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PCI is Now Offering Dedicated Hosting Plans for FileMaker Server 15

July 18th, 2016
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PCI is Now Offering Dedicated Hosting Plans for FileMaker Server 15

With the release of FileMaker Pro 15, a new End User License Agreement was introduced requiring a dedicated server for each customer.  This new requirement inspired us to develop a new series of hosting plans to accommodate our customers on this new platform.  Using a combination of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and our existing infrastructure we developed three affordable options for FileMaker 15 users.

These new plans allow users to host their solutions in a secure environment taking advantage of the benefits of FileMaker Server 15 with the peace of mind and convenience of having experienced and certified professionals manage and monitor their server.

 

Dedicated Hosting

PCI’s new dedicated hosting plans will offer the same benefits as our shared hosting plans:  free setup, robust backup schedule (daily, weekly, monthly), and SSL Certificates.

– Fully Managed Dedicated Server maintained by PCI so you don’t have to

– FileMaker Server Licensing conveniently purchased through PCI at a discount

– Amazon (AWS) Certified Engineer offers expertise for secure and scalable options

– FileMaker Certified Developers at your service

PCI is your outsourced hosting team!

 

Shared Hosting

Productive Computing will continue to offer shared hosting for those customers that do not need to upgrade to FileMaker Server 15.

 

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FileMaker Server Licensing

If you are choosing a Dedicated Hosting plan, a FileMaker Server license is required. You may provide your own server license or order FileMaker Server through Productive Computing at a discount.  FileMaker Licensing for Teams provides an affordable option to purchase or rent the server software along with access to FileMaker Pro.

 

Need more information about hosting?  Have a look at our overview video:

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Please visit www.filemakerhostingservice.com for a complete list of plans and hosting service details.

123sync simplifies FileMaker to QuickBooks Integrations

June 1st, 2016

Depending on the complexity of your solution, creating a custom QuickBooks integration can be a lengthy and expensive process.

Productive Computing, Inc. and SolutionMakers, Inc. have teamed up to deliver to you the 123sync Accounting Integrator. 123sync offers you the ability to reap the benefits of a personalized integration with the convenience and confidence of a fixed price configuration package.

With the combined power of the FM Books Connector plug-in, the Productive Computing sales and support staff, and the guidance of a QuickBooks ProAdvisor*, 123sync ensures that your FileMaker solution is quickly integrated with the Intuit® QuickBooks application.

Check out the video below to learn more about 123sync, how it works, and the benefits of using it.

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Want to know if 123sync is right for your integration? Learn more about system requirements, key features, and what 123sync can push to your Quickbooks file.

*Our QuickBooks ProAdvisor will help you with the set up and integration of 123sync. Accounting consultations are offered for an additional fee.

FileMaker 15 Compatibility Update: Plug-ins and Solutions

May 11th, 2016

I am sure you have been following the FileMaker 15 release updates as closely as we have, so I know you’re just as excited to hear that we’re FileMaker 15 compatible as we are to announce it!

Here at PCI, we’ve been hard at work testing and developing to make sure that your favorite PCI plug-in (or solution) is FileMaker 15 compatible. To the extent that we could, we wanted to ensure that you experienced little hesitation and headache when making the decision to upgrade.

Please see below for a full list of our products that are now compatible with FileMaker 15. As we’re always innovating, we invite you to peruse the entire list—maybe there is something new that could be of benefit to you!

Licensing:
FileMaker Licensing: Purchase FileMaker Pro 15 today! Being Platinum Partners with FileMaker, Inc. we are able to work directly with FMI’s sales team to secure better pricing on new FileMaker Pro licenses and maintenance contract renewals than what customers have access to on their own.

Solutions:
Core4: A customizable CRM solution that allows users to efficiently manage areas including: contacts, calendars, tasks, correspondence, sales opportunities, estimates, invoices, inventory, projects, reports, and more.

Vessel Service Solutions: A vertical solution for the marine assistance industry that operates as a virtual command center to manage vessel assistance orders.

Plug-ins:
Outlook Manipulator: Exchange data with Microsoft® Outlook Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, Mail, and Notes for the “user’s” default folder, public, and shared folders within the Exchange Environment and with any Exchange mailbox.

FM Books Connector: Connect QuickBooks® to your FileMaker solution and save time and energy by eliminating double entry of contacts, invoices, or sales transactions.

123sync: Accelerate the development of a personalized QuickBooks integration with your existing FileMaker solution.

