Today, Wrike launched a free version of their project management software into the Google [s GOOG] Apps Marketplace.
Wrike’s founder and CEO Andrew Filev tells me they are committed to the free and premium versions. He says the free version will continue to improve as Google expands their API to allow greater flexibility for building off of the Google ecosystem of applications.
The press release announcing the launch specifically mentions two groups who should benefit from their new offering: Solopreneurs (Wrike’s term and I like the image it suggests) as well as bigger teams. The solopreneurs may come to the free version because of the price, but stay for the power of Wrike’s task-focused approach. Bigger teams will also benefit from the price, but may be especially interested in the fact that though the free version is limited to five power users, you can add an unlimited number of collaborative users and host an unlimited number of projects (see the table below for the feature differences between the free and premium versions). While hardcore enterprise users will want the premium/paid version with its powerful Gantt charts, many users will benefit from this new freemium option.
Wrike is built on the idea of real time project collaboration, where the most important thing in the software is real time data crowdsourced from users. That means they have to be where the users are doing their work. In a recent interview, Filev told me, “…activity streams are cool and helpful, but you want the real time data available. As soon as the data gets outdated, the software becomes useless. Go where the data is.”
Wrike’s plan is to go where people are already doing their work — in this case Google Apps — by integrating with Gmail™, Google Docs™, and Google Calendar™. (Wrike already has integration with Jive.) This will allow users to easily integrate Wrike’s project management tools without making great changes to their current work practices.
Filev says users can upgrade and downgrade at anytime. Wrike is comfortable with this approach as it fits with their vision for the product and their sense of their — and their users’ — business models. Filev says there is enough additional value in the premium version that they are not concerned with cannibalization and look forward to being seen as a flexible choice. By being able to up and downgrade at will, users can align their Wrike relationship with the changing needs of their business. During times of complex projects or need for more power users — Wrike’s premium product is the choice. If business changes to revolve around simpler projects — Wrike’s free product is available.
From my conversations with Filev (my prior Wrike coverage and a recent podcast we did together), I’ve come to believe that he and Wrike have an enlightened view. He says, “the experience of using different cloud apps should be fluid…The future is going to be different. It’s less likely to be one giant provider [in the cloud] — best of breed across the cloud” is more likely to be the model. As a result users will be more engaged in choices about which tools are best for their work and the payment scheme that is best for their business.
Are you feeling more comfortable with the options offered by freemium tools? Are you confident that these are real business model choices versus bait and switch?
Images courtesy of Wrike.