7 Replies Latest reply on Jul 20, 2017 5:37 AM by miler24

    Filemaker SaaS feasibility discussion


      I have not developed for FM since it was a one digit version .  Loved the platform as I was able to make a learn and develop a database WHILE running our company in 3 months.  It ran for years with no issues.



      However the "new" Filemaker is rather obtuse to me with all the options on the web/server side.   Basically looking to develop a (simple) database for a specific industry, which I can market to small/medium companies in that industry.  I have seen various threads and articles on costs and AWS vs FM Server etc. 


      How do I narrow down the practicality and costs I would incur (which I would have to pass down to each customer).  Is there a good article/source of information out there which explains this to an old time FM Dev?  I would think a simple graph could explain the cost vs. data/cpu time.


      Also the license fee's seem large according to one thread I was reading.  Does that overhead/cost make my idea unfeasible? What kind of end user fees would I expect to have to charge as a minimum?





        • 1. Re: Filemaker SaaS feasibility discussion

          Hard to quantify this without knowing more about the app you want to create and whether it could be delivered in other ways.


          You might try to get the evaluation version of FM Server.


          Sadly, FMI chopped the evaluation time in half from earlier versions, but 16 days should give you some time to experiment.


          FMS' current concurrent connections licensing model ($$$) is a non-starter for my needs or clients I've talked to.


          FMS is a super, super, super nice product, forgetting about the elephant in the room (COST!), having just evaluated it for, yes, 16 days. A beautiful piece of software. But the cost is out of the question when I can host a web app (or hundreds of apps) in Tomcat app server (free), have 50, 100, 200, ... clients all using it for free. Yes, the Java/Tomcat approach takes a bit more time up front to create, but it's all gravy from there on out.


          Others will point out, and they're correct, that FMS leverages the power of FMP and hosts it in a nice way. But for me the cost/benefit isn't there.


          $25,000 for 100 FMS users?


          I would gladly pay up to $2,500 for FMS with no limits.


          Sorry, rambling there a bit...FMS is a good fit if you have clients who fit their model. I haven't met any of those type clients yet (though they obviously exist somewhere).


          Finally, having just evaluated FMS, I now understand how wonderful this software is.  It's ironic in that I'll never buy FMS with it's current cost "model".   (So, for me, I'm currently an FMP standalone type dev, -- happily in version 14 FMPA.)

          • 2. Re: Filemaker SaaS feasibility discussion

            fmpdude wrote:




            $25,000 for 100 FMS users?


            Nobody would be paying that; if you have more than 5 users, talk to FMI sales and get a quote.

            • 3. Re: Filemaker SaaS feasibility discussion

              reddoorrandy wrote:

              I have seen various threads and articles on costs and AWS vs FM Server etc.


              First order of business would be to get the deployment options (not licenses, not cost) straight.

              There is no 'AWS vs. FMS' for instance.


              If you want to host a solution you need FMS.  You can host FMS yourself (on-premise) or you can put it in the cloud by running it on any number of provider's infrastructure: AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, where you get your own instance of a Windows server and install FMS like you would on-premise.  That gives you the fullest control over configuration of both FMS and the machine it runs on.


              Or go with with FileMaker Cloud, which is an 'appliance' if you will, offered by FMI and that runs on AWS infrastructure in a way that you don't need to set up your own instance of Windows and do all the OS admin that comes with that and the installation of FMS.  FileMaker Cloud makes it easy to get going but does not offer all the features of the full version of FMS, nor does it let you control the OS so you give up a fair amount of control, a trade-off for convenience.


              Lastly you can just rent a machine or a slice of a machine from any of the FileMaker hosting providers.  That options sits somewhere between FileMaker Cloud and hosting your own FMS in terms of convenience and control.


              As you will understand there are a myriad of variables involved here that makes it a bit daunting for anyone to give you a clear picture of costs.

              • 4. Re: Filemaker SaaS feasibility discussion



                I'd like to chip in here as we are providing SaaS solutions using FileMaker. It has taken us 10 years to evolve our solutions into branded, professional looking, modularised and manageable systems that target a number of industries built on the same CRM framework.


                However, we would not have attempted this using traditional FileMaker installations; our client base currently covers Asia, the middle east, Europe and the USA and would be unsupportable for the income it generates via this method.


                The common view is that FileMaker is great, but overpriced, particularly as so many customers consist of a small number of users - you'll find quotes here such as 'a great technology ruined by licensing'. I'll not go into this in detail, as it it debated ad infinitum throughout many forums.


                Our view is that if you have a good niche product that targets an industry that is poorly served by others, then people will pay for it, much in the same way as many people complaining about the price of FileMaker will be using an Apple Macintosh that costs more than comparative computers as they perceive the value to be worth the additional money.


                We took the decision to supply the whole service via Internet based FileMaker Servers and Citrix and Remote Resources servers so that we can provide a fully managed system, without any local IT overheads. Therefore the value is not just in the application we're providing, but the delivery mechanism, the speed, the management, the software costs, the updates, the backups and DRP/business continuity services. For a flat monthly rate per user, our clients don't have to worry about purchasing, replacing, managing servers, software update costs and compatibility across all versions of the operating systems they are running, hence with the continually updated operating systems we can offer them stability whereas the IT industry is constantly forcing change. We can also roll out upgrades from central servers worldwide, without ever having to interact with the clients' IT systems.


                This has worked for us, but it has been incredibly hard work to first get the product to a marketable state, then to actually market this (which we've not yet truly achieved, our website is unfinished and neglected, but we are in a period of 60% growth compared to last year, hence it is not currently a major priority) and constantly assess the delivery method and security that revolves around it.


                If you can build a customer base, then this generates not only a regular monthly income, but a source of additional revenue as the inevitable 'tweaks' are requested. One thing everyone we've spoken to when discussing SaaS or a vertical market product is that none installed are identical and, despite having a 'finished product', changes will always be needed. This is why we market our systems as 'ready for customisation' and our published brand information does not mention FileMaker - we provide a product that addresses a need, the clients are not interested in what it runs in or how it achieves the end result, they only want to know whether it will work for them and whether it will offer a good return on investment. This is also why we don't get involved with FileMaker's certification programme; brand recognition will be much more important to us in the future than a blob on FileMaker's website, although of course each new customer will mean another license sold on behalf of FileMaker.


                We wish you luck with your plans, but do underestimate the work involved, too much success can present as many problems as to little, and hope you achieve this much more quickly than we have.


                Kindest regards



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                • 5. Re: Filemaker SaaS feasibility discussion

                  From your earlier posting on that, I actually asked FMI customer support (not sales) that very question, but they didn't sound like any discount would be available at all. They seemed surprised by my question even.

                  • 6. Re: Filemaker SaaS feasibility discussion

                    Support wouldn't know; Sales does.  Buying anything for 100 users is always a negotiation.

                    • 7. Re: Filemaker SaaS feasibility discussion

                      Stephen Day, with FileMaker, is the "Solution Bundle Agreement" representative and assists developers in both creating and licensing vertical market solutions.  He can be reached at 408.987.3916 or stephen_day@filemaker.com.  He's an invaluable source of information and can point you in the right direction.


                      Similar to Andy (CICT), we also sell vertical market solutions using a SaaS model using FileMaker.  There are many considerations, so it's good you're doing your homework.


                      Next week at DevCon, there will be numerous seminars and breakout sessions specifically regarding this.




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