There are plenty of tools out there that help make a business more productive. But few applications can truly be “one size fits all” solutions, and many businesses end up having to resort to workarounds and manual processes to make their software solutions work together—or work at all. Sometimes, when the need is unique, businesses will turn to custom-built software solutions to address issues that are constraining growth…if they are willing and able to swallow the long timetable and typically high price tag of doing so.
Claris FileMaker offers a third option: Creating a customized application for your business without the headache of having a team of developers create everything from scratch.
Here at Skeleton Key, we often find that we can help a client create a custom application in less time, and for less money, than most other custom software developers. This puts custom software well within the reach of small-to-medium businesses with unique needs but finite resources.
What Claris FileMaker Does
Most plainly, Claris FileMaker is a “low-code” software development environment for applications that are heavily data-driven. Common examples include inventory management software, factory workflow applications, project management, estimating tools and more…basically, any application that works with transactional data.
Because it is low-code, applications can be developed more quickly and easily while still maintaining a very polished, intuitive user interface. At the same time, those applications can be heavily customized to fit a business’ unique needs.
FileMaker is also a great way to build custom applications that need to be shared among multiple users—anywhere from a small team to a large department to an entire business spanning multiple locations.
Examples of Applications Made Using Claris FileMaker
Here are just a few examples of applications we’ve built for clients using the Claris FileMaker platform:
- A custom parts and ordering system
- A database for creative assets for products featured in a catalog and on the web
- A job/project management system
- An attendance and grading system for a private school
- A custom database and front-end portal for dealerships
- A system for tracking employee hours in the field
- A research application that included patient scheduling and data analysis tools
Other common examples of applications that are easy to create with Claris FileMaker include:
- Accounting tools
- Contact management systems (CMS)
- Sales forecasting dashboards
- Marketing automation and lead management
- Inventory management
As you can see, FileMaker works for businesses in a wide array of industries and use cases. And while it can re-create or extend some well-known tools, it also gives niche businesses the option of creating an entirely new tool or system to suit their unique workflows.
The Benefits of a Low-Code Platform for Application Development
Why go with a low-code platform to create such applications? Why not hire a development team in-house, for example?
A low-code platform like FileMaker allows a developer to build applications really quickly, compared to starting from scratch using lower-level languages such as Python, Ruby or C. Starting with such languages would mean taking a lot of time just setting up all of the various components: The user interface(s), the back-end database management, cross-platform integration, automations and so on. Claris FileMaker makes it easy to get started with all of these elements already in place and tightly integrated, taking care of many of the nuances and complexities associated with getting an application up and running. This in turn means getting a reliable product into production faster.
Made for Teams and Organizations
Many applications are built with the assumption that the hard work gets done on a single device. That assumption just doesn’t hold today. Teams need to share data, whether across the office or clear across the continent. Different teams might care about different aspects of that data, working it into different workflows. They might use other specific applications, and those applications might reside within different operating systems.
Claris FileMaker enables the creation of applications that are cross-platform from the start. So if your organization needs a custom piece of software for doing estimations, you can be guaranteed that your employees using PCs in the home office are getting the same functionality, and even the same user experience, as your sales team in the field using iPads, your creative team using Macs, or your satellite office using a web-based interface.
The interoperability of FileMaker applications means your organization can do away with many of the manual processes and workarounds that routinely eat into your teams’ productivity.
Other Benefits of the FileMaker Platform
With powerful dashboard functionality, Claris FileMaker offers the flexibility to customize user interfaces so users see exactly the data and analytics they need to see (and don’t see distracting things that they don’t need). When you partner with an experienced FileMaker developer, interface elements can be built around the information your team relies on most for daily tasks, so they can take productivity to new levels. At the same time, customizable user experience (UX) elements make it easy to hit the ground running with intuitive, well-laid-out interfaces.
Support for Any Device
Because a FileMaker solution can operate on any Mac or PC, as well as on any native iOS device or as a web-based platform (which makes it accessible from virtually any device that can connect to the web), users are able to access mission-critical data using any of their favorite Apple, Windows or Android devices. These cross-platform possibilities make it easy to accommodate your team’s device needs. Whether working from a smartphone, laptop, tablet or desktop computer, your team always will have access to the same robust FileMaker toolkit.
FileMaker makes it easy to access and manage data anywhere, with or without a cloud-based solution. For example, remote workers can access files directly from primary systems while updating that same data in real time, so everyone in your organization stays on the same page. Even without an immediate network connection, FileMaker can be configured to update and merge data as soon as network connectivity is restored. With next-level database management capabilities, you no longer have to worry about misaligned data sources interfering with your operations.
Building a custom software solution using legacy platforms and providers can take anywhere from a few quarters to as long as a year. With the capabilities of the FileMaker platform, you can gain access to the same customizable software features in a fraction of that time. When you partner with a team of FileMaker experts like the ones at Skeleton Key, you can expect a custom software solution in a matter of weeks or just a few months, giving your team access to the tools they need to succeed right away.
The Option of an On-Premise or On-Device Solution
There are many great cloud-based applications and browser-based applications available today, but sometimes there are good reasons to keep data and applications strictly on-premises or on a device. There could be concerns about data security and data privacy, for example. Or, an application is designed to be used in the field when consistent access to the internet is not a given. Claris FileMaker gives you the option to create applications that are hosted in the cloud, hosted on-prem, or wholly portable and device-based.
Ready to Take Advantage of Everything FileMaker Has to Offer?
At Skeleton Key, our experts are here to help you explore the possibilities of a FileMaker solution built around your needs. Whether you’re using a legacy platform that needs updating, or you’re considering a new solution built around your needs, contact us today and we’ll show you how the FileMaker platform can help you achieve your larger business goals.