I met Steve Ireland, the founder of Norada Corporation, a couple of months ago and at about the same time I was introduced to jobBlogs, a SaaS application blending CRM with Project Management and adding the special flavors of Business 2.0. I kept using JobBlogs ever since and also became one of their fervent evangelists.
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As the mashup name says, it’s got to do with your job or activity and it has also got to do with blogs. But not what you usually expect from blogs, yet their spirit of two-way communication, instant feedback and welcoming readers (in this case customers/clients) inside your organization.
Many clients. Endless activity. JobBlogs.
So what does jobBlogs help you achieve exactly? First of all, it gives you and your team access to company contacts, projects and assignments through a web browser. Or, if they’re iPhone lovers, they can use their cool new phone to get some work done. This model is perfect for companies with teams spread across a country, continent or around the world.
Then you have an extremely easy way to manage your contacts and your company’s customers. You can easily create a CRM database and add everything to it, including your own customizable fields, task lists, notes, events, call logs, maps, photos, Google Docs, Microsoft Office documents and much more. But don’t worry, you won’t have to recreate all your contacts all over again. jobBlogs allows you to quickly import contacts from different systems including Outlook Express, Outlook 2003, Goldmine and Highrise.
Once all the information you need is imported in your JobBlogs interface, you can start planning and completing your tasks and activities. Did I mention the interface looks awesome and you can add backgrounds to it, just as you do on your computer? As you can tell from the screen shots, I’ve chosen a photo of a beach.
Tasks are easy to add, manage, and move, but first you have to decide if you’re going to use the jobBlogs calendar or if you’ll just use its feed to have it integrated in your existing Outlook calendar.
A Blog for Each Project
And now the fun part starts: sharing and interacting! For each project a company works on, a blog is published. It can remain closed circuit or it can be shared with partners, the media, your current and potential customers, taking them on a real-time tour of what you’re company is working for.
On one hand, this is great for your team, as they can add comments, notes and ideas to each others’ current projects, making for instant feedback, ongoing brainstorming and effective collaboration. You can also have an instant overview of what those you manage are doing, their progress and their results. Everything on a blog can be edited, enhanced or adapted to new requirements. So instead of calling a meeting, conference call or starting a conversation over email, you can just change the importance and order to your team’s task list, add new milestones or change deadlines, giving everyone instant access to the updated version.
Why is jobBlogs so special? Why choose it over other solutions?
Most of the reasons I’m a bout to list here are personal. But I’m sure you’ll see they are valid points or your own business. First off, jobBlogs really helps welcoming the customers in from the very start. let’s say you have a product or service and want to launch it’s new version. You can create a jobblog listing the proposed new features and their respective benefits. Then share it with your brand evangelists, your loyal customers and a few potential ones to see what they think of it. You might realize you’ve been on the wrong track and actually add some useful features to your next version, or your customers might like the idea so much, they’d actually show interest in buying it. Brand evangelists might spread the word and get some investors interested. And the complete transparency is bound to gain you everyone’s trust.
As the project evolves, your customers can witness the new product coming to life, test it and join you at the launch party. This might seem a bit extreme for some companies, especially those fearing total loss of control or their competition picking up their ideas, but this is a truly business 2.0 road map. Besides, if everyone knows what you’re up to, your competitors would end up looking very silly if they dared copy your ideas.
Secondly, this system is really great for consultants, freelancers or account managers, especially when their work needs to be reviewed by several people from a client company. Setting up a blog with jobBlogs for each project help them keep track of your progress, review your work on the go, and allows you to keep them up to speed and have a relevant overview of all the assignments you’re handling for different clients. Spawning frm this idea, having a blog as a portfolio would also work perfectly. You can add images showing your best work, and use notes to explain each gig you worked on.
What I also love is the free accounts come with full privacy and security. I was too lazy to look for this information on the site at the time, so I know it directly from Steve. Why is this important? I have a friend who kept looking for online tools to help her better manage her day to day tasks. She wanted a free account and never got one as there were no guarantees when it came to your critical data being kept safe.
I could keep talking about how awesome jobBlogs is for hours, but the best piece of advice I can give you is to go ahead and test it. It’s free and easy and you’ll absolutely love it.
Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored in any way, it was written because I thought jobBlogs is a cool tool that everyone should know about. My opinions are my very own, but if I haven’t convinced you, feel free to check all the great customer feedback on jobBlog’s site.The screen shots are not exactly a work of art, but I’m sure you’ll get the picture 🙂