FM Books Connector Online: Using QuickBooks Online? You can reap all of the benefits of connecting your FileMaker solution to your QuickBooks Online file.

Address Book Manipulator: Exchange data dynamically between FileMaker Pro and Macintosh’s Address Book in a “one-to-many” format that handles group and individual contacts, multiple addresses, phone numbers, and e-mails.

iCal Manipulator: Provides a bidirectional data exchange between FileMaker Pro and Apple Calendar / Reminders eliminating double entry and syncing FileMaker Pro with any iCal supported calendar type. Please download latest plug-in to ensure compatibility.

eSign Signature Capture: Decrease labor and processing time of your standard forms and increase security for your organization by capturing signatures and binding them to information stored in your FileMaker solution.

Biometric Fingerprint Reader: Allow for fast identification and secure verification capabilities that enable your FileMaker solution to recognize individual users without requiring passwords or card swipes.

PDF Manipulator: Search text contained within a PDF document, extract data from PDF form fields, create a searchable document management system, and process forms faster by eliminating the need to hand key information into your solution.

Change Printer: Automatically change printers, set optional printing attributes, coordinate large and complex print procedures, and switch between various types of printers/drivers such as: inkjet, laser, label, and PDF – all from your FileMaker solution. Please download latest plug-in to ensure compatibility.

File Manipulator: Access, copy, move, rename or delete files and folders, as well as compress/extract and encrypt/decrypt file data directly from your FileMaker solution.

For more information on compatibility or product details please contact sales@productivecomputing.com or call (760) 510 -1200.

What You Need To Know about PCI’s Dedicated Hosting Plans

May 2nd, 2016

The Dedicated Hosting Plan begins with a personal consultation to review your specific needs and requirements. We will review the basic hardware requirements, determine if any additional hardware is necessary based on your processes and provide you with a written estimate.

In addition to the hardware, we can provide you discounted pricing on FileMaker Server licensing. If you already own a copy of FileMaker Server, we can install your license on the dedicated server (FileMaker Server 13 and above).
 
Dedicated Hosting Specifications and Minimum Requirements
Server Hardware Requirements
• Apple Mac Mini: 3.0GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 3.5GHz)
• 16 GB 1600 MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM
• 512 GB PCIe-based Flash Storage

Additional Hardware Requirements
• 2TB USB3 Hard Drive (required for OS and FileMaker backup procedures)
• HDMI Headless Adapter (required for improved remote connection performance)

Server Software Requirements
• FileMaker Server 13-14 (use your own license or purchase from PCI)
• FileMaker Go or WebDirect Concurrency Connections (if applicable)
• SSL Certificate (an annual SSL certificate is required to maintain secure connections)
 
Dedicated Hosting Features
• 125 Database Files
• 500GB SSD Storage Space
• Unlimited Users
• FileMaker Go or WebDirect Connections
• FileMaker Server Admin Console Access
• Dropbox Backup Access (on demand, daily and weekly routines)
• Personalized Setup
• Automatic Backups
• Multi-Version Support for FileMaker client (FileMaker 7 through 13 Mac or Windows)
• PHP Publishing API
• Secure Uploads, Downloads and Connections
• Non-virtualized (PCI-owned) FileMaker Servers
• Solid State Drives for Ultimate Performance
• Unlimited Bandwidth
• Upload Speeds up to 100 Mb/s
• Customer Service from PCI’s Expert Team
 
Managed Services for Dedicated Hosting
Managed Services
Our dedicated managed server plans offer the highest level of hosting services PCI provides. PCI becomes your hosting expert and maintains your server using the same proprietary systems and standards we use to maintain all our other hosting servers.

Our dedicated managed server plans include ALL labor associated with operating and proactively maintaining your server to include operating system patches and updates, web server installations and updates, FileMaker Server patches and upgrades, plug-in installations, SSL certificates, ODBC configurations, backup schedules, script schedules and anything else the server needs to run your FileMaker solution.

Managed Services Fees
• One-time initial server setup
• Monthly hosting service and support
• Monthly data center service fee billed through PCI
• Tier 2 technical support provided by the data center will be billed through PCI if needed

Turnaround Times for Customer Requests
Often customer requests are handled on the spot when you call in during regular office hours. Occasionally, you may need to leave a message and we’ll get the request done the same business day. On rare occasions, requests will spill over to the next business day. Our office hours are Monday – Friday from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Pacific Time.

