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FileMaker Hosting Services Kept Simple

January 25th, 2013

FileMaker® databases are incredibly intuitive to use but the costs and time involved in setting up and maintaining them on your own in-house server isn’t in everyone’s budget or wheelhouse of expertise. Serving your vital business and personal FileMaker databases on your own can be a daunting task. Do you have a server that you can dedicate to this task? Can you afford the licensing costs? What happens if the server goes down? Who will you call and how long will it take to get back up and running? Who will setup and monitor your database backups? Did you know that you can’t back-up “live” database files with 3rd party back-up programs? If you don’t have a skilled person on staff to help you answer these questions and carry out these tasks, perhaps you should consider hosting your FileMaker databases in the cloud.

 

FileMaker Hosting Differences You Can Count On:

While there are many choices out there for hosting a FileMaker Pro Database, keeping things focused and simple to efficiently accomplish your hosting needs is our philosophy. Here are some things that make Productive Computing, Inc.’s FileMaker Pro Database Hosting service different:

1.  We are a large FileMaker Platinum development firm with an expansive and expert knowledge of all things FileMaker (not just a hosting company who may or may not know how FileMaker works under the hood).

2.  We have dedicated servers with SSD drives (nothing virtual, nothing slow) and as a result have read/written times faster than just about any traditional hard drives. Would you believe our servers can do a full reboot in 35 seconds!

3.  We don’t “pig pile” our servers with too many files or customers and we always use the latest version of FileMaker server and OS security patches.

4. FileMaker WebDirect™ hosting is available to bring a desktop-like experience to users via a web browser without the requirements of traditional web programming.

5.  We perform local backups, backups to a physical attached drive, and to the cloud. That gives us 3 points of redundancy for disaster recovery and up to 30 days of data.

6.  We provide a daily DropBox backup for those customers who want the peace of mind to know their data is at their fingertips. No cumbersome FTP programs are required to get at your data should you need it.

7.  We provide direct FileMaker Server Admin console access for users on FileMaker 12 – 13 where they can close and open files, download files, etc. We can provide direct access to FileMaker 11 Server Admin as well for developers who request it.

8.  For developers who are thinking of referring their customers to us, we treat their customers as if they were our customers. Often developers want to know that your customers will be treated as well as you would treat them in the event your customers would call us directly.

9.  We provide a unique IWP scenario for FileMaker 11 – 12 users that will auto redirect to a web page of your choosing upon IWP time out or IWP Log out. We developed this technology here in-house and it’s truly one of a kind.

10.  Distance from the server to the client is a big factor which is why we are continuing to invest in our infrastructure by putting servers in all corners of the country.

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Keeping Web Hosting and FileMaker Hosting Separate: Why?

We recommend to our customers to have and/or keep their websites hosted using a traditional web provider (like GoDaddy, Bluehost etc.). The reason for this is that for a very low price you get a standard web server has all the bells and whistles needed for your web development team (i.e. the correct PHP version, standard web security, robust web control panel, population and performance stats, scalability, accessibility, redundancy, secure certificate, standard PHP reusable code snippets / built-in plugs for hit counters, forms, validation, shopping cart, Word Press, etc.). If you host your website on a double-duty FileMaker/Web server, the service provider has to provide all these extras which gets complicated fast and providing service and maintenance on all these other technologies is time taken away from being an expert maintaining your databases. And you wonder why they don’t return your call or answer the phone when you have a problem. They are up to their eyeballs in all that stuff.

Even still, we offer IWP and the ability for anyone to use an external website with PHP while at the same time talking via PHP directly to our hosted FileMaker servers. The only requirement for a client is to have their PHP files and the web files on a web server outside our infrastructure. Typically when a client comes to us for hosting, they already have their own website hosted elsewhere and prefer that as the location for their PHP files.

Keeping it simple and focused allows us to be your on call experts for FileMaker Services and FileMaker Database hosting. Our brand has a strong reputation because we do not try to be everything to everyone. Focused expertise is our key to servicing our customers in the way that they expect to be serviced.

FileMaker Database Hosting

iPad – Revolutionizing the Way We Do Business

October 7th, 2011

I am a Windows guy at heart and don’t care much for the zealotry surrounding Apple products; however, I can’t begin to tell you how much I love my iPad.  Aside from all the personal entertainment value it brings; games, music, photos, video, books, it has brought an equal amount of value to my business.

It Just Works:  It doesn’t take a team of IT professionals to consult with me to make the purchase, hook it up or to keep it running.  Therefore its costs are largely fixed which is good for the bottom line and the satisfaction I get from not having to fuss with it is priceless.

Laptop Replacement: The iPad replaces 95% of what I use to use my laptop for.  True, I will still bring a laptop on a long trip if I have serious computing to do, but the reality is that most of us use a laptop for is keeping up with e-mail when we are out of the office.  While the phone can do that same thing in a pinch, the screen size and tiny keyboard renders it very inefficient.

