For the long answer, both technical and non-technical, check out this excellent article by John Mark Osborne, one of the most reputed and long-standing FileMaker Developers around.
FileMaker has a long standing reputation for its ease of use.
All your data can be contained within a single system - there is no need for third party applications or duplicated data.
Existing data can be brought into FileMaker, including CSV, Tab, XML, ODBC and Microsoft Excel. FileMaker can even front-end data held in compatible SQL servers.
External services, such as web services, can be integrated and leveraged within FileMaker, making it a highly versatile platform.
Robust security - from the secure transfer of data to strong user authentication.
Reliability - the platform is reliable and stable. The company, owned by Apple, has been around since 1998. The software originated in the 1980s.
FileMaker is the leading Workplace Innovation Platform. It is a powerful and versatile relational database platform providing a framework in which custom applications can be developed to suit your particular needs.
The custom apps work seamlessly across iPad, iPhone, Windows, Mac, and the the web. Apps can also be tailored to be accessed from Android.
There are two core components to FileMaker - the Server and the Client.
FileMaker Server, an application or process running on its own computer, manages your data in a strong secure environment, supplying it as needed.
Data is accessed using the Client - FileMaker Pro, for desktops and laptops, FileMaker Go for iOS devices, otherwise a web browser, so you can access the same data wherever you need it.
Your license now includes FileMaker Server.
The structure and interface of your custom application are created using FileMaker Pro.
You can start developing yourself, using one of the standard templates that come with FileMaker Pro or working from scratch.
A 30 day trial copy of FileMaker Pro can be downloaded from the FileMaker UK website. This is all you need to start developing and testing.
It is recommended that you use the services of a professional FileMaker developer to build anything but the simplest of custom applications.
Your developer will be experienced in analysing your requirements and constructing a robust system that is efficient, secure, avoids common pitfalls and is flexible enough to encompass your future requirements.
Your developer will be able to advise on hardware requirements and the best way to set up your custom development.
Your developer can explain the licensing options and either arrange licensing for you or let you know where to obtain licences.
FileMaker is used by a wide variety of users, from charities, sole traders and small businesses to large workgroups and major organisations.
Recent analysis* of companies using FileMaker revealed the following breakdown:
Small businesses (<50 employees): 43%
Medium sized enterprises: 32%
Large organisations (>1000 employees): 21%
Our Case studies are intended to help you decide if FileMaker is appropriate for you.
We are happy to talk to you, whatever the size of your organisation. Please do not hesitate to contact us.
A small project might take say roughly five days of development. As a guide, this would be charged in the region of £3,000. Charges are based an hourly or daily rate.