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Using FileMaker Pro to Run a Business is the Software Industry’s Best Kept Secret

February 16th, 2013

FileMaker Pro is an affordable software program that provides a streamlined platform through which businesses can manage and organize various types of information and communications. FileMaker Pro software is based on the customer relationship management (CRM) business model, which simply means that it is a type of business automation and synchronization rooted in sales.

FileMaker Pro is superior to other types of CRM software (programs used for streamlining business management) because its user-friendly interface is easy to adapt to and work with. The program itself is meant to be customized according to each business’s unique needs. It provides a framework for CRM system management, but comes with the ability to easily modify the platform for individual businesses.

The FileMaker Pro platform can be modified in several ways:

Removing non-applicable features. Other CRM software solutions come with a number of features that the developers assume a majority of businesses will need and use. Often, this leaves a business with needless and/or confusing extras that only seem to get in the way. But FileMaker Pro is customizable; any unwanted features can be removed.

Install useful plug-ins. A QuickBooks plug-in for FileMaker seamlessly integrates QuickBooks into the system, rather than keeping the application separate from the system. This gives appropriate users instant access and makes recordkeeping automatic.

Create plug-ins for unique features. This is where FileMaker Pro can really benefit innovative businesses. Software developers can create custom FileMaker plug-ins that meet a business’s unique needs. For example, the ability to gather electronic signatures is something more businesses are interested in as paperwork becomes a thing of the past. E-signature plug-ins provide the necessary programming and integrate signatures directly into the management database.

Custom apps for mobile devices. iPads and iPhones can run FileMaker software too. Custom-built apps are suited to the business’s needs, and to the practical needs of using a mobile device. Custom solutions can be created and implemented in a number of hours through the user-friendly interface.

Another major advantage provided by the flexibility of FileMaker Pro is the ability to communicate and interact effectively with other systems. Streamlining business communication and information keeps everyone who uses the system on the same page, regardless of how they get there. Whether employees access the system through Windows, Mac, iPad, or iPhone, they all view and interact with the system in the same way.

Why is FileMaker Such a Well-Kept Secret?

Even with a force as big as Apple behind FileMaker software development (FileMaker Inc. is a daughter company of Apple Inc.), it is still widely under-recognized.

Hundreds of CRM software developers stand a lot to lose if FileMaker begins to dominate the market the way some of Apple’s other products have. Some of these bigger developers put just as much money into marketing against FileMaker as they do into developing their own products.

Like many Apple products, the public may mistakenly assume that FileMaker Pro is designed for the elite. On the contrary, FileMaker is extremely affordable when it comes to professional business software. The cost of maintenance for CRM solutions is one of their chief criticisms, but FileMaker continues to save businesses money through the ability to be customized and modified by everyday users.

Another big reason FileMaker Pro hasn’t seen more widespread use is that that the software is simply misunderstood. Although it uses templates and has a user-friendly interface, the task of understanding, installing, modifying, and implementing a new database is a daunting task to most businesses.

Indeed, getting a software program like FileMaker up and running, customizing it to meet specific business needs, and training the sales force and other departments to use it is a task. But it is an investment. This upfront effort pays off exponentially when businesses begin to use it and streamline all of their tasks and information, ultimately saving a lot of time and money consistently in the long run.

Because FileMaker Pro is meant to be customized to each business’s needs, we use the program as a template for developing completely customized business management systems that streamline sales, accounting, recruiting, management, and customer relationships into one system that tracks and records all information, in addition to providing universal access on any device from any location with secure Internet access.

It’s hard to say precisely why; sometimes, it’s simply the best things that are kept under the radar!