New in CRM Online Spring ‘14: Insights

Customers licensed for the Professional edition of CRM Online now receive for free a new integration to Insights for Microsoft Dynamics CRM.    In this post I will walkthrough the functionality and explains what’s available for on-premise customers.

What is Insights for Microsoft Dynamics CRM?

Insights is a Microsoft-licensed variation of the InsideView product that is now bundled into the CRM Online Professional license.  It is not deployed by default, but it only takes a few simple steps to add this functionality to your instance.  Once deployed, you receive a new HTML widget on your Contact, Account, Lead and Opportunity forms that pulls market data for that person / organization from InsideView’s data aggregation engine and embeds this into your CRM UI.   If you are familiar with the historic integration between InsideView and Dynamics CRM it is similar, but re-skinned and now free for CRM Online Professional customers.  Here’s how Insights looks in CRM 2013 on the Account form:


Here’s what you get with Insights for Microsoft Dynamics CRM…

Data Enrichment

Insights will automatically attempt to match your CRM Accounts against InsideView’s database (they have millions of company and contact profiles from around the world).  If the match is good, you can enrich your CRM record from InsideView’s data via the SYNC button:


This will pop a mapping screen allowing you to selectively choose which of your CRM fields you would like to overwrite with InsideView’s data:


Note, this is a one-time update only.  A copy and paste if you like, you are not establishing a 1-way integration.  A lot of this data will be fairly static though, so I don’t think this is a limitation and you can repeat this process on demand whenever you like.

The experience is identical on the Contact form.   If your CRM Contact can be matched to InsideView’s database you can enrich your data set via the SYNC button there:


Another data enrichment option back on the CRM Account form is you can search InsideView’s database of Contacts for that Account and easily insert any of those into your CRM.   Going back to my DELL example:  I go to my CRM Account record for DELL.  I click on Insights’ PEOPLE link.  I search for “North America Sales”, I find a key contact I want to connect with, so I click the SYNC button:


Insights attempts to match to an existing CRM record for me but this Contact is net new for my CRM, so I go ahead and take up Insights’ offer to create a new Contact for me:


And just like that I now have a key sales contact added to my CRM, along with the details I need to reach out to them.  This sort of thing demoes very well:



The next cool thing we get with Insights is help with actually getting introduced to folks like this.   The Connections feature will aggregate all the connections you and your colleagues have stored out there in LinkedIn and in Facebook and also the Contacts residing in their Outlook and it will tell you if someone within your circle of acquaintances has a connection to your CRM Contact.

There is an opt in process to this of course.  You and your colleagues will need to go into the Connections setup and follow some simple instruction to add each of your Contacts into the mix:




The Facebook import simply required authorization.  The LinkedIn import required an export/import process but InsideView have done a great job of streamlining that, it took only a a few clicks.   The Outlook import is similar, requiring you do an export to CSV from Outlook manually.  There is no mapping required, once the data is exported you just select the file and click Go.

Something to think about here is the value of these Contacts.  LinkedIn has increasingly become non-personal.  I wouldn’t know 90% of my Connections in LinkedIn,  However, the Contacts in my Facebook and in my Outlook I do know and yet those connections may not be common knowledge for others in my Organization and I in turn may not know which Organizations my colleagues are trying to connect with.   Aggregating everyone’s circle of acquaintances and then sharing this out within the Organization to identify connections and enable introductions is a very powerful tool.

Stalk (Without Stalking)

The third major feature in Insights is the ability to have the latest news related to your prospects,, customers and competitors funneled directly into your Inbox each week.   In Insights this feature is called Watchlists.   Usage is simple enough, if you want to be kept up to date simply locate the record in CRM, go to the Insights widget and then select Watchlist from the FOLLOW menu:


Any news, posts, etc. that Insights catches will be accumulated into a daily or weekly digest and emailed directly to your inbox, keeping you nice and informed.   They monitor a pretty good range of online media and social networks for you (30,000 sources!).  Here’s an example from my inbox:


Options for On-premise Customers

If the CRM Online Professional license isn’t for you then InsideView have their classic offering for Dynamics CRM.  

The skinning lacks the CRM look and feel, but the functionality is the same:


And there is also an Enterprise edition available that allows you to build lists from their database and then pull those into Dynamics CRM via a simple export/import process:


Getting Hands On / Demoing Insights

To get your hands dirty with Insights simply spin up a CRM Online Trial and then follow InsideView’s instructions to enable Insights.

To try it out on an on-premise installation you can request a 30-day trial here.  You CRM Org does not need to be IFD enabled, except to enable the SYNC feature (as that feature has Inside View writing into your CRM).

I think its awesome that Microsoft have bundled this into CRM Online.   And in many cases this must be a no brainer for On-premise customers too.

1 thought on “New in CRM Online Spring ‘14: Insights

  1. Pingback: What’s New in CRM Online Spring ‘14 / Service Pack 1 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM | GT // CRM

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