Insightly's formula for CRM, keep it simple

If you're a small business using Google Apps, you should consider this cloud-delivered application that integrates tightly with Google Apps and Gmail.

If you spend any time perusing the Google Apps Marketplace, you'll notice that the top CRM application is the one offered by Insightly, with more than 250,000 customers.

The secret to that success lies not only in its integration with Google Apps, but in its simplicity. Just ask BECA, a non-profit organization that facilitates technical school scholarships for Nicaraguan high-school students and uses the service to monitor their progress.

"Our entire organization is staffed by graduates of the program," said Walter Hunchak, founder and executive director of the organization. "We're not talking about power computer users. These are people with basic skills."

BECA uses Insightly to closely track the scholarship application process, attaching supplemental information using Google Docs. Over time, those records keep growing, as coordinators document student onboarding and academic progress. Because of the distributed nature of the organization, everything is scanned—so that this process is entirely paperless and so that different coordinators can support students as necessary.

"Simplicity was really a key in getting this applicaiton off the ground," Hunchak said.

Insightly's features include integration with Google Apps and Gmail, mobile applications for both Android and the Apple iOS platform, task management, and built-in project management. 

There is a free version of Insightly that you can try, but the "Starter" edition is priced at $29 per month for up to six users, 6 gigabytes of storage, and 25,000 contacts. 

Here are some more impressions about the Insightly service, from one of its customers, Iron Horse Brewery: