I don't need convincing that FM is the ultimate database tool for development of in-house custom solutions and my academic department has invested heavily in it since I started using it in the Claris years. However, there is a mindset that I constantly have to battle with at our institution when attempting to convince other departments of its merits, which essentially boils down to cost tied to general shortsightedness. I was dumbfounded when attending a lecture surrounding the 'electronic classroom' when discussants described using Excel and spending hours doing what I knew FM could do in mere seconds. The shortsightedness relates to opting for free or significantly cheaper systems (I don't believe FM to be overpriced, especially when educational discounts can be applied) which will limit the quality of data or the analysis thereof. In many situations, when I ask what a group wants to achieve with a database, they fail to comprehend that a database can actually have intelligence and expect that it only stores data. This is perhaps why, generally, others are reluctant to spend money when free 'non-intelligent' systems are available. In our medical faculty, FM has to contend with RedCap, OpenMRS, OpenClinica and, well, Excel, of course.
I have always tried to impress on others that database design is only the tip of the iceberg and, that what lies beneath the surface, is database intelligence to ensure validity of data and provide meaningful output. It is unbelievable that even medical professionals will fail to comply with the simplest of data entry requirements. FM's relational design is one of the key features which these other systems lack which, not only allows unlimited expansion of data but, also affords the construction of powerful scripts to achieve intelligence. Even with a flat database design, FM's relational capability, for example, allowed me to build in a perpetual audit trail.
However, apart from its cross-platform and relational capability and its increasing mobility and deployment in the Cloud, is anyone aware of a technical brief which compares FM, in an objective manner, with other systems, especially those medical systems mentioned above? Ideally a comparison which takes into consideration that many features are scriptable (for example the audit trail mentioned above) and integration with other systems using real examples.
I apologise for such a mundane question, but I am sure it is one that any FM developer must come across regularly.