Partner Testimonials: Bitrix Software As a New Level For Business Opportunities
During a business trip in February 2011, Dmitry Valyanov, Bitrix, Inc. President, and Nikolay Shulgin, Bitrix Director for DACH Region, had a meeting with Sander Buijs, the owner and CEO of iWebware BV, a Bitrix Gold Partner. Now the interview with Sander is available at www.bitrixsoft.com.
- (1888PressRelease) March 19, 2011 - During a business trip in February 2011, Dmitry Valyanov, Bitrix, Inc. President, and Nikolay Shulgin, Bitrix Director for DACH Region, had a meeting with Sander Buijs, the owner and CEO of iWebware BV, a Bitrix Gold Partner. This meeting covered both business topics and less formal issues concerning cooperation and future plans of Bitrix and iWebware.
Dmitry thought it would be a good idea to make an interview with Sander for our website. The interview would help to spread the word about the Bitrix Partner Programs and how a middle-sized company can truly benefit from the Bitrix Technology. I have been provided with the interview script made during the conversation between Dmitry and Sander. I think it can be really useful for our new-comers and those companies who are still hesitating joining the Bitrix Partner Network.
Quick Company Profile
iWebware BV is a privately-owned company developing websites and designing online applications. It was established in 2006 by Sander Buijs. The headquarters is located in Tilburg, NL with a production office in Davao City, Philippines. iWebware currently has a total of 22 employees. The company has the Bitrix Gold Partner status since 2009. iWebware was recognized as "Bitrix Reseller of the Year" and "Bitrix Site Manager Reseller of the Year" for 2010.
Q: Hi Sander, it's nice to finally meet you in person! So, let us start with some basic questions about how you get involved with Bitrix. So, our first question would be: When did you actually start working with us and what were the main reasons behind this decision?
A: Oh, it was back in 2008. I was very pleased with the flexibility in access permissions, the reasonable price, and the support provided for the product.
Q: Sander, could you tell us more about the process of switching to the Bitrix Platform. For example, what was the learning curve, how much did the training cost you and how you estimated the switch paid off?
A: The main reason we switched to Bitrix Site Manager is that it is a commercial software package with strong technical support. The CMS software we used before Bitrix needed to be customized for each project to suit the client's needs. Bitrix Site Manager allows flexible coding that enables us to customize a project according to the client's exact preferences but in less time than the previous CMS software we were using. Marketing Bitrix Site Manager to our clients is also easier than selling them a self-made CMS software package, as Bitrix is a globally-recognized professional CMS software with a solid reputation.
Q: And what about the learning curve?
A: We had a longer learning curve than we expected because we had difficulty scheduling formal training with our coders at one time as they were busy with existing projects at the same time. Transitions are always difficult and it required not only time and money but our patience and focus as well. However, in the end, seeing how satisfied our clients are, I would say our hard work has paid off.
Q: It is very nice to hear, indeed! And what do you think the main advantages of Bitrix Site Manager are?
A: Well, Bitrix Site Manager gives us the possibility to build sites that are flexible, user-friendly, and easy to maintain by the end user while providing us with a strong platform to build solutions the client is looking for. I guess those would be the main strong sides.
Q: So now you are actually not involved in massive code writing since you started to use our software, right? Does Bitrix Site Manager speed up your web development process?
A: Yes, it does! All of our coders are trained on Bitrix Site Manager, it's easier to switch coders and enrich older projects since it's all working on the same base application with the documents and API references always available at the vendor's website… or upon request.
Q: And what would be the main features of Bitrix Site Manager that you promote to your potential customers in regards to their web projects [that can be developed on the Bitrix Platform]?
A: We really emphasize that the Bitrix Site Manager CMS platform is easy to upgrade and manage content with, totally secure, scalable, and has a awesomely convenient front-end editor.
Q: You've just mentioned the security framework. Is a feature that really helps you sell your services more easily? Many software developers would argue that the price of a CMS is a more influencing factor for the end-client when looking for a website engine.
A: Marketing is easy if you believe in the product that you are selling. Bitrix' built-in security framework definitely helps make our job easier compared with the previous CMS platform we utilized. Security is a crucial selling point for us since we focus more on web shops, where it's important to have a solid, secure framework to protect the customers of our clients. So far, we haven't encountered any hacking issues with Bitrix. Sadly, I can't say the same for OSCommerce-our previous CMS platform provider.
Q: Were there any other CMS web applications that you were previously working with?
