JibberJobber: Web-based Relationship Manager vs. Desktop Relationship Manager

Warning: long post that can be used as a reference post for later.

I got the following email from a career coach this morning:

I’ve been trying to convince coaching clients to use JibberJobber. But I’m getting objections to “web-based systems”. They are concerned about security and want to be able to back up all their data locally.  Do you have any responses to these types of questions that I can provide to them?

I wish I had an amazing “oh my gosh you must do this and now you really get it” response, but I don’t.  Let me break this down into two different objections, with my thoughts on each:

It’s hard to use JibberJobber, in general.  It’s hard to put in the data, or it takes too much discipline to keep it going, or I have a sticky-note solution that seems to work just fine.

This coach isn’t directly asking this, but it has to be addressed because it might be the root problem.

If people aren’t ready to use JibberJobber as their relationship management tool, or as their job search organizer, nothing I do or say can change that.

I remember a time I spoke to 100 people and offered the audience 6 months of premium services.  3 people emailed me that week to ask for it.  97 people didn’t care.  They weren’t ready.

What would I have done, if I was in the audience?

Good Jason wants to say he’d definitely take advantage, use it, and get immense value out of JibberJobber.

Realistic Jason doesn’t think he’d use it at all.  Why?  Because it seems like a long-term tool, and Realistic Jason just knew he’d have a job offer in the next few weeks.  He didn’t need a long-term tool – just a pile of post-it notes and he’d be fine, until he landed.

Smart Jason now looks back and realizes how short-sighted that thinking was, and appreciates the idea of a long-term career management, relationship management system to use for the rest of his life.

When you are talking to your friends in a job search they are looking for right-now tools … tools that can help them right now!  JibberJobber is an awesome, amazing tool, but it doesn’t solve their pain RIGHT NOW!  It might solve many pains in years to come, but some people want RIGHT NOW relief.  And they tend to find it hiding behind job boards.  The only issue is, that relief is temporary and gives them a false sense of hope.

Now, when I speak, I offer, but if you don’t take it I don’t chase you, or try and convince you.  If you are ready, and know you are frustrated because of things that JibberJobber can help you with (like organizing your job search, or tracking were you send resumes, etc.), then you are ready to come, learn, do, invest (time).

Until then, I just share various messages and hope you think I’m smart/wise enough to listen to every once in a while.

When the pain is there, you’ll be back for JibberJobber.

Now, what about this online, in the cloud system?  Is the data safe and secure?  Or should I get a desktop system that I have complete control over?

This is one of two classic software questions that CIOs have ask about software they look at buying (or leasing).  (the other question is should we make it ourselves, or should we buy it from a vendor?)

Benefits of using a desktop system, like ACT!

  • Buy it once, you own it forever and ever. This is appealing, except every once in a while upgrades come out and you feel compelled to pay as much for an upgrade as you did for the original package, so the $100 list price is not really the final price.  Just give it a few years – the features will seem so outdated that either you stop using it or you feel compelled to keep forking over the money for upgrades.
  • You control all of the data… no one else can access it, ever. Yeah, unless your system gets hacked into (don’t worry, no hacker wants your CRM database – it’s too boring).  Oh yeah… YOU can’t access it from anywhere but your PC/laptop – if you need it, you are out of luck until you go home and login to your system.
  • You don’t have to worry about anyone else backing it up, because you can. But do you?  Or, will you restore it?  I’ve had about 4 computer crashes in the last 5 years and each time I had backups of Outlook (from Mozy.com).  But each time I just reinstalled fresh, without putting my backups in.  It was too much of a hassle (it really wasn’t much work, but it was more than I wanted to deal with).
  • When you get a new computer,  you can just install the disk again, and you’ll be up and running. Granted, that’s if you can find the disk.  I somehow seem to lose all of my software disks… 🙁

Benefits of going with something in the “cloud,” which is the current cool way of saying someone else hosts it on their server (formerly referred to as ASP (application service provider) or SaaS (Software as a Service)):

