Archive for March, 2013

The Tablet Buyer’s Guide

March 22nd, 2013

Tablets are becoming ever more popular. Many offer fast processing power and user friendly touch screens to access data stored locally and in the cloud. They are lightweight, yet durable for warehouse conditions. They have become mainstream and are used by anyone looking for a blend between a smart phone and laptop. Personal users take advantage of features such as gaming, movies, photos, video phones, internet access, and e-books. Workgroups and professionals are learning to capture the paperless flexibility a tablet offers too.

Here are a few examples:
– Sales teams are using tablets for presentations and tracking leads
– Manufacturing and warehouse employees are replacing print-outs for tracking inventory and receiving shipments with QCR codes on a tablet
– Medical professionals track patient care with reduced infection rates
– Service professionals are able to invoice and get signatures on-site
– Executives are able to access sensitive corporate data across multiple applications while traveling

There are hundreds to choose from so understanding why you might want to buy one or what it can be used for can help promote your productivity and efficiency. The four main categories you will discover are: iPad (iOS), Android, Windows, and E-Book Readers. Each category has its advantages.

iPad (iOS) – For starters, the Apple iPad is the dominant tablet on the market with millions sold to date. It offers intuitive design, fast processing, 4g wireless, high quality camera, and high resolution screen. Apple has regulations in place to ensure App development meets their high quality standards. Many users experience the same workflow experience going from an iMac (Desktop), MacBook (Laptop), or iPad resulting in instant comfort with the new device.

Android – The Android is a Google operating system which is available from dozens of manufacturers such as Asus, Sony, Samsung, or Toshiba. Each device is different so determining what you will use it for will help determine screen size, processing power, camera resolution, battery life, etc. The Android offers flexibility and a wide range of applications because it’s an open source operating system.

Windows – Windows tablets have been around since the 90s and continue to evolve. They offer high performance and the familiarity of a laptop or desktop experience with Windows. For this reason they are popular because they can run the same applications as any Windows workstation. Windows tablets are typically larger and more expensive than the other tablet categories.

E-Book Readers – E-Readers such as the Kindle and Nook are becoming a hybrid of a tablet. Originally designed for simple reading, they have expanded to include web browsing, email, and video but have limited business application. They are inexpensive and great for entertainment purposes.

5 main factors to consider when you’re buying a tablet:
1)  Do you really need a tablet?
2)  Which operating system do you want?
3)  Which apps will you need access to?
4)  What type of display and storage will you require?
5)  Will you need wireless service or will Wi-Fi be acceptable?

The tablet marketplace continues to improve and expand. The ergonomics of each device is different so be sure you get your hands on it before you decide to make a purchase. Educate yourself by talking to fellow professionals; this can provide insight on new ways to utilize this technology in your field. There are applications like FileMaker which offer real time cross platform access to your data. This means you can add, edit and delete information on a Mac, Windows workstation or Tablet, and iPad at the same time. For example, an office manager can create a work order on an iMac while the technician in the field instantly sees the update, completes the work, and the bookkeeper automatically processes an invoice on a Windows workstation. With the right device and training a tablet is a superb tool for improving your productivity and making your daily life simpler.

FM Work Orders on iPad

For more information, feel free to contact

Databases 101

March 12th, 2013

With the constant development of database technology, it is important to understand the logic and language of these advancements.  Many experts agree that database development could be one of the most advancing areas of business technologies today.  In the simplest form, a database is the storage of data.  Database software is what drives the technology by computing data.  Whether it is a webpage, a car, or even a sprinkler system, if it has an electronic interface the technology involved is based from computing data.  Understanding database technology and terminology can help you to take advantage of these emerging areas.  You will be able to communicate more effectively and make the most of database technologies.

There is a variety of database software such as FileMaker, Microsoft Access, or in its simplest form Microsoft excel.  A database is created from a list of Fields (columns), Records (rows), and Tables (worksheets) which make up a single file.  A field is a single piece of information; a record is one complete set of fields; and a file is a collection of records.  Database technology is really that simple, three main components.  Yet the logic used to access and perform activities with this data is what makes it complex.

Components of a Database Defined:

Database Software – A programmable tool designed to store, access, and sequentially and automatically carry out a sequence of arithmetic or logical operations

Database – A collection of data organized for rapid search, retrieval, and updating

Database File – A block of information related to computer storage

Database Table – A set of data elements that is organized by using a vertical column and horizontal row model.  This model uses columns as field names such as name in column 1 and phone number in column 2; it uses rows to track records such as John Smith in Row 1 and Mary Smith in Row 2.