A: Oh yes, of course there were! Moreover, we built our own CMS! Our CMS was okay for the first 20 sites we developed. Later on, we discovered that our CMS was not quite suitable for large-scale projects and e-commerce solutions. And to tell you the truth, our CMS lacked structural homogeneity and was somewhat vulnerable to threat from the outside.
Q: What is your impression of open source CMS software products that become more and more massive on different markets? What I meant to ask is why you chose Bitrix Site Manager instead?
A: Although there are some really good open source CMS applications out there, we decided to go with Bitrix because of the solid security settings, easy upgrade possibilities and strong commercial support they provide us. Whenever we have questions and concerns regarding their products, they make sure they get back to us in less than 24 hours. We believe in investing in quality as well so we know that while it may cost significantly more than other open source applications, you can't really put a premium on peace of mind.
Q: And what would be your forecast of the CMS market development? Trends, opportunities, technological innovations? What do you expect to happen in the nearest future?
A: Well, in my opinion the trend right now is geared towards simplifying processes. We see a demand for a simple and affordable e-commerce solutions comparable to that of Magento. We're currently building a solution with a special template that we can change and customize within hours.
Q: What about our other flagship product - Bitrix Intranet? Have you had a chance to try out all its features and tools for internal collaboration? What is your general impression of this web application?
A: I should say that this product is a very robust application. And you are well aware that we are using it currently as our complete project management tool.
Q: Yes, indeed. I remember thought it was a bit painful to start using the Business Processes module, however, you've been using Bitrix Intranet for your internal needs quite successfully. What are the main advantages of Bitrix Intranet for you and you team?
A: Bitrix Intranet's main strengths would have to be the fact that this application is really easy to use, and that it is scalable with very effective features. Time management and project management tools are just great, and the social networking element present in Bitrix Intranet plays a very important role for team-building and more efficient collaboration inside a company.
Q: In that case, how would you estimate the market potential for Bitrix Intranet?
A: Well, it's difficult for me to tell you that since our focus has always been on content management systems like Bitrix Site Manager. However, we are starting to notice a growing market demand for Intranet / Extranet solutions recently.
Q: Sander, could you share with us your view on the social collaboration (Enterprise 2.0) market in general?
A: I believe that the social collaboration market - in its current condition - is very dynamic, and how people use the Internet is on the verge of reinvention. First of all, I think people are fatigued from having to post profiles on every new site to be able to communicate with colleagues, partners, clients, relatives friends, etc. And keeping track of 150 passwords - is really pain in the neck! Secondly, you keep hearing the proliferation of security problems like hacked accounts and identity theft brought about by these social networking sites. As I see it, a possible solution for connecting companies and people would be a collaborative suit with Intranet and Extranet capacities, like Bitrix Intranet. This solution should represent a shell that would combine all information into one database and cross-reference , making it easier to populate, maintain and delete, if necessary.
Q: What were your main sales or technological achievements in using Bitrix over the past year?
A: What we at iWebware are all proud of is the completion of our recent project, final.4textiles.com. This project was a real challenge for us in a good way! The project requirements and specifications forced us to implement a number of complex applications. I could write a book on their feature list alone!.. Also, as you know we received two awards from Bitrix in 2010, becoming "Bitrix Reseller of the Year" and "Bitrix Site Manager Reseller of the Year" for 2010. We really appreciate that! Thank you!
Q: You are very much welcome! Anything you would like to recommend for future development of the Bitrix Products?
A: I can't really comment much regarding future development of your products, but right now I can say that our team would definitely be able to utilize Bitrix Site Manager better if there were more training opportunities for us. This way we'd be able to really scrutinize the Bitrix Platform instead of just trying to hack around modules and components that may be pretty complex.
Q: Any recent Bitrix Site Manager of Bitrix Intranet success stories you would like to share with other Bitrix Partners and Clients?
A: There are certainly a few project worth mentioning! For example, www.printcontrol.nl (copy machine retailer) is one of the Bitrix platform projects that we've recently finished. Actually, after switching to the new CMS software, we felt strong enough to go ahead with several big projects like www.dehypotheekadviseur.nl (a website which promotes financial services) and www.arendonkshop.voorbeeldurl.nl (a mid-sized retailer of shoes). These are examples of projects we would never have bagged if we didn't opt for the new Bitrix CMS software. We have won these projects because of two crucial things for our business: our coding skills and experience combined with a perfect Bitrix software package.
Q: Sander, it was really a please to meet you in person and have this conversation. I hope you don't mind us publishing this interview on our website?
A: Not at all! Thank you for this opportunity to have a very nice chat with you! Good luck in finding new loyal Partners for your business!
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