Convenience:  Laptops require mice or the clunky use of the track pad, you have to lug a small suitcase with you, big power cord, long boot-up times, short battery life, connecting to the Internet isn’t hard but it isn’t effortless and it isn’t easy to do in a car – yuck.  An iPad requires nothing.  Flip the cover open and you are in.  Put it under your arm, in your backpack, it’s light, run it in the car, bus, taxi, plane.  Small enough to be easy, large enough to be useful.

Built-in Productivity: Built-in wireless and cell phone connection to the Internet is a must have.  If you can’t be easily connected, it defeats 50% of the purpose of having the device.  E-mail, calendar, contacts, web and maps are all critical to our businesses and all are infinitely more useful when connected to the Internet no matter where you are.

Productivity Apps: DropBox (www.dropbox.com):

This free app and service allows to you store and share files and folders as well as synchronize them with multiple devices across the Internet.  So your phone, laptop, home computer, work computer, iPod Touch and iPad all have the same files on them – like magic!  Absolutely great for documents you are working on or that you refer to regularly and can be selectively shared with other people too.

Productivity Apps: GoodReader (www.goodreader.net):

GoodReader allows you to open and view different types of documents.  It supports PDF, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, iWork 08/09, high resolution images, audio, video, and text files.  It can even be used in conjunction with your shared DropBox files.

Productivity Apps: Square (www.squareup.com):

Square is a free hardware reader and free app that allows you to swipe and process credit card transactions in the field.  When you swipe a VISA, MasterCard, American Express and Discover Card, there is just one simple 2.75% fee.  If you enter credit card numbers manually, your cost will then be 3.5% + 15¢ per transaction.  There are no monthly fees or hidden costs and signup only took me 5 minutes.

Create Your Own Custom iPad Software Using FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Go (www.filemaker.com/products/filemaker-go):

Using FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Go unlocks the ability for you to easily build custom software applications for use on your iPhone or iPad as well as your Windows or Macintosh computer – no programming experience required.  With this software and only the technical skill level required to use Word and Excel, you can build your own iPad application.  Imagine creating an app that could be simultaneously accessed and shared by your office staff, subcontractors, remote sales people and technicians in the field on any number of devices.  You could build a system to track prospects at a trade show, process sales transactions, fill out surveys, complete work orders, manage on-site event details, check inventory levels – the uses are limitless.  To review some starter templates and get more ideas for creating custom iPhone and iPad software using FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Go, visit www.YourAppService.com

Because of the iPad’s ease of use and tremendous value that it brings to both our personal and business lives, I strongly believe we are seeing the very beginnings of the next computing revolution.  This is a wave that I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of and one that my life and business has benefitted from.  Now the only trick is to figure out how to get it away from the kids!

For more information about creating your own custom iPhone and iPad application for at little as $349.95, contact Josh Mazur at sales@productivecomputing.com

Author: Categories: Business Articles Tags:

The Basics of Cloud Computing

July 22nd, 2011

“Cloud computing is a
model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of
configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications,
and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal
management effort or service provider interaction.”

- The National Institute of Standards and Technology

 

The “cloud” is a general term used to describe the Internet.  “Cloud Computing” can be
defined many ways, but in its simplest form it is the ability to access files and use software applications hosted on and accessed via the Internet.

The cloud has evolved to provide small businesses shared hardware and software resources for low cost. Cloud computing service providers can afford to do this because the capital costs required to provide the services are spread across thousands of customers.

Some examples of cloud computing technologies include:

  • SalesForce.com – Hosted Customer Relationship Manager
  • DropBox – Hosted File Sharing
  • Google Docs – Basic Word Processing, Spreadsheet and Slide Presentation Software
  • Hosted Exchange Accounts – Shared Email/Contacts/Calendars/Tasks for use with Outlook, iPhones, iPads, and Blackberry smart phones.

The most obvious consideration and end user benefit focusing a cloud based service, also known as “Software as a Service” (SaaS), is the low upfront costs.  Cloud based services generally require a monthly subscription and an initial set up fee.  Because cloud services are based on consumption, monthly fees will vary with the amount of data stored and number of users accessing it.  The benefit is that the end user is not required to have anything more than an Internet browser and a basic computer.  No software or server hardware is purchased or installed at the end user’s office.

On the other hand, low cost cloud based services have several drawbacks.  The Internet itself has a cost to access and it isn’t always as fast or responsive as you would like.  End users waiting for their screens to refresh or data to download or upload can be time consuming and make for a less friendly and less efficient user experience.  Most cloud based software applications have fewer features than a competing product that is installed locally on the end user’s computer.  This is mainly because an Internet browser isn’t as sophisticated and has less capabilities than a traditional locally installed application. Web applications such as Google Docs are great for basic office document
functions but are incapable of doing more complicated word processing or spreadsheet
tasks.  Many cloud based services are also a “one size fits all” model.  Very few SaaS vendors allow you to customize their services to meet your specific organization’s needs.

