Quickbase is cloud-based, with a pricing calculated per user per month....
To create something fully customized in qbase you need to sign up for a developers account. If you happen to find a template in their convoluted template site that doesn't need customization, then it *may be* a good solution for the users.
My thought is that if your clients are familiar with the "FileMaker Magic", then both of you will fast reach the limits of qbase and be frustrated when you hit that wall. As a developer you will also almost certainly have to charge more time for customizations as you deal with an unfamiliar platform.
Siplus also failed to mention that there is a minimum user count for each tier ($15/10 users, $25/20, $40/40), the essential level does not allow any customization. And you need the top tier (that's $1600/month) to unlock the developers sandbox for full customization.
Mike, I concur with your first paragraph and am making the pitch about the full database functionality of FileMaker. But the 2nd paragraph doesn't help because this client does not have FileMaker. I'm in an uphill battle because when they found out FileMaker was owned by Apple, they almost quit talking to me. I had to profusely promise them that it would work just fine on their Windows desktops and Windows server. I have a number of clients not interested in Apple hardware, but I really haven't run into one who really dislikes Apple. Not sure what has them so anti-Apple, but it is what it is. And the fact that they're still talking gives me some hope!
Well, I'll see you on the slopes tomorrow in Tahoe and we'll certainly have to discuss this more on some lift rides to the top of the mountain!
I'd try at least once to detail the fitness of the tool for the purpose. Look at FMP's strengths from the user's perspective… local-area performance, shorter time-to-productivity, stable costs over time. On the business problems they're trying to solve, integration with QuickBooks seems only faintly relevant. For marketing, integration with something like Mandrill/MailChimp seems like a big win. For project management, integration with local users via LDAP/AD seems like a big win. You could say something like, "with a FileMaker solution you can integrate the best tools available for these kinds of tasks, rather than just whatever Intuit has struck a deal to let you use."
It also sounds like you have a "decider" on your hands, so you might talk about the greater degree of control they'd have over what you build for them. You could demonstrate how it would all stay on their premises, and how they could determine when and how to upgrade, store backups, and control access. I'd give them the ol' "we could do it in quickbase, and it would probably be fine, but you'd never be in full control, you'd be limited in your options, and you'd be subject to Intuit's whims," etc.
I'd also size up the accounting folks and how much they actually like QuickBooks. If it's simply what they're familiar with, then I'd be all "Intuit is great at the QuickBooks you know and love, but Intuit never did get comfortable with QuickBase, it's just not what they know how to do. FileMaker on the other hand is all about solving this kind of problem, and people have been using it for years and really grow to love it." Or if they're secretly grumbly about QuickBooks, I'd be all "I mean look, QuickBooks is good enough, but you know what a pain it can be when it goes wrong… and you don't want to have to deal with the same kind of headaches on your project management and marketing databases. At least doing this with FileMaker, you'll have a robust solution with fewer problems when it comes to your marketing and project management tools."
And hey, maybe FMP isn't ultimately the right tool for them. If they're going to grind you over silly things like being an Apple subsidiary, you might enjoy life a little more saving your effort for a more open-minded customer.
It sounds like another developer/company would develop the solution if they choose QuickBase, is that correct? If so, then perhaps you could suggest each company create a small proof-of-concept. You do yours in FileMaker and the other company does it in QuickBooks. This would mitigate the risk of the potential client while providing data on length and cost of development.
I'm in an uphill battle because when they found out FileMaker was owned by Apple, they almost quit talking to me.
If that's the case, I'd walk. Uphill battles even before the project starts is always a red flag for me.
Interesting enough, I just got off the phone with a Quickbase sales rep, as I was wanting to know pretty much the same thing, what's the differences between FM Pro and Quickbase. I too am currently evaluating both, along with MS Dynamics for a client of mine. My client is leaning towards FM, as that's what some in his org has recommended. For us, the clincher is web-based vs. server client model, and being able to work offline. To work on a Quickbase app offline means you have to export individual tables into spreadsheets, then work offline that way, replacing the tables later when you get back online. To me that seems ridiculous. I'd much rather have the entire app local, then automatically synced when the internet becomes available again. The Quickbase sales rep was surprised that a workforce would be working offline in the first place. Considering that 1.6 billion people (1-in-4 of all humanity) live without electricity every day, that seems shortsighted.
