One way to get employees to interact and be productive is to make them feel like they're working within the confines of a social networking site. You can manage such a feat by using Bitrix24, which combines traditional task, document, and work/time management with social networking apps. This web-based tool offers tasks, files, calendars, blogs, workgroups, photos, task comments, likes, and more.
Also read: Create a social intranet with Bitrix24
For the very small business, the Free version of Bitrix24 is ideal. It offers:
- 12 users
- Online storage of 5 Gb
- Social communications
- Tasks and projects
- Files and documents
The next level up is the Standard edition ($99.00/month), which ups the users to unlimited and gives you 50 Gb of storage. With the Professional edition ($199.00/month), you get more features, including records and time management, meetings, reports, and a unique domain name. There is also an Enterprise edition of Bitrix24.
For most small businesses, the Free account is sufficient. You'll have a full-blown CRM that includes the right amount of social-centric features to get your employees engaged. With the help of the Activity Stream, your company will be constantly updated with what's going on. Let's set up Bitrix24, and see how well it can serve your needs.
Set up your Bitrix24 account
To sign up for a Free account, go to the Bitrix24 site and enter the address you want associated with the site; a confirmation code/link will be sent to that email address. Click the link for the confirmation code, enter information for your Bitrix24 account, and click the Create button (Figure A). It won't take long for the site to be set up.
A minimal setup to get you up and running. (See an enlarged view of the image.)
Now click the Open Intranet button and log in to your site with the email address and password you used to set up the account. When you log in, you will receive two emails, both of which notifying you that two tasks have been created:
- Fill in profile data
- Invite new employees
These are the first steps you should take with Bitrix24. So... let's take care of them.
Fill in profile data
The profile data is information about the user. You can access this either by clicking the link in the email (sent from Bitrix24 to the account used to create your intranet), or by logging in to your Bitrix24 account and then following these steps:
- Click your name in the top right corner.
- Select My Profile from the drop-down.
- Click Edit Profile.
- Fill out all of the necessary information (Figure B).
- Click Save.
Invite new employees
To invite new employees to your Bitrix24 intranet, you need to do the following:
- Log in to your Bitrix24 site as the admin.
- Click Employees (under Company in the left navigation).
- Click the Invite Users button in the top right corner (Figure C).
- Enter a comma-separated list of email addresses in the resulting window.
- Personalize the message text.
- Click Invite.
All registered users will be listed. (See an enlarged view of the image.)
Once your users have been invited, it's time to start setting up the company structure.
Set up the company structure
In this section you will create departments for your intranet site; each department can have a parent department and a supervisor. To add a department to the company structure, do the following:
- Log in to your Bitrix24 site as admin.
- Click Company Structure (under Company in the left navigation).
- Click the Add Department button.
- Fill out the necessary information in the popup window (Figure D).
- Click Add.
You can only add a supervisor (not members) to the department. (See an enlarged view of the image.)
Unlike departments, you can add members to workgroups. The workgroups will be where various departments interact. To create a workgroup, do the following:
- Click All Workgroups (under Workgroups in the left navigation).
- Click the Create Group button in the upper right corner.
- Fill out the necessary information in all tabs (Figure E).
- Click Create Group.
You can add members later if you still have users who have not signed up. (See an enlarged view of the image.)
It's time to dive into the interface and use the tools. Since Bitrix24 is social networking-centric, your users shouldn't have any trouble getting up to speed on the interface.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for Techrepublic and Linux.com. As an avid promoter/user of the Linux OS, Jack tries to convert as many users to open source as possible. His current favorite flavor of Linux is Bodhi Linux (a melding of Ubuntu and Enlightenment). When Jack isn't writing about Linux he is hard at work on his other writing career -- writing about zombies, various killers, super heroes, and just about everything else he can manipulate between the folds of reality. You can find Jack's books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. Outnumbered in his house one male to two females and three humans to six felines, Jack maintains his sanity by riding his mountain bike and working on his next books. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website Get Jack'd.