An entertaining article by Tim Cimbura about the seemingly built in bias against the FileMaker platform. I’m betting every developer has heard “I hate FileMaker”, or something similar, like “it’s not an enterprise solution” or “it’s not robust enough” or “it’s not Access” (thankfully!):
We had implemented a great FileMaker project management solution that had been in use for years to track all the critical information associated with thousands of jobs in a large corporate IT environment.
An IT executive decided to replace this FileMaker solution with something that he considered an “enterprise solution” backed by Microsoft SQL Server. (Sometimes this might be necessary, but in this case it was not.) Call me cynical, but many times major decisions are made on the golf course by buddies that want to help each other and do not have the technical knowledge required to make good decisions.
A new company was brought in with their project management solution and a team of developers that were tasked with customization, importing of data from the existing system, and implementation of the product including training, etc. I was working directly with the new developers to assist with reproducing similar functionality as the original solution as well as to import the existing data. During one meeting a developer threw up his hands and said
“I hate FileMaker!”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because it does things we just can’t do.” was his answer.
The truth is, the FileMaker platform has always had a solid place in the small business, education, and workgroup spaces. All of these entities want more control over what their computers do for them, and the ability to do it cheaper, faster, and on the fly.
Making a change in Access, Oracle, PHP, Ruby, or one of the myriad of other platforms is difficult and requires a highly trained programmer. And usually plenty of money.
Not so with FileMaker. Sure, it’s powerful enough to require a professional developer to make it sing and dance for the more complicated features, but those features are implemented more quickly and inexpensively than with any of the other platforms mentioned above.
Don’t be shy about FileMaker’s advantages, which are big and getting bigger. Instead, learn to effortlessly answer every objection thrown your way during the sales process or when the grumbling starts after a new IT manager takes over who’s only ever used Access or something similar. Rapid Application Development (RAD), cross platform for Macs and PC’s, works on the web and on smart devices, connects with enterprise systems in a variety of ways–and allows the end user better reports and access to data than the competition.
It will save your client money, make you look better, and be more profitable for you both.