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    Creating a Demo version of your software solution


      Hi All,


      We have developed a software solution(azorsoftware.com). We are struggeling with creating a nice downloadble demo version.

      A runtime would be ideal. But the limitations are to big.


      - No close window

      - No PFD option

      - No Charting.


      Our solution relies on these funcions to much.


      So now we use a FileMaker trial to demo our product. This works but is somewhat complex for the client. Installing a FileMaker Trial and an instruction to open our demo online by clicking a fmnet:// link.

      We would like to keep the process a easy as possible because most sofeware now a days is available on demand and directly accessible via a webbased interface.


      Is it possible to create a installer with our solution and the trial included ? Does anybody already have expierence with this ? How do you offer your demo ?


      Thank you for your help.


      Willem-Jan Kempen


        • 1. Re: Creating a Demo version of your software solution

          Hi Willem


          There ar a number of installer makers out there, ranging from free to a bunch of hundreds of dollars. I'm not sure if you can use your SBA license to do the demo, given that you have to report to your sales executive each license you sell, regardless of the serial number they give you.


          However, my 2¢ of mexican pesos go in a different direction (thanks to the translator Widget in MacOSX):


          Your sales model is based on rental of both your software and FileMaker licensing and the price is way over the USD 100.00, which makes me think in two things:


          1.- Your software is more complex than a "single function" program, so it needs certain training before the user can get a real benefit from it.


          2.- The price tag makes it tempting for some advanced programmers to get your demo, break your security and reverse engineer your software.


          In this case, downloading a demo can be counterproductive. If the user finally gets a demo he/she will still need training to see its real value, which will make the potential user to leave the program for later and wasting the 30 days demo time.


          If instead of having a downloadable demo you have tons of videos and white papers the prospective customer will have a clearer idea of what your software is and if he/she is really interested then can contact you for a real, person to person web based demo. You can do this with TeamViewer, WebEx, Skype, etc.


          This keeps lurkers away from your software, leaving you more time for the really interested customers.


          Hope you find this useful.



          • 2. Re: Creating a Demo version of your software solution

            Hi Ibrahim,


            Thanks for your reaction.

            I get your point. But we think different about this.

            We want a smooth as possible demo.


            Kind regards,



            • 3. Re: Creating a Demo version of your software solution

              Hi Ibrahim,


              For similar instances we allow the client to request a demo and then one of technical support reps calls the person and connects to their PC to assist with the install. This allows us to show off our products and connect with a potential client in the early stages. This way you can be connected to their machine if anything goes wrong.


              Anytime we have done this it creates a great working relationship.



              • 4. Re: Creating a Demo version of your software solution



                My point is not to release a demo to an unknown customer. If you get to talk by phone with the prospective customer your chances to close the deal are way bigger than just giving the demo file.


                On the other hand, if a customer is interested enough he/she will call, leaving most of lurkers out of the picture.




                Ibrahim Bittar Torres

                Director General

                Eikonsys, S.A. de C.V.

                FileMaker 10 Certified Developer


                FileMaker Business Alliance

                • 5. Re: Creating a Demo version of your software solution

                  If you do not need networking or file sharing in your solution, or can disable that for the demo, then make demo  to run in "kiosk" mode. This is a stand alone solution.


                  Runtime solutions will work in "kiosk" mode, but as there is no navigation beyond what you allow on the screen you have more control of the potential client can do.


                  Just be sure to put an EXIT button on the solution, otherwise people get frustrated as they can exit the program without great difficulty.

                  • 6. Re: Creating a Demo version of your software solution

                    My point is.

                    Showing your software and demoing is time consuming. And you have to do this by making an appointment, not very smooth.

                    We want our customers to explore the product themselve before giving any demo. The process needs to be smooth because then you have the most chance they will take a look.

                    After that the program needs to be very intuitive so they get really interested and then ......


                    An FileMaker runtime is ideal for the demo process but it lacks functionality. A FileMaker trial would als be nice if you could bundle it with your own installer. Has anybody done this ?




                    Kind regards.



                    • 7. Re: Creating a Demo version of your software solution

                      Another option could be to offer an remote desktop to a user which shows our product.

