wpeF.jpg (1250 bytes) SharkWare to ACT! 
Data Conversion Service

Swim out of the Jaws into ACT!
C I Corporation - ACTConvert.com
ACT! - Data Conversions

To send your file for data migration:
Email to: Convert@CICorp.com

"Thanks Rick, this is a God send."

Including the newest version of ACT!

The Problem: wpe10.jpg (1316 bytes)

Many people want to convert from SharkWare to ACT!, but up until now there has been no easy way to do it, without retyping the many details.

As reported on SharkWare.Com, as of March 31, 2002 technical support for SharkWare has been discontinued. 

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From SharkWare.Com

"Sharkware software is no longer sold by Multiactive or Maximizer
and the company will stop providing Technical Support on Sharkware products as of March 31, 2002.

To upgrade Sharkware software to Maximizer,
please contact a Multiactive Sales Rep. "

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Harvey Mackay
Inventor of SharkWare

Multiactive bought SharkWare from CogniTech and its founder, Harvey McKay, author of "How to Swim With the Sharks, Without Being Eaten Alive."  His books and seminars were highly successful, but his contact management software now sleeps with the fishes.

Sharkware went "belly up" leaving thousands of dedicated users dead in the water.  Sharkware can't swim in Windows XP.

Sharkware received some fairly good reviews in its day, for its user friendliness.  It was an early user of the Sybase/Microsoft SQL data format.  It had Opportunities, Campaign Management, and an Internet Lead Utility built in.  But it could not get the market share and acceptance of its competitors such as ACT!

MultiActive, who also produces Maximizer, have created a SharkWare to Maximizer Conversion Utility.  Most SharkWare users naturally receive news of this, and will tend to stay with MultiActive. 

wpe15.jpg (1125 bytes) This should provide a great opportunity for Interact Commerce Corporation to swim in and "gobble up" customers from SharkWare.  But up until now there has been no complete way to convert from SharkWare to ACT!   Thus there has been no way to minimize Maximizer's mouthful, and maximize the opportunity for ACT!.

wpe24.jpg (973 bytes) The Shark.Map file provided inside the ACT! Import feature only brings in the Contact data (and no secondary contacts), without the important activities (calls, meetings, todo's), history, notes, groups, or email addresses.  So, you're only left with basic rolodex information.  Activies were stopped.  Groups were eaten alive.  "History was history."  Customers will not want to throw overboard hundreds of man hours of data entry with SharkWare.

wpe12.jpg (1174 bytes) We have received a lot of nibbles from many Sharkware customers swimming around looking for a contact manager and some way to convert their years of data entry. Maximizer's utility to convert from SharkWare does a pretty good job at preserving the activities, notes, and history.  But there was no utility to convert from SharkWare to ACT!  Similar to our other "impossible" conversions, such as for Goldmine and Maximizer, we created one, building up on our SharkFox.com and ACTFox technology.

Beneath the similar user interfaces of ACT! and SharkWare, are some complex tables, index keys, and data relationships.  ACT! and SharkWare store their contact data in different ways, using differing fields and approaches.  ACT's complex .BLB file is especially challenging to work with, which stores user information, notes, and attachment references.  One small error, and the file is corrupted.  This is perhaps why no one has yet created an effective data conversion program. 

For years, Sharkware provided easy to use utilities to gobble up ACT! customers.   Also, MulitiActive's main product Maximizer enjoyed the strategic advantage of being able to almost completely convert data from ACT! - while ACT! was unable to do that in the other direction.   Once an ACT! database was easily assimilated into Maximizer, there was no way back.

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SharkWare-to-ACT! Conversion

The Solution: wpe13.jpg (1100 bytes)

The "SharkWare to ACT Conversion Process" is a series of procedures and programs which convert any SharkWare database into any ACT! version format.  We can convert your:

How long Does It Take?

We have refined the process down to about 3-4 hours. We've put the data back and forth between ACT! and SharkWare many times over the years.  Usually we do the job overnight, so people can leave off with SharkWare one day, and start with ACT the next day.

As different organizations use SharkWare and ACT! in different ways, we would like to have a phone number to call someone familiar with your database, just in case we have questions about unusual particulars during the conversion.

How do you send to ACTConvert the files to work on?

Your data should first be compressed, using a program such as WinZIP or PKZIP. This is to make the file small, so that it can be sent more quickly. It will be sent in the form of a SharkWare.ZIP file. When we are done converting your database, we will send you an ACT_DATA.ZIP database file to uncompress and use with ACT!