Database Language – SQL (Structured Query Language) – Based on Calculus and Algebraic logic provides a common database language to today’s data management tools

Relational Database – The use of common characteristics or objects found in multiple data sets to link them together, based on mathematical terms attributed to Edward Cob at IBM in 1970 for example variable x in table one = variable x in table two.

Syntax – Common forms, behaviors, and principles for constructing universally used computer language systems

Open Source – Public or free computer code which can be further developed by any end user (similar to Wikipedia)

Data Redundancy – Repeating or duplication of data or fields in multiple locations (tables)

Data Normalization – The process of organizing data into small groups or modules with well defined common relationships eliminating anomalies and potential corruption

If you’re confused, don’t worry that was a crash course.  Hopefully you gathered that a good majority of our database technology is built on old fashioned arithmetic.  However much like calculus and algebra not everyone understands theories, formulas, and logic the same.  With many databases this can be the difference between an effective use of technology and a misunderstood tool.  A database is only as effective as the architect and developer who design it.  Having the end user and daily work flow in mind will help translate advanced logic into simple terms.  In addition, creating an intuitive interface which the user has a good experience viewing, searching for, and updating data is crucial in utilizing a database and its successful implementation.

Using a database with your business could be mission critical to its success, regardless of the industry, company size or internal growth cycle.  Each department has valuable data it works with and without a centralized source for it to be tracked it will get lost, forgotten, or never passed as a shared resource. A database will provide accountability and a quantifiable way to review results.  Many databases are advanced enough to automate simple tasks like sending emails or alerting customers on account related activities.  It is also worth mentioning that a database will provide an insurance policy in the form of backing up and securing your information as well.  A good database will improve overall efficiency, individual operations, and offer reliable accurate information for strategic decision making.

Productive Computing, Inc. Releases Music Director Pro

March 11th, 2013


San Diego, CA – March 11, 2013 – Productive Computing, Inc. today announced the release of Music Director Pro, a web-based software management tool for band, orchestra or choral directors. With this software music program directors will have the ability to track and catalog music libraries, instrument and uniform inventories, people, ensembles, lockers and schedules. This vital information is organized in one central repository and easily accessible 24/7 from your computer in the classroom, in the office or at home. It is also accessible through your phone or mobile device which is very useful when you are in the storage room, out on the field or parade ground, in a concert hall or when looking for a specific piece of music in the library filing cabinets.

This software solution does away with the issues normally experienced with hard to find, scattered, handwritten documents or numerous spreadsheets that are only available on one computer. Music Director Pro can also be simultaneously shared with multiple users in order to delegate the responsibility of data entry or managing different parts of the system by students, volunteers or other staff members. This easy to use system will help directors reduce the current effort required to organize and track the assets within their music program.

Music Director Pro is a full-featured solution offered under a Software as a Service (SaaS) subscription model and comes with a free 30 day trial. There is no software to install or IT department to get involved. Customers can purchase a subscription to the software for an annual fee of $179.00 and have the optional choice to convert and import their current spreadsheet data for a one-time fee of $75.00.

Music Director Pro is built on the award winning FileMaker® Pro database engine which can also be easily deployed in a custom environment. Customers who are interested in customizing how the software functions to meet their specific needs or who would like to install Music Director Pro within their own IT infrastructure may obtain an unlimited user site license for a one-time fee. Please contact us for details on this license, deployment requirements and for a quote for custom development services.

Watch the video below to review the features and benefits:
YouTube Preview Image

Key Features:
Access Through the Web
Music Director Pro can be accessed by any compatible web browser from any device that has internet access.

Shared Access to the Data
Delegate responsibility to students, volunteers or other members of your organization to help you with data entry or managing different parts of the system.

Create and track all ensembles and member roles including a list of all related ensemble members.

Schedule Events
Create a detailed schedule of events that can be published to your web site for public viewing.

Music Library
Catalog your music library and keep track of the performance history of each composition, style classification, instruments that are showcased, missing parts and program notes.

Manage all necessary information about your people including basic contact information, ensembles they are members of, auditions and challenges, instruments, locker and uniform assignments.

Keeps track of instrument serial numbers, purchase and repair history, condition and which person has it checked out.

Track and assign uniform parts to specific individuals and lockers.

Optional Custom Implementation
License our engine and customize it to meet your specific needs. We will provide you with an estimate to build out a custom design for your organization.

Please visit to sign up for your 30 day trial or view the tutorial videos to see it in action.