  • You really don’t have to worry about anything, except is the site down. Systems like JibberJobber (and salesforce and google docs and ___ (there are millions, I’m sure)) work really hard to ensure their system is up and running and accessible to you, from wherever you are – whether you are at your home computer, on vacation in Panama, accessing from a smart phone, or at your mother-in-law’s house.
  • You get all of the updated when they are released. When we fix a bug, add an enhancement, tweak a process, add a new feature, etc. you get that right away, without uploading a patch or an upgrade, or buying an addon.  The code sits on a server… when the developers push the new code to the server, everyone automatically gets it.  No effort on your part.
  • We take care of the backups. We backup your data, and our code, regularly.  The backups are treated similarly to how any large company treats their backups – with reverence and respect.  They put this data on a tape drive (weird, huh?) and take it off-site regularly (weekly?), in case the whole facility catches on fire… the tape drive can be used to restore the entire system.  If this happens we’ll be down for a while, but we’re in a position to get back up, with no effort on your part (just patience).
  • You get a say in the features we have, and the features you need. Because of the way a cloud system works, it’s easier for us to add enhancements and tweaks to the code than if we were doing the traditional (old-fashioned) software development.  As an example, let’s say we need to change a word on your screen.  We can do that easily, for all users, and keep it all consistent.  If we had a package like ACT!, we’d have to do it in version, and it would only work on certain versions… and getting that patch to you would be a nightmare.
  • We can try things out. LinkedIn “tries things out” all the time, throwing a new feature in to a certain set of users to see what they think about it without introducing it to everyone.  It’s sometimes frustrating for people to either see, or not see, a new feature, and then have it moved or taken away.  We don’t do that much (hardly at all), but it’s a great way to test an idea instead of pushing everything out all the time.

I have to admit, I’m rusty at this debate since I haven’t had to go through it in a corporate setting for a long time.  I’d love to hear other reasons by IT types, who have to evaluate this stuff regularly.

The bottom line, though, is that if someone isn’t ready to jump on JibberJobber, they won’t.  I can’t spend time chasing them and convincing them… sometimes no amount of talking will do.

What do you guys think?

7 thoughts on “JibberJobber: Web-based Relationship Manager vs. Desktop Relationship Manager”

  1. Well the “opportunity” that this represents is that the User wants their data when and where they want it. The ideal solution is neither client-based, nor server based. Synchronized across the tiers — Client, Server, or some other application access.

    Data could be subsetted to minimize transfer times or such, but it’s got to be highly available. Google, Facebook, and numerous other platforms want to lock up the data. Data has to be open — freely available, interchangeable, and in a open standard format.

    No one — Act, Google, Cardscan, or even Jibber Jobber — don’t have the “killer implementation”. imho.


    Personally I doubt that the “big” vendors will deliver it first. They think keeping everything “locked down” is in their best interest.

  2. My main worry about cloud computing and data storage is malicious hacking and cyber attacks.

    For me, local backup means storing data separately from one’s computer or network, such as on a CD, USB drive, or removable hard drive.

    It could be useful to have a button on JibberJobber that would download a compressed file, of one’s online data, to the local computer for backup, as mentioned above.


  3. @reinkefj – I agree….

    @Spence – good point. Premium users can export a lot of their stuff… I’ve been toying with the idea of one simple export button but am not sure how it would work since they are essentially exporting a relational database… what would that look like, and if they export it, what could they import it into later (except JJ)? Still noodling on that…

  4. Ah the issue is it safe. I was working with several clients in the early 1990’s about doing e-commerce. They did not want to put their credit card online because someone could steal it. My response was to ask them — “Do you give your credit card to a waiter? If so, do they take it into another room? If so, what are they doing with it?……

    On whether your data is safe? Cloud computing is rapidly taking over. How often do they REALLY back up their data on their computer? Ah come on, virtually none of us back up as frequently as we should. Put your stuff online!!

  5. Jason, I don’t have the expertise in backup methods. Maybe just CSV-formated files that would allow a user to quickly rebuild their files on JJ, in case a disaster happened on that end.

    But if you are already doing tape backups, perhaps the need is not so great if it’s not possible to maliciously change or erase the tapes. I suppose one precaution would be to have the tapes connected to the system only during backup operations.

  6. Marc, Nothing is perfect, of course. It’s true a waiter could steal your credit card number, but the number of possible suspects at a restaurant is much lower than in the cloud, and the losses are likely to be much more limited.

  7. I am putting all of my notes/documents in the cloud using Google Docs and Evernote. If there is any I am really concerned about I encrypt it but….

    My credit card is on file with just about everyone I pay bills with.

    I am more concerned about the data on my PC/Mac and should it get stolen.

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