In March of 2016, we learned that 4HOnline, a company providing 4-H enrollment for some states, chose to eliminate a feature which had previously helped fairs export their exhibitors and clubs into a ShoWorks compatible format. Despite the removal of this helpful feature which allows fairs to maintain control of their data, ShoWorks is pleased to offer a work-around that enables fairs to continue using their data across other platforms such as ShoWorks.
See: How to submit a file to ShoWorks for free data conversion
Though such a prohibitive action may be disguised in the name of security or technical ability, it is noteworthy that this feature was removed by 4HOnline only after their choosing to expand their services competitively into the fair industry. No efforts were made by 4HOnline to contact ShoWorks as to the reasoning behind the abrupt removal nor assist fairs in a transition of options, despite a decade long relationship with 4HOnline in cooperatively developing this feature which transmitted encrypted data securely into the ShoWorks format. Because of this, we can only assume the removal is simply an attempt to reduce choices for the fair to share their data among competitive programs.
As a commitment in its 20-year history, ShoWorks will continue to uphold a standard of ethics and conduct, extending the rightful ownership of data to the customer (fair), and not interfere with the ability for the customer to obtain and extract their data. In our opinion, a customer's welfare should not be undermined by a competitor’s attempt to gain market presence. This demonstrated by the fact that ShoWorks allows the fair to host their data locally in an open format (accessible by many common applications like Microsoft Office). ShoWorks believes the role of software providers to be a processor of data, not an owner of data and any hindrance to an owner’s rightful extraction of their data sets a dangerous precedence that could leave the owner stranded, locked-in to a specific vendor, or their productivity severely compromised.