About Productive Computing, Inc.
Since 1996, Productive Computing, Inc. has been helping its customers become more efficient and profitable by implementing custom software solutions using FileMaker Pro. Utilizing FileMaker Pro as a rapid application development tool, their certified FileMaker developers can create custom applications that a business can run on their Windows or Macintosh desktop computers, in a web browser, on an iPad or iPhone or shared simultaneously on all of these platforms.

Productive Computing, Inc. also produces several off-the-shelf productivity solutions such as Core4 CRM, Core3 CRM, Core2 CRM, Core2 Invoices, Music Director Pro, FM Work Orders, OrgPlanner and IT Asset Manager as well as a suite of FileMaker Pro plug-ins that allow FileMaker Pro to integrate with third party applications including Outlook, QuickBooks, Apple’s Address Book and iCal, PDF forms, credit card processing, digital signatures and biometric fingerprint scanners.

In addition to building custom and off-the-shelf FileMaker Pro solutions and plug-ins, Productive Computing, Inc. is a full service FileMaker Pro hosting company. FileMaker hosting services allow customers to host their own FileMaker Pro solutions on Productive Computing servers in the cloud instead of purchasing and supporting the necessary server infrastructure themselves. These same servers also provide the infrastructure for customers who would prefer to subscribe to Productive Computing’s Core4 CRM, Core3 CRM, Core2 CRM, and FM Work Orders products under a SaaS (Software as a Service) pricing model.

Productive Computing, Inc. is one of only a few companies in the United States to have earned the highly respected Platinum level membership within the FileMaker Business Alliance and recently won the exclusive FileMaker Business Alliance Partner of the Year award.

Productive Computing, Inc.
950 Boardwalk, Suite 205
San Marcos, CA 92078
(760) 510-1200

Press Contacts:
Productive Computing, Inc.
Keith Larochelle
(760) 510-1200

Author: Categories: Music Director Pro Tags:

Tired of Salesforce as your CRM?

March 8th, 2013

A reliable and easy-to-use customer relationship management program is critical to the success of any organization, and many companies implemented Salesforce as their CRM initially because they were told that it was the best program available at the time. Many companies are now discovering how complicated, costly, and user-unfriendly the Salesforce program can be, and are beginning to seek out alternative solutions.

One of the most important aspects of a CRM program is its ease of use. Some smaller companies have found that navigating through the Salesforce interface is confusing and can be frustrating at times. They have also found that it often takes many clicks of the mouse to complete a simple task. If menus are difficult to navigate and a system contains many features that don’t apply to most companies, it can become too overwhelming for a company to use effectively.

Another complaint that many users have had about the Salesforce program is the lack of support for the users. Salesforce users have reported lack of help when dealing with program issues as well as forced upgrades to a more expensive version of the CRM platform. Salesforce offers customers access to online training, but offers little in the way of one-on-one  technical support by phone. Users have also had to work through various outages and Salesforce doesn’t offer their customers a guarantee. Productive Computing offers full support for our customers. Each user has access to live support online as well as a technical contact that is assigned to you, gets to know your needs, can offer suggestions, and help you resolve any issues you have with the interface quickly and easily. They are available by phone when you need someone to talk you through an issue.

Productive Computing CRM software allows users to define tasks, roles, and projects. Users can assign tasks to groups or individuals and track time for each project in a way that can be used for client invoicing or internal reporting. Menus are easy to navigate and provide users with all the information they need. Salesforce software lacks these rules for time-based workflow. An employee has to manually click a button for a sales lead, event, or task in order to move it to the next stage. It’s easy for a potential client to be overlooked because an employee forgot to click a button. This can lead to frustrated customers and a decreased return in sales.

Storing your data is one of the most important aspects of a good CRM program. The Salesforce software encourages users to store all the data associated with the CRM on their platform, but their storage limit is rather low and they charge large storage fees to customers who don’t upgrade to a higher version of the program. Salesforce charges a storage fee for each user, regardless of the number of users from your company. Productive Computing offers users the option to run their CRM program and store the associated data on their own server, purchase their cloud-based data storage subscription service, or host the data on our servers. This gives you the options you need to store your data. PCI’s data storage fee includes 5 users for a personal subscription and ten users for a business subscription.

One of the best features of our CRM software is that we don’t require you to make changes to run the software. Our technicians specialize in creating customized CRM solutions to fit your workflow and specific processes. We understand that standardized, out-of-the-box software is not the best option for every company, and our solutions are usually developed in less than half of the cost and time of other methods like SQL, Oracle, Visual Basic, and others. If you and your employees find yourselves wasting time locating the information you need or bypassing features that you never use, a customized program can provide a better solution for your company. Choose a software that can change and grow as your business grows, streamlining your processes as you develop and rework them, and help you find ways to increase your productivity and return at every step.