But my limited research shows me that Quickbase, being newer software, is more user-friendly, and frankly "looks" better, from an end-user perspective. And ironically, like an apple product, "just works." For example, I've just tried setting up fmserve on Yosemite, and none of the web stuff will work. Java runtime may be the culprit, but it's an exercise in frustration here. However, the non-web stuff works grandly.
So what I would like to see is a product that works flawlessly in both worlds, offline and online.
Also, as an aside, I personally have a beef with Intuit, which has successfully lobbied to keep folks from filing their own taxes in America, without buying their software. But I guess one could come up with evil arguments against Apple as well, so that's probably a wash.
HOpefully, somebody from FMI reads the paragraph 'installing FMS and Java'. This is really a mess!
ALthough there are tech-articles for changing the Java-Version - and there are installations that work, but the problem persists and it's not 'Mac-like'
Well, often a company wants to maintain just one plattform environment. I for myself switched to Mac Servers as they so much cheaper (20 Euro a server licence...) und especially so easy to maintain, much easier tha former Windows Small Business Server.
I mean they should in any case run a decidated server so it could be a "self-running" Mac server. But - do not battle against too many hills.
As Filemaker runs on Apple and Windows this issue should not speak againts Filemaker.
To the question of the "FileMaker Magic" and that they do not own Filemaker yet. I understood it like a live quick first development session to show how fast and easy basic stuctures are set up, layouts are present, acces through the Lan is possible ans some magic reference features do easy the adding of records... etc.
But there Pros and Cons to do somethig like that and it is also a question of the personal skills..
Rem, strangely enough, I posted the problem here Re: Mac OSX 10.10.2 and fmserve install problem, can't update properly. and mysteriously after a reboot and another shot at deployment, all my problems went away - holy cow
Everything here is working just peachy now, and I am so glad I feel like going to the pub & celebrating. I think the Java mess is not limited to FM on a mac, there are so many other apps that get clobbered every time there is an OS update. I guess Apple and Oracle never got over their past spats. Cheers!
It's not just Apple. We have constant issues with Java updates breaking things in a Windows environment.
That's comparing apples to oranges. Of course you don't see SalesForce, Zoho, SugarCRM or BaseCamp on the list of "Databases", because most of them are cloud-based "products". You wouldn't label FileMaker Pro as a "CRM" but it sure gets used that way a lot.
I agree, but we are talking about how to get project or persuade client to use FileMaker. Sometimes something simple like db engine ranking list is easier to understand for client when going through detailed list of feature comparisons.
There is nothing wrong with the products you listed and they do have databases as their back-end but they are not database development tools. So if there is an off-the-shelf product what matches client requirements 80% they should probably go for it. If they need something bespoke and Quickbase is not matching requirements with the main selling point being easy to integrate with Quickbooks - FileMaker most probably will be a better option.
Regarding FMP to QuickBase (which we do both of), they have different use cases and advantages.
FileMaker has tremendous strength in that it has native clients (Mac, Win, iOS). It is far more powerful in what you can do with it. Tremendously flexible with respect to screen design, reporting capabilities and has generally heavier/more detailed programming control. It also has a large network of developers and significant extendability via plugins, web publishing, etc. Another good point was made re disconnected access, which requires some effort, but can be done w/ FMP.
QuickBase has advantages too. Like all cloud-based offerings, there's no server hardware/OS to buy/maintain or IT involvement needed. You can start using it NOW, by simply handing them your credit card and selecting one of hundreds of templates. You have no WAN performance concerns, that can plague client-server platforms for satellite offices or remote client access. Zero software to download/instal/update.
In short, if you're trying to quickly share a small, common-use system with a bunch of web users (Basketball team, group of field salespeople, etc.) and you have no IT help...then QB sometimes make sense.
If you need a more powerful solution for a tailored workflow and will be sharing the system predominantly with staff, have IT support, and/or require heavy integration with other systems, then FMP will be the better fit.
Chances are your customer has something unique about the way they work (manage projects, handle documents, bill their clients, etc.). If so, that means their needs are not common and that a powerful platform that can mold around their workflow stands to be the better fit.
Don't forget, it's also possible to connect FMP to QuickBooks online using it's API, without having to use plugins.
David A. Knight
Angel City Data
Platinum Member, FileMaker Business Alliance
2014 Excellence Award Winner "Design of the Year"
2009 Excellence Award Winner "Business Partner of the Year"
2001 Excellence Award Winner "Outstanding Technical Support"