messaging, group chat, and video conferencing along with the ability to make phone calls. Bitrix24 allows its customers staff to send instant messages to each other, participate in group chat, make telephone calls, and hold video conferences with other Bitrix24 users. Both the Bitrix24 Site Manager and Bitrix24’s self-hosted versions support any of three languages -- English, German, and Russian. Bitrix24 partners provide and support other languages. The company is headquartered in Alexandria, VA with 140 employees spread across six offices in Kaliningrad, Moscow, Minsk, Kiev, Saint Petersburg and Almaty. Still free for up to 12 users, Bitrix24’s March 2014 update, in addition to the option for shared storage, provides call history and phone bill itemization, gives users the ability to set their outgoing phone numbers and supports easy contact tracking. The company’s web site, https://www.bitrix24.com, still promises that you can get your Bitrix24 social intranet a/k/a collaboration site up in a matter of minutes if you go with one of the cloud options. Self-hosted installations -- which can run on top of Unix, Linux, Solaris, HP-UX as well as many versions of Windows -- may take as much as an hour. But they come with enough additional tools that you should be able to integrate the product with other tools you may be using. Bitrix24 provides easy-to-use, low maintenance collaboration tools for companies that don’t have the resources to roll their own.
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