                      Does anybody have any experience whith this ? Can this also be done on OSX just lik RDP ?


                      Thank you.


                      Kind regards,



                      • 8. Re: Creating a Demo version of your software solution


                        Have you considered creating a remote desktop environment for your prospects to enter and demo your solution on one of your computers?


                        While you still have the threshold of a prospect knowing how to use RDC you can mitigate that by providing a downloadable "Microsoft RDC settings file", about 4K.


                        Considering your list of specific needs / objections ... it might be worth a look



                        • 9. Re: Creating a Demo version of your software solution

                          Looks like you have considered it (about 7 minutes sooner)

                          Yes there is a free Mac version of Remote Desktop. It works just fine but does not come with the OS.


                          Although... I have never tried to open a Microsoft RDC settings file with the native Mac counter part. Has anyone trided that?



                          • 10. Re: Creating a Demo version of your software solution

                            The point has already been made - if the solution is complex first time users will not appreciate how powerful your solution is because they will not know how to use it to best advantage. If they get confused/frustrated it will be much harder to sell to them. Another point here is that unless they know what to look for they will not see it.


                            I think that you are best off creating a video. A five minute video of the software being used by an operator who knows how to use it will display the features in their best light. They can watch the video in less time than it would take them to download and install the demo.


                            Someone else suggested a remote desktop demo. I think that is a good option too.


                            In both cases, you have to remember the adage "you sell the sizzle, not the sausage".



                            • 11. Re: Creating a Demo version of your software solution

                              checkout if mactopia at MS has a Mac version... they used to.

                              Never tried the Apple version on PC... Depends if they use the same protocol or not.

                              I've certainly VNC's to a Mac from Windows.


                              I'm not happy with the downloadable demo scenario. The best thing is to screenshare where you allow them to drive. Or a youtube video. People get lost in demos if they are multi-layered and multifunctional and multi-accessible.


                              - Lyndsay

                              • 12. Re: Creating a Demo version of your software solution

                                Hi All,


                                Most software is available in a Trial version for download. FileMaker Pro itself also.

                                I myself like to try software first before I buy something! This is a normal proces ? Not being able to see a program in action is why I would google to look for a competitor which offers a downloable demo !


                                So I want a downloable demo for azorsoftware.com which is fully functional. But it seems this is not possible. It would be nice if FileMaker Solution could be bundled with a FileMaker trial. Some body already did this ?



                                Kind regads,

                                • 13. Re: Creating a Demo version of your software solution

                                  Hi Willem


                                  Yes and no...


                                  You can't download a demo of SAP, don't you?.


                                  It depends on the software. If you are looking for a file renaming utility for example, which – with all the bells and whistles – its only function is to rename files, then yes, a demo file is useful. But in a system that takes a long way configure and setup and use fully, yes, you can also have a fully functional demo but I'm not sure that it will be as useful as a single function program.


                                  If despite of all this you still want a demo file, you can consider the runtime limitations as demo limitations as well. FileMaker demo has limits: you can only create 50 records per table for example.


                                  It's just a matter of scripting so when a user clicks on the Export as PDF... icon a custom dialog pops up and says: "This funtion can only be used on fully licensed version of this program. If you want to see this funcion in action please contact us to arrange a demo.... whatever...."





                                  • 14. Re: Creating a Demo version of your software solution

                                    If you can spare a license of FileMaker Server, you can set up a virtual server and install a copy of yur system in there.


                                    For example you can create a virtual server with VPS, check their website: http://www.vps.net/product/cloud-servers/


                                    Then create a demo account and give the user an url to donwload the FileMaker demo installer from your website. Downloading the demo from www.filemaker.com is a bit cumbersome because you have to fill a form and wait for a download link.


                                    Then you just leave instructions on how to connect to the remote server and use the demo account. If you want to have more control on the demo accout you can let the customer to fill a form which sends you an email. Then you can create an account specifically for that user. You can even create a specific set of solution files for that customer and set FileMaker Server so each user can see only his files.


                                    The bottomline is that my points are business based, not technical. Finally there is tecnhical workaround for almost everything with FileMaker.



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