Guest Author - Violette DeSantis
Insightly is a popular customer relationship management (CRM) app featured in the Google Apps Marketplace. It is targeted to small businesses and currently is free for up to three users in a business. For small office and WAHM business owners it is an ideal solution if you are a Google standard or premier customer.
Although many users initially fall in love with the simplicity of it, they soon find it is a feature rich solution to manage both customer relations and projects in one program. While a service like 37signals offers up one application for contact management and another for project management, Insightly has been able to marry the two seamlessly.
Insightly offers the ability to manage tasks, contacts, organizations, opportunities, projects and emails. One of the best features is the ability to link an item to other items. The flexibility to link one task to more than one project or to more than one individual even if it is assigned to just the one person involved is helpful in many scenarios.
Many project management tools are so tightly structured that it means changing the way you organize your business as opposed to using a tool that can do business the way you want to. Insightly gives businesses the ability to easily make changes. Project managers can assign tasks to a project if they were created before a project was created.
In addition comments can be added directly to tasks. One competing CRM doesnít have the ability to comment on tasks. With Insightly, not only can you comment on a task, but you can include a file with the comment if a colleague needs something to complete their task.
Other great features include creating pipelines and activity sets for tasks, adding project milestones, and creating teams.
Security features include SSL security. In regards to project management privacy, certain items, like projects and tasks, can be assigned viewable to certain individuals or teams. However not all items within a project can be marked as private. All activity shows up in the global dashboard history and items like comments and notes arenít private, even if part of a private project.
Since Insightly is a Google app, it offers the added feature of being able to add the Insightly Gmail Gadget to a business email account. This feature allows users to save emails directly to Insightly, or easily add tasks, opportunities or projects on the fly. It also allows an email recipient to see contact and activity history for other in-house users when they send you an email. Without logging in, a user can quickly see anotherís current activity with ease.
Insightly works best as a CRM and project management tool for in-house collaboration. At this time there is no way to integrate users outside of a businessí Google apps account into Insightly. ManyMoon (another popular Google app) and 37signalís Basecamp, both offer the ability to collaborate with offsite project team members with more robust security features.
If a business is looking for more than what Insightly currently offers, down the road it is quite possible they will find more in Insightly when they look again. Insightly is responsive and they continue to add features regularly, just another reason why they are one of the most popular Google apps in the Marketplace.