The files can be sent by either technique:

1. By email to Convert@Cicorp.com
- if your SharkWare.ZIP is a small (under 1 megabyte) email attachment.

2. Upload to our secure server using our convenient, easy web based uploading form

Go to https://WeTransfer.com
Select the file such as "MyDatabase.zip"
Send to Convert@CICorp.com
Enter your email address at your company
Message is optional, such as a password if necessary
click Transfer

3. or Upload to our FTP site

Either way, your data is kept in the strictest confidence.


Which files do I need to send?

A complete list is included at the above link.  A MaxZip.Bat file, placed in the SharkWare EXE folder, will get the proper files automatically.  Or, you can create a compressed "Zip" file on your own.  Please do not send the attachments folder, as this may have hundreds of Word processing, Excel spreadsheet, and PowerPoint files.  These do not need to be converted, and only make the Zip file larger.  This makes it take longer to send your files to us.

How do you receive the converted ACT! Database?

When we are done with the process, we will call and send you an email with the ACT_DATA.ZIP file attached (if it is a small database), or a link to download the file with your browser. For your security, this folder will be have an unguessable name. In addition, we will encrypt the ZIP file. We want zero chance that anyone else will get your data.

How much does it cost?  

Our Consulting Rates - Usually the job takes about 3-4 hours, for about US$ 200-300.   
The cost depends on several factors:

We can provide you an estimate at no cost or obligation.

For some clients, we do the conversion on a weekly basis at a substantial discount.  For example, a salesman who likes to use SharkWare, can send his database to his Sales Manager who uses ACT! for activity analysis.  This way they are both happy.

What are the limitations?

Some features of SharkWare have no direct or easy equivalent in ACT!  But we can discuss alternatives or ACT! Add-Ons for such features as:

Each conversion improves the process as more and more of these limitations are overcome. 

What if there are errors?

We do a thorough check to make sure all the information that is possible, comes across from Sharkware to ACT! 
For example, we perform a Field Name Checking procedure.  You will find an ACT Admin record used for this check.   But if we miss anything the we should have converted, we do that at no additional cost.  Please keep in mind that the reason this conversion was not included in ACT! was that it is very difficult.

Can I just buy the program?

We have been working to develop a generic software package that "does it all" but this has proven difficult as there are a surprising number of variations in the way people use SharkWare and ACT!  Plus, the Shark data is not always in the right place and may require some cleanup preparation. It's the exceptions that require special data handling.

The process still involves a number of expensive different programming tools which must be bought from software companies.

This list does not include the all important special programs and scripts written to make the conversion work.  So it is best converted by a qualified database technician who already owns and has experience with these tools.  

Even if we were able to create one conversion program, you would probably only need it for a one-time run. The program (and possible technical support) would cost more than our service work to do it, anyway.  You might not use these database tools again and they would sit on your shelf.

We take care and run cross checking routines to verify that the data has converted properly.  We know what to look for. The process is getting better and more refined just about every day.  So you benefit from the latest refinements.

How is this different from what Intellisync does?

Intellisync can convert most of the contact data, and activities for Palms, and other simple rolodex systems.  But, unlike Intellisync, we also retain the relationships - the way a contact relates to the activities, groups, histories, and notes.  After an Intellisync conversion, the contacts, activities, groups, histories, and notes are separate entities.

Do you have any references?

We sure do. Please Click here - for example:

Rick:  Thanks for your good service.  I have been using the converted ACT!
database from Sharkware for a few days.  As far as I can  tell, everything
is in order.  Best Regards,

John Stipp, ]CharlotteOfficeSpace.com

We also have received very positive feedback from ACT! Certified Consultants and commendation from Interact Commerce Corporation senior executives from around the world.  This has "evened the playing field" with SharkWare, which was long able to convert from ACT!   Before SharkWare was able to assimilate ACT! files, but not vice versa.  Now ACT! can convert from SharkWare equally well.

Why doesn't ACT! include a better SharkWare importer with the software?

That is a good question.  If ACT! did, we would not have bothered developing the procedure. 

For one thing, it takes a number of different software packages to accomplish the job: Sybase SQL, Sequitter Codebase, Microsoft Visual Studio and ZedTek's ZTreeWin.  This would be too expensive.