To bridge the gap, some companies are blending the use of hosted hardware infrastructure with traditional software installations and many non cloud based applications now offer cloud capabilities.  For example Core3 CRM (www.core3crm.com) a Customer Relationship Manager built using the popular and versatile FileMaker Pro database engine, offers the option of hosting its data files in the cloud and several methods to provide access to a custom modified version of the application though the internet.  This provides the best of both worlds – a hosted application which can be accessed either locally or through the internet with the capability to customize it for your business.

Utilizing cloud computing has already become a regular tool for many companies.  The key is to identify and understand which tool is the right one for the job.

For more information about FileMaker Pro, Custom Software Development or CRM applications, visit www.productivecomputing.com

Author: Categories: Information Technology Tags:

PCI Releases the eMail Marketing Connector Plug-in

May 5th, 2011

San Diego, CA – May 5th, 2011 – Productive Computing, Inc., a Platinum member of the FileMaker Business Alliance, today announced the release of the eMail Marketing Connector Plug-in for FileMaker Pro and Constant Contact. The eMail Marketing Connector allows you to easily exchange data between FileMaker Pro and Constant Contact using nothing more than FileMaker script steps.

Key Features:

Keep Your FileMaker Pro Contacts and Constant Contact E-mail Lists Up To Date:
The eMail Marketing Connector plug-in allows you to easily manage both your FileMaker Pro contact data and your Constant Contact data so that your e-mail campaigns always have the most current list of contacts.

Add, Update or Remove Contacts in Constant Contact:
Add new contacts, update existing contacts or remove contacts in your Constant Contact lists directly from FileMaker. This eliminates the need for double entry or manual imports.

Add, Update or Remove Contact Lists in Constant Contact:
Add new lists, update existing lists or remove lists from your Constant Contact account directly from FileMaker. This plug-in bridges the gap between FileMaker Pro and Constant Contact.

Opt Out Contacts:
Manage bounced and unsubscribed contacts directly in FileMaker through Constant Contact’s Opt Out program. The eMail Marketing Connector plug-in can easily identify contacts who have opted out of your mailing campaigns and can update those records in FileMaker Pro.

The eMail Marketing Connector plug-in starts at $199.95 for a single user license. It is compatible with FileMaker Pro 8 or later on either Windows or Mac Platforms. Please visit http://www.emailmarketingconnector.com to download a product demo, view the tutorial videos or read the product documentation.

About Productive Computing, Inc.:
Since 1996, Productive Computing, Inc. has been helping its customers become more efficient and profitable by providing a solid foundation of indispensable software and computer support services. These services include custom FileMaker Pro database development, consulting, IT support and hosting services. Productive Computing, Inc. also produces several software solutions such as Core3 CRM, Core2 CRM, Core2 Invoices, 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, Constant Contact, Entourage, the Apple Address Book, Apple Mail and iCal, PDF forms, digital signatures, credit card processing and biometric fingerprint scanners.

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 awarded the exclusive FileMaker Business Alliance Partner of the Year award.

Productive Computing, Inc.
950 Boardwalk, Suite 205
San Marcos, CA 92078

http://www.productivecomputing.com

info@productivecomputing.com
(760) 510-1200

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

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Author: Categories: eMail Marketing Connector Tags:

PCI Wins FBA Partner of the Year from FileMaker, Inc.

September 3rd, 2010

San Diego, CA – September 3, 2010 – Productive Computing, Inc., a Platinum member of the FileMaker Business Alliance received the FileMaker Business Alliance Partner of the Year award.

Each year, FileMaker, Inc. recognizes FileMaker Business Alliance (FBA) partners who have demonstrated an impressive level of professionalism and creativity in using FileMaker software to deliver excellent solutions to their customers.

The FileMaker Excellence Award winners are chosen from over 1200 FBA members worldwide who are FileMaker consultants, solution providers, plug-in developers, trainers, and hosting companies that serve a wide variety of industries.

“Productive Computing, Inc. has been a powerhouse FileMaker shop for over 10 years. The owners have built a successful consulting and product development business with FileMaker front and center. With their 15+ FileMaker plug-ins and custom solutions, they deliver a stream of new releases, keeping current with the latest version of FileMaker Pro.

Their focus on integration FileMaker with other environments via their plug-ins has been key to bringing customers to the FileMaker platform. Their software comes with documentation, how-to videos and demos — the ideal model for product packaging. And on top of all that, the owners are understated good guys and savvy business managers.” – Keith Robinson, VP of Americas Sales – FileMaker, Inc.

The award was presented by Keith Robinson, FileMaker, Inc.’s Vice President of Americas Sales, to the company’s co-founders Marc and Keith Larochelle at the FileMaker Business Alliance awards dinner held during the annual FileMaker Pro Developer’s Conference that took place in San Diego last month.

Author: Categories: Chief Executive Officer Tags: