Bitrix Intranet Editor's Review


Editor's rating

The editor's rating is calculated based on the average of the following criteria, rated on a
scale of 1 of 5:

  • Installation: 5
  • Features: 5
  • Interface: 4
  • Customization: 5
  • Help and support: 5

Bottom line

"An extremely secure, robust, and easy-to-use intranet solution that provides meaningful business interaction features with a social touch at its core." - Ahmad Permessur, Editor - HotScripts.com

Pros and cons

Pros

  • It has 100% open-source code that includes a development API.
  • It comes with a great task and time management system.
  • It is bundled with a CRM application for managing leads, deals and contacts efficiently.
  • It has great support for workflow and business processes with a drag-and-drop business process editor.
  • It is extremely secure and comes with several security and backup features.
  • It has great integration with protocols and services like LDAP, MS SharePoint, CalDAV and MS Outlook.
  • It has a decent built-in design editing and customization tool.

Cons

  • It lacks integration with commonly-used 3rd party services.
  • Its interface could be a tad more simplified and usable.

Detailed review

Bitrix® Intranet is a PHP-based intranet application that provides a private and secure environment composed of intuitive tools with which your employees can network and collaborate. It combines traditional groupware features — like document sharing, an employee directory, content creation, and a calendar — with social features — like activity streams, groups, a blog, wiki, and instant messaging. The combination works to further encourage productivity and engagement across your organization.

Installing Bitrix® Intranet was fairly simple. The wizard guided me thoroughly through the different steps, all the while providing ample system verifications. Configuring some of the advanced features such as instant messaging, video conferencing, and LDAP authentication did require some additional post-installation configurations. These — along with other performance enhancement tweaks for caching, database sharing, and replication — demand decent server manipulation skills, but are properly documented in the manual. Bitrix® Intranet is best installed on a dedicated machine for optimal scaling and performance.

When the installation was complete, I was brought to the Intranet Portal homepage, logged in as an administrator. This is the same section that most intranet users will have access to. Specific features and options that appear will depend upon their permission level. The pre-populated sample data proved to be extremely useful in giving me a jump-start for configuration.

Bitrix® Intranet is a highly modular application, shipped with several modules that can be enabled and disabled from the control panel. Each enabled module provides its own set of configuration options, and can in turn be made accessible to only a portion of intranet users through an advanced access control mechanism. Each can be enabled for a particular department or group, and the different access rights can be fine-tuned on a per-user basis. Access rights can be very granular — for example, you can grant C-level staff permission to update the internal blog, limit commenting to managers, and allow the rest of your users permission only to read the blog.

One of the strengths of Bitrix® Intranet is its minimal configuration requirements, since most modules have been cleverly designed to adapt across different types of companies. Layout customization is also easy. Bitrix® Intranet is bundled with a couple of design skins that allow you to change the look-and-feel of your intranet. Although not very creative, the themes serve their purpose well and are lightweight and aesthetically pleasing.

To customize the layout of any page, Bitrix® employs a revolutionary on-page editing feature. With the “Edit Mode” button toggled on, all on-page components bring up their respective option sets when double-clicked. You can also drag-and-drop elements across your page to rearrange their position. For more comprehensive changes, the “Edit Page” feature provides an advanced WYSIWYG editor that allows the addition of different components to your page. One nice feature is that you can mix and match different components on a single page regardless of its section. For instance, you can add a component to your blog that shows list of upcoming events from your calendar or even a component that syndicates RSS feeds from an external source.

Bitrix® Intranet isn't just an information and file sharing platform, but also offers several key features aimed at making businesses more productive. Its Web Forms feature provides an easy way to design and create forms to capture any type of information. This information can be assigned to business processes for verification and approval.

Bitrix® Intranet also provides a drag-and-drop flowchart feature for you to create business processes for several information workflows (not necessarily tied in to documents). For example, an employee can make a leave request from his portal, which is routed through a business process to his manager for approval.

The overall interface of the Bitrix® Intranet is simple and clear, yet it packs in a lot of power and in-depth detail. The application makes great use of AJAX to provide cross-content auto-complete search, on-the-fly sort and filtering and inline editing.

Several sections share many similarities with social media sites, to provide intranet users with a familiar and intuitive experience that is easily understood at a glance. Real-time activity streams, instant messaging, video conferencing, group discussions, idea exchanges and voting are all areas where Bitrix® outdoes competitors on the social aspect.

Bitrix® Intranet also comes with an Extranet module. The Extranet is a great way of opening up part of your intranet portal to people outside of your organization, such as suppliers, partners or clients who need access to or share certain information. Security and confidentially is a key factor for any intranet, and Bitrix® Intranet has tightly regulated security settings ranging from SSL support, a one-time password, a web antivirus and intrusion log.

Now, a bit of technobabble. Bitrix® Intranet is a platform that works well with the latest web technologies. Its calendars offer two-way sync with Outlook for entries and tasks. It can also import CalDAV calendars from an external source or export to iCal. Bitrix® Intranet's instant messaging feature can work entirely within the product or off a Jabber server so that it can be used on the desktop. Mobile access is also extremely well covered via applications that work across iOS, Android, etc. Finally, there's even WebDAV protocol support via Firefox plugin for viewing and editing document in MS Office suite.

Overall, Bitrix® Intranet is an excellent solution that provides enterprise-level features and stability. The free modules shipped with the application will help prevent soaring costs of using multiple applications and services. The social feel baked in to virtually all the groupware features complements the collaborative and productive environment. Whether your organization is small or large, Bitrix® Intranet deserves your thoughtful consideration.

Screenshots

 
Disclosure

This is an editorial review; not a recommendation. All editorial reviews, some of which we may receive compensation to perform, express our objective findings and experiences with the specific product (including version) under review. The review expressed is of the editor only. Any product claim, statistic, or other representation should be verified with the provider.