Data Center Locations
We have three (3) data center locations (Las Vegas, Atlanta and Milwaukee) and our proposal would be to put you in whichever data center is closest to the greatest number of your end users. We have done extensive testing and determined that latency, specifically how far the user’s computer is physically from the FileMaker server, has the biggest impact on WAN solution performance for users who are connecting directly to the server with the FileMaker Pro client.

Customer Connection Speed
Connection to your data on the server is also relative to how your FileMaker solution is programmed and the speeds provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). We generally recommend using internet connection speeds at a minimum of 10MB download and 3MB upload. However, we also recommend that customers purchases the fastest speeds they can reasonably afford above those minimums.

Data Center Upload/Download Speeds and Bandwidth Limitations
The data centers provide maximum upload/download speeds up to 100Mb up and down.

Bandwidth usage is determined by how much data is transmitted between you and the server. For most customers, bandwidth limitations are rarely exceeded.  Actual bandwidth limitations vary depending on the data center your server is located at.

Tier 2 Technical Support
Tier 2 support is a rare occurrence but a service that is occasionally necessary from the data center. For example, if an operating system needed to be reinstalled, we would need someone to be hands on at the data center itself so we would have to pay for that service on an hourly basis. In the event this level of support may be needed from the data center, you will be notified prior to work being performed and the billing with be processed through PCI.
 
Backup Information
Our system provides for multiple backups to keep your data safe in case you accidentally remove crucial data, or in the unlikely event of a main hard drive catastrophe.

Tier 1 Backup Schedules
Twice Daily – we do daily backups at 12:30 pm and again 1:00 am. This means that on a given business a day, your data is backed up twice and in a way that is easy for us to get to. These backups are done to a separate drive other than the main hard drive.

Tier 2 Backup Schedules
Weekly and Monthly Schedules – we keep backups daily for one (1) week, weekly for one (1) month, and monthly for up to two (2) years. These backups are also saved on a separate external drive.

Tier 3 Backup Protection
Cloud Protection and easy customer access – every client has what we call their personal daily backup. This backup copies the data from the main hard drive to a backup drive and this happens at 1:00 am every day. Every morning at 3:00 am, the latest backup is compressed and copied to your dedicated Dropbox account.

FileMaker 14 Server Progressive Backups
For FileMaker 14 hosting customers we take advantage of progressive backups, which means that data is never more than an hour out of date in the event of a main hard drive catastrophe. These progressive backups are stored on a different hard drive other than the main hard drive. They are rewritten every hour. This is something akin to an ongoing mirror style backup.

We can also set up a separate Dropbox backup for the purposes of you being able to run a backup on-the-fly at any time and having that backup available to you via Dropbox immediately.
 
Security
Utilizing the latest technologies and the strictest practices ensures that not only is your data safe and secure from prying eyes, but the system itself is run like a fortress and constantly monitored by our experts.

SSL Certificates
Data transfer is encrypted using SSL, direct server access is limited, only the necessary ports to run FileMaker Server (and IWP/PHP) are exposed (unlike other hosting companies), and the machines are Apple/Mac running Linux, which are not prone to the usual hacker environments of traditional Windows servers other hosting companies are plagued with. We also limit third party and other rogue services that add to the complexity and potential vulnerability of the machine.

Passwords and Accessing Data
Each customer’s data files are secured by a username and password authentication. Only Productive Computing, Inc. server administrators have access to where the files are stored, however they do not have the individual customer’s passwords to open the database files unless the hosting customer has provided those passwords to us. We require all hosting clients to maintain a password on the hosted file.
 
Other Hosting Service and Support Frequently Asked Questions
FileMaker Pro and Server Licensing
FileMaker Pro and Server licensing is priced separately from our hosting services.

As Platinum Partners in the FileMaker Business Alliance, we are able to provide our customers with preferred pricing on FileMaker Pro and Server licenses and in most cases can provide a best price guarantee.

Software Updates/Version Upgrades Included
Our dedicated managed server plans include ALL labor associated with software upgrades to include operating system patches and updates, Web Server installations and updates, FileMaker Server patches and upgrades, plug-in installations, SSL certificates, ODBC configurations and anything else the server needs to run your FileMaker solution. The only exception is that we don’t support other non-FileMaker Server related services (i.e. we won’t install a mail server, blog engine, FTP server, etc.).

FMS Admin Console Access
All customers will have access to the FMS Admin Console. Customers will also have access to remotely access the server itself upon request – although our managed server customers generally leave that to us.

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.