I am finding it harder and harder to understand and justify FileMaker's business model over time. This is the second year in a row that FileMaker has substantially increased the cost of doing business. It increased its licensing costs accross the board last year and tripled the cost of concurrent licensing this year.
FileMaker targets three types of customers: those that develop and use custom solutions in-house; those that develop custom solutions for use by customers; those that develop solutions for resale. I mostly belong to the third type.
My solutions help my customers coordinate activities with their service providers. The interface files are mostly device-specific. Why? Because every user, from my customers to their services providers, performs a narrow set of tasks and each set of tasks is best served by a specific device.
There are many differences between FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Go and WebDirect. Development cost advantages fizzle if interface files target multiple platforms with the same feature set. Want to produce PDF files or import between tables? WebDirect is a pain. Want to scan barcodes? Only FileMaker Go has you covered out of the box. Want to perform a replace on the web? FileMaker Pro is a pain.
I sell to businesses that coordinate with other businesses. How am I expected to count the number of users? How am I suppose to justify a cost for hundreds of users to my customers when FileMaker Go and WebDirect are limited to 100 concurrent connections?
Concurrent licensing still exists of course. Only it now costs CAD$2656.23 monthly to host 100 concurrent connections. That is one third the cost of a developer's salary. Who here can afford to add three developers per ten customers?
There is a solutions bundle agreement that reduces the cost for resellers. That does not change the fact my costs tripled this year. I am also required to register as a FileMaker Business Alliance (FBA) member. While FBA membership has its advantages, it also has its drawbacks.
We avoid mentioning FileMaker to our clients. IT departments kill proposals that say FileMaker before any arguments abouts its merits can take place. They refuse to add FileMaker Pro or Server to their list of approved corporate applications if a department dares purchase it. FileMaker Pro is a support nightmare to install and manage for all users in a WAN environment.
I find it strange that FileMaker targets resellers with a development tool yet makes decisions that substantially increase its developers' business costs. Its rationale for providing a user-centric licensing model was based on a study of its customers. I doubt that study applies to solution resellers.