Sunday, 21 February 2010

Importing Contacts

We added a new feature to Insightly today, a contacts file importer. It imports CSV or comma separated value text files which almost all contact manager applications allow export to, and which Microsoft Excel also understands.

You can start by clicking the "Import Contacts" hyperlink in the header of the Contacts tab.

It's a very easy twostep process of uploading the CSV file, then mapping your files fields to the contact and organisation fields within Insightly. We try to match most of the fields for you automatically from looking at the headers, but those we cannot find a match for will be highlighted in yellow.

After matching all the appropriate fields, we will import all the contacts and organisations and send you an email when it's finished. It could take a few minutes if you have hundreds of contacts to import.

If you are not happy with the final results (maybe the fields were not mapped correctly), you can easily roll back the import and attempt it again.

We will be progressively adding some comprehensive documentation around the whole system over the next couple of weeks to make a few of these features a lot more clear.

Monday, 15 February 2010

App Tabs in Firefox

Insightly runs great in the leading browsers, and we test on Firefox, Chrome, IE and Safari.

If you use Mozilla Firefox as your primary browser, a great add-on is available called App Tabs. It allows for small tabs to load on the left hand side of the browser window every time you open Firefox, and it automatically logs you right into Insightly.

This means whenever you need Insightly, it's right there in a little tab on the left hand side. Very convenient.

This feature is slated to be built right in to Firefox 4.0, but you can get it now with the App Tabs add-on at:

Sunday, 14 February 2010

So what's Insightly all about ?

I thought it apt that the first post on the Insightly product blog should be a sort of a vision statement about what this software is all about, and where it's heading. A sort of manifesto if you will.

In essence Insightly boils down to bringing business communication, CRM, and project management together into one applications - topped with search across all three. We're trying to un-complicate business software by removing the need to context switch between these applications, while wrapping it all up in a slick web interface that's both fast and simple to use.

And there are big wins and advantages to doing this. Having a full and accurate history of communication between you and your client can prove invaluable down the line. And having file attachments right there next to the contacts, projects, or opportunities they relate to helps with things like making sure everyone knows where to go to get that latest version of the proposal.

Combining email with these other services mean people use the CRM and project management side of the software more too. One of the big problems with CRM and project management software is people just don't use it, while email is almost universally one of the most used application in the workplace daily. Combining them all together means that CRM and project management get used more, almost serendipitously, through all the foot traffic going past for email. It's a simple trick that maximises the use and value of the resources you've paid for.

And wrapping it all together into a cohesive product is great search. It's essential that search is prominent and easy to use when you're dealing with this much information, and it becomes doubly powerful under these circumstances. We implemented search across everything, including every single word in every single email - so you can find that one email you were looking for really fast. Or that one really important file attachment you know that client sent you three months ago.

It's ambitious, and we're not fully done yet - but Rome wasn't built in a day and we're only in beta. We've got the bones of a great experience already, and now we're getting on to building the things you can only get a feel for once you start actually using the application.

Amusingly we've still yet to put the majority of the 'insight' into Insightly - but I wanted to give you a general feel of what enhancements are coming up. A lot of work is going to go into the email experience, and leveraging working with email. We've got a great example in Gmail of what a good email experience should be like, and we need to build into that some leveraging of contacts, opportunities and projects too, as well as expanding what email providers we draw from. We also want to expose some email metrics too, like how many times have you emailed this person, what time of day they respond fastest to emails etc. We can do a lot there, because all that information is embedded in email histories.

This year we will also be expanding the form factors we're designing Insightly for to include the mobile phone, and the touch based tablet. It's important to have all this information in an easily accessible and portable form factor so were working towards that.

Also customisation of Insightly is coming up. In the back end we've built a lot of options to allow for customisations to suit the way you work, but we have not exposed any of those through the interface yet, so that's coming.

If you have any feedback you would like to give, please don't hesitate to drop us a line. This is a process that requires input from customers to make it work, so the more you give the better the product will be.