Taming the FileMaker Beast

I’m running into this scenario a lot lately. I think it’s because FileMaker 12 is changing the landscape, but it’s worth taking a look at in any case. The Scenario You have a FileMaker solution that was started in FileMaker 4 or 5. It’s been enhanced and modified several times since then, and extended over the course of a decade or more by a handful of developers with varying levels of skill. The system is robust, and helps manage critical components of your business. Now, as the system has aged, you’re running into questions:

  • Is it me, or is the system not performing as quickly as it used to?
  • Didn’t we just restart the FileMaker Server a week ago? What’s up with that?
  • Should we upgrade to FileMaker 12? What’s the conversion process look like? More importantly, will anything break?
  • Is it time to rebuild?

The Solution Many organizations who depend on FileMaker are calling Skeleton Key when they’re faced with this kind of dilemma. We use a ‘Discovery and Planning’ process to determine the best path forward. The discovery process is focused on taking a fresh look at your system:

  • What files do you still use?
  • Which layouts are obsolete?
  • What functional areas of your business are well managed, and where are there risks or liabilities?

The planning process can only be started after you’ve completed discovery. It’s about painting a picture of the future:

  • If you were starting from scratch, how would you build it now?
  • Is your business moving in the same direction, or do you need the flexibility to pivot on demand?
  • Which specific areas (files, layouts, etc.) can you eliminate?

Questions to determine if you’re ready for a discovery and planning process:

  • How old is your database?
  • Did you previously convert from YourDatabase.fp3 to YourDatabase.fp5 to YourDatabase.fp7?
  • Has your business changed significantly along the way? Does YourDatabase reflect those changes?
  • Are you confident in your FileMaker system?
  • Will it last you another 10 years?

About Skeleton Key Skeleton Key is an accomplished team of technology consultants who solve business problems. We specialize in the rapid development of custom applications, integrating Macs and PCs in the professional workplace, and providing personalized FileMaker training and coaching. Despite our end-to-end technical skills, we are consultant first and technologist second. We know that you don’t just need technology. You need to know that the technology you choose to deploy will provide the results you desire. Skeleton Key is a Platinum Level FileMaker Business Alliance company, an Authorized FileMaker Trainer, a member of the Apple Consultants Network and a Microsoft Registered Partner. …