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3/21/2011
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Binfire Boosts Project Management In Collaboration App

The cloud-based software gets a real-time, interactive whiteboard, tagging, and free-form search.

Binfire, which combines project-management tools with collaboration capabilities, added free-form search, tagging, and an interactive whiteboard to the newest version of its eponymous project-collaboration software, released Monday.

The company's software-as-a-service (SaaS) based application is part of a growing trend, as businesses increasingly invest in hosted project management programs, according to researchers. As an overall category, SaaS is growing, Gartner reported, and segments such as project management, customer relationship management (CRM), and portfolio management are enjoying spectacular growth, the research firm said in a report. For example, CRM accounted for 24% of the SaaS market in 2009; enterprise content management accounted for only 4% of the SaaS market that year, Gartner found.

Binfire hopes to carve out its share of the market by offering a free version of its software. In June the company plans to offer a subscription-based version with more features and storage, David Robins, founder and CEO, told InformationWeek. However, the developer will continue to deliver the free edition, with 10 gigabytes of storage, he said.

Monday's software release can support up to 100 users in multiple offices. New features include searches based on tags, users, status, or text; status reporting via secure tweets; private and project folders; document management including file version and file locking; user categories and permissions; interactive whiteboard; layers; advanced drawing functions; tagging of tasks and milestones; dependencies for tasks and milestones; and the ability to paste images and PDF files onto the whiteboard, according to Binfire.

"You can create multiple whiteboards with your team. Everything is all the same to all users. If you're brainstorming with your team, everything you draws or do is saved. The whiteboard has group chat, too, so you can talk. It's a great collaboration tool. We're really emphasizing that collaboration," Robins told InformationWeek. "There are a lot of project management companies, but we are really not just doing project management. We are adding collaboration. We have people in Israel doing development and we have people in Boston. We use our own software to do the development. Binfire has all the collaboration features you need for a team that is not located in one room. Today, a lot of teams work like that."

Since the software saves all notes, comments, and chats, users easily can search Binfire's record of meetings and collaborative work efforts if a question comes up, said Robins. Meeting participants can annotate documents in the whiteboard, and drawings immediately are viewable by all group members, he said. This makes meetings more productive, and reduces the risks of introducing errors caused by the use of the wrong documentation or notes, said Robins.

"Our tools help the project manager, team members, and other stakeholders in a project to be more productive and have a clear picture of the project status at all times," he said.

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