Y our business is growing, the processes get more complex and at some point it becomes difficult to deny the necessity of finding some business tool or app that could give your business a boost by optimizing those processes.
As an IT company working in B2B sector we were looking for cloud or self-hosted solutions for:
- Project Management
- Document Management
After having somewhere like 8 test-drives (trials) we have found the one we decided to use. To be honest we were really excited and made a decision to run into a partnership with this company. This is the case, when you are happy to recommend a product, because you absolutely love it.
So, the product is ONLYOFFICE.
ONLYOFFICE is a cloud business service that enables you to manage projects, customer relations and documents in one place. So, the cloud B2B tool-set includes the different modules like Projects, CRM, Mail, Documents, Community and Calendar.
Originally started as Project Management tool for internal use (according to insider’s info) it has grown up to a complex business solution with cool HTML5 based online document editors (just like the Office365, Google Docs, but we found it more native-like probably…). The Office pack includes Document, Spreadsheet and Presentation online editors.
In 2015 Latvian-Russian guys have released the Enterprise Server Edition that could meet the requirements of those who really care for privacy (well, we don’t give a damn at this moment… but I bet there are people who do). And what’s absolutely fantastic, it became possible to integrate the online editors (Office kit) in your web-application at the price somewhere around $0.72/user, which we consider a fair deal! — Feel free to contact us if you are interested, we will do our best to get you the best quote possible 😉
But let’s get back to functionality stuff. What we really were looking for, was a strong Project Management and CRM service.
What we really liked in ONLYOFFICE was a minimalistic UI, still providing a deep project structure and clear functionality implementation at the same time.
Let’s start with Projects module
The Project is the main unit in Projects module. Basically it can be a website you are developing, in case you are a web-dev agency as we are. Then there are the milestones. Milestones combine the tasks within defined period of time. It could be “Alpha” or “Beta” milestone for example, considering you have some tasks that are related to Alpha version of the project and are accordingly grouped into “Alpha” milestone. Then there are the tasks and subtasks, what is quite clear…
Basically, we take every complex contract as a separate unit in Projects module. Then we split it into milestones based on the project stage, timeframe or department involved (Planning, Marketing, Server-related work etc). And after the stages have been defined we are setting up tasks to be assigned to responsible employees or contractors.
Additionally, there is a Gantt Chart, which is another nice way to build your project schedule and visually judge its progress.
Every single task has its own sections to enable project team collaboration. You can share notes and documents related to this particular tasks, which we find very useful.
Special thanks for ONLYOFFICE Editors. Our team members are working on different operating systems plus we don’t have to take the costs of traditional office packs. These editors are absolutely awesome. Based on HTML5 canvas they provide a complete feeling of nativity so you easily forget you are editing complex docs right in your browser without installing any additional software or plugins. Well done!
ONLYOFFICE provides full-functional Document, Presentation and Spreadsheet editors that support traditional document formats and can open, save and export files without any conversion issues.
All documents stored with ONLYOFFICE can be shared with the team or people outside the portal in two access modes: read-only and full access. The project/task docs are accessible for all members participating in this particular project or task.
So with Projects module and its functionality you can easily organize projects, switch team members and keep your staff aware of all processes and updates within a project or task
ONLYOFFICE CRM [Customer Relationship Management]
As a multi-service group working in different industries we needed a CRM that would ease our life in terms of communication with our clients. We also needed to distinct leads based on the service of their interest. For that purpose we utilize ONLYOFFICE CRM.
First thing we had to do was import of our existing contacts. It wasn’t an issue since all we had to do was exporting our current contact list in CSV format and then matching the file columns with CRM module fields. Easy!
Then we had to take care of future leads coming via our website’s contact form. Since we have a contact form on every single page (as a footer part) we wanted to assign different contact tags depending on the page subject. As an example, we are assigning a contact tags “E-Commerce” and “Opencart” in case it comes from this page. If it comes from Company Formation landing page we assign tags “Company formation”, “Business” and “Business Banking“.
ONLYOFFICE has a special website contact form feature to collect leads from your website, but we needed something more advanced to:
- Create or Update contact depending on its presence in CRM
- Assign tags depending on the service of interest
- Create a task-chain for managers (Callback, First contact, Followup etc)
We decided to use ONLYOFFICE API.
The methods we used were:
- Authentication – to receive a token used for future requests
- Get contact by contact info – to check email presence in CRM
- Create person – to create a contact of type person
- Create contact info – to update contact with details
- Add history to – to add client’s message as a note
- Add tag to – to assign tags
- Create task – to create the chain of tasks
We’ll cover another aspects and ONLYOFFICE use cases in our future posts.
P.S. If you are a hosting company ONLYOFFICE has something to offer you.