It may come down to one word: "BLoB."  ACT's BLB file stands for "Binary Large oBject."  This is where the Notes, Email addresses, Attachment paths, Passwords, Usernames, etc. are stored.  Blob is a good name for it.  It is a complex file, and one wrong byte corrupts it.  So special care must be taken to ensure the information from SharkWare goes into the right place.

The conversion process takes more than a simple MAP file.  Other programs, such as Outlook, can be easily imported.  It is just a matter of matching the fields from one data file into ACT!'s structure.  But SharkWare's data structure is not that simple.  

Another obstacle is the date format used in ACT! Instead of storing March 15, 2001 as "03-15-2001", ACT! stores this as "ZJ1D!" This was done to save bytes of storage space while storing the date as well as the time of day. So simple field mapping cannot be used, and a special conversion function must be used. So it may come down to another word - ZJ1D!

We are working to develop something that could be included in the ACT! product.   But it would have to be compact enough, easy to run, and fit well into the ACT! menu system.  That is a challenge in itself.   So, for now, it is a special process.

Who developed it?

It took someone knowledgeable and determined (stubborn) enough to pave a path for many frustrated SharkWare users to move in to ACT!  Rick Shaddock is an expert in contact management databases and database design.  He has used both ACT! and SharkWare since they hit the market in the early 1990's. He has performed various experiments on the products, such as importing over 1 million records to see if it will blow up ACT! (It didn't, but ran very slowly.)

As our Chief Contact Converter, he has been both an ACT! Certified Consultant (1992 - 2001) and SharkWare Consultant.  He has achieved certification in other contact managers, and as a Microsoft Certified Professional.  He has proven himself in the field, handling hundreds of clients, taken the required advanced seminars, and passed the exams with the highest marks.  

Dr. Shaddock (PhD in Computer Science) did his graduate work and dissertation on relational database modeling theory. He is proficient with the programming tools needed to develop the process:  ACT SDK, CodeBase, Btrieve, Open Data Base Connectivity (ODBC), Structured Query Language (SQL), Microsoft Access and Microsoft Visual Studio - including Visual Basic and Visual FoxPro.

Why did you do it?

In order to accurately and objectively advise our clients which is best, C I Corporation puts its own company database in one or the other, when a significantly new version comes out in ACT! or SharkWare.   We want to keep on top of the latest features of all the major contact managers, and be able to compare and contrast them.

This way we can speak from years of daily hands-on experience. Clients asked "Why is ACT! better than SharkWare?"  We wanted to be able to give an experienced answer.   Some consultants can only offer advice about the one program they are certified in.  At C I Corporation, we do our best to try all the major options, and compare and contrast them, in order to call ourselves consultants.

Like you, when it is time for a switch, we want to retain all our precious notes, groups, and history records. The conversion procedures included in SharkWare and ACT! do not completely convert their competitor's format. A lot gets lost in the translation.

So, out of necessity, we have developed programs and procedures over the years to help us convert quickly and completely. We are experts in what is happening at the deep file and table relationships level.

Since 1992, we were quite satisfied with ACT! and may never have tried, much less mastered SharkWare, except for a temporary difference of opinion years ago with Symantec Corporation, which used to market ACT! But it proved to be a fortunate thing for ACT! that we looked in to competing products and developed conversion processes.

What about ACT! to SharkWare conversions?

SharkWare was able to convert ACT!'s DBF pretty well with its own utilities, but remember they will not be offering any future versions or upgrades.  You will be alone in shark infested waters. 

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For years, SharkWare was gobbling up ACT! customers
Now who will get Shark's customers, Maximizer or ACT!?
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You'll never get SharkWare tech support again,
and will be dead in the water.

Can I make ACT! look more like Sharkware?

Yes, we offer ACT! Screen Layout design services.  You can download these free Contact Layout (CLY) files.




Harvey Mackay's 66 Questions to
Know about your Customer


What other services do you offer?

We offer training and consulting in contact management and other popular business software.

Please click on the following links, or feel free to call with any questions.



Email: Convert@CICorp.com

We can also convert from SharkWare to other software

Can I see a sample of a SharkWare database converted into ACT!?

Click on any screen shot to enlarge see details

Before in SharkWare

After in ACT!

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For more information about our conversion process
please see our Advanced Course for ACCs
"Converting from the Competition"

Tables Converted

User Fields
UDF Data



Patents Pending

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Data Commander Rick runs a conversion enterprise, working all hours to transport your data at warp speed.
He has converted more customers from other contact managers to ACT! than anyone in the galaxy.