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.

Thanks.

7 comments:

  1. We just made a change so Non-shared contacts now do not reveal any details to others. We're going to keep the default to 'visible to everyone' when you create a contact, but you can always change it yourself.

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  2. Thanks Anthony! That helps a lot!

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  3. Playing with Insightly has been fun. Looking for more insight into how best to use Insightly brought me to your blog. The big feature currently missing in Insightly for me is automated process functionality--email drips campaigns, tasks, calendar appointments, phone calls--all automatically generated as I step through a process of building a relationship or completing a project or opportunity. I will follow the blog looking for these features to become available.

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  4. I just signed up and am really pleased with the system so far. I evaluate new CRMs all the time (its a bad habit of mine...) Anyhow. Insightly really does solve the age old problem of project management and CRM being two different things (and I think in a little more elegant fashion than Solve360).

    I am looking forward to some reporting on sales pipleline, an android app, and would love to see an API. Fantastic so far.

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  5. Any news/update on the Mobile version ?

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  6. I'm thrilled to bits with Insightly. It echoes the aesthetic and ease-of-use of Basecamp and Highrise but has vastly better integration and functionality. Insightly provides everything we were using in Salesforce without the elephantine ponderousness, unattractive and laborious interface, and comically high cost.

    BUT: Right now Insightly is crashed, so my Saturday afternoon plan to set it up so it'll be ready for showtime around our company on Monday morning is shrewed, and my confidence about its stability has taken a knock. 37signals and Salesforce may be overpriced and frustrating but - they never crashed in the 1 year each I used them. Seems the Microsoft thingumajig that Insightly is running on has decided there are too many people using the system at the same time.

    I guess that's a good reflection of how fantastic it is but *guys!!* this is a business product for serious business use - start charging proper money for it right away, balance the usage and get proper revenue coming in!!! - never mind the crazy urge to give it away free!!!!!

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