FileMaker is a database development platform.
You can build many things with FileMaker. ERP is one example of a thing you could build with FileMaker.
SAP is a company that offers many types of business software, including an ERP package called "SAP ERP".
Why would a company use both at the same time for similar uses? Perhaps because SAP ERP is a comprehensive ERP package that might meet many of the company's needs. But maybe the company needs something custom added on, and they can probably build it with FileMaker for a lower cost than if they tried to customize SAP ERP.
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A more correct comparison would be FileMaker Vs. Oracle or FileMaker Vs. SQLServer, which are the databases that usually back SAP solutions.
SAP is a solution built with a database backend and a frontend written in a programming language called ABAP (I'm not a SAP expert at all, this is just my general knowledge about SAP).
So, can you write a ERP with FileMaker?, absolutely!. Can you write a solution that interacts with SAP?, of course.
When a company buys SAP it's like going to a tailor shop and buying a suit that is not sewed. You get a box with all the pieces of your suit but you cannot use it until the tailor fixes it and adjusts it to your body. This is a really complicated process and much of the success of a SAP implementation relies on the skill of the SAP "tailor" (the SAP partner).
With FileMaker the process is more or less the same but a lot simpler. Say, you get a box of legos instead . Almost anyone can put together legos and build something. Of course, the more skilled the person, the better the results.
That's why, my dear Suresh, I strongly suggest you to buy the training series and take the certification exam. That would make you a great FileMaker tailor .
Just my 2¢ of Mexican pesos.
Scale is an important difference too. SAP is an enterprise class information system whereas Filemaker is a small office / home office / work group class system.
It's common for SAP to have thousands of users across many different countries running in many different languages. Filemaker on the other hand normally has from a handful to maybe a couple hundred users usually running in a single location, but not always. I would guess the most installations are on the lower end of the head count range.
My employer has a non-SAP ERP system and Filemaker too. ERP handles the common tasks involved in running any business (sales orders, purchase orders, billing, accounting, etc) and Filemaker handles the unusual or unique needs. The two systems can complement each other quite well as long as there isn't much duplicate data entry for users to do.
To me their roles in life are so different that it is hard for me to compare one to the other or think of them in the same way.
In the sea of information systems I think of SAP as the mother of all ships; the aircraft carrier. The floating city that hauls a lot of stuff but requires an enormous crew. Filemaker on the other hand is like a small but very nimble cargo ship. It can run circles around SAP is certain respects but it is never going to carry the massive payload that SAP does.
In my employ through last October, I built a full out ERP system in Filemaker that could run two manufacturing plants...total of 100 people.
Nov1 we were acquired by a MUCH larger company with sites all over the world.
SAP gets installed later this year into next year.
Filemaker stays to do the things that SAP can't.
SAP takes over and I'll trash the FMP modules in the places where SAP takes over.
Where SAP can't do it...it still needs to be done...so FMP will pick up the slack.
They can work well together if people let them.
Sometimes you just need big data from all over the globe...SAP.
Sometimes you need to track the quirky details of your eccentric product lines...FMP...and summarize it out to SAP.
Sometimes you need to track the quirky details of your eccentric product lines...FMP.
This is where FileMaker really shines; the ability for a developer to quickly work around or build in functionality for exceptional cases.
I built an ERP/MRP system for a commercial kitchen which is continually adjusting its ways and means to achieve peak efficiency and provide a competitive edge. I've watched them explore canned ERP solutions time and again over the years but they continue to remain with FileMaker simply because it is able to adapt to their needs at (figuratively) a moment's notice.
such a good response, ninja.
work well together.