1 2 3 Previous Next 39 Replies Latest reply on Jun 9, 2015 12:21 PM by disabled_jackrodgers

    Where to next for the FileMaker Platform?

    NickLightbody

      For Filemaker to evolve more rapidly in order to stay relevant and to prosper, in my view, it will need to have a much simpler product line.

       

      FMI is too small a company to be all things to all people.

       

      The web is where everything is happening and FMI clearly understand that which is why they bet the family farm on Web Direct about 5 years ago.

       

      The current jewel in the FM Crown is FMServer, that is where the real value is and also where the revenue model can controlled and simplified, hence the connections model for Go and WebDirect.

       

      Ideally people will be able to buy FMServer as a service and not be bothered with installation or licensing, they will just buy a complete package on a monthly subscription - or better still pay in arrears on actual use as you do under a Windows SPAR agreement.

       

      Once WebDirect is good enough there will be no more need for any FM Client Executable apps, other than the Developer App. I expect Advanced to be renamed back to FM Developer, as it was originally.

       

      At that time expect the cost of FMServer Connections to become equal to the cost of equivalent FMPro licensing.

       

      So the product line would be FMServer, availably flexibly as a service or as a normal install, and all clients on all devices would just use WebDirect.

       

      Developers would develop solutions with Developer, which is as it should be.

       

      In this way FMI would be able to put more resource into developing and improving the right technologies and spend less resource trying to keep too many products all working together over a myriad of operating systems.

       

      In order to address the key issue of FMServer as a service, FMI would need a Linux version of FMServer for use by licensed cloud service resellers to reduce the cost base and maximise FMI revenue, provided that old agreement between Apple and Microsoft does not still preclude it.

       

      I welcome your disagreement, I merely want to give this thread a suitably invigorating start, however I would personally welcome thoughtful future gazing as opposed to some of the dull negativity and pessimism that seems to have entered our community of late.

       

      With Filemaker you can do stuff over a variety of OSs and devices that is really not possible any other way, without waste developer resources. FM is still the quickest and easiest way to organise and share data over a variety of devices and in an age of data overload FM has a potentially great future - provided FMI succeed in moving their market focus to web services sufficiently quickly and effectively.

       

      Cheers, Nick

        • 1. Re: Where to next for the FileMaker Platform?
          Markus Schneider

          Thanks for splitting this from the other thread!

          I don't disagree - aside of today's areas without a network (and some kind of freedom - no provider needed). Here, when it comes to gouvernment customers, a browser based solution is often the only way to go

          • 2. Re: Where to next for the FileMaker Platform?
            Vyke

            In the government context, in which I work, and in my particular instance, a web solution is not allowed. If FMP does away with the current client/server setup, then we will have to stay with the version that continues to provide the C/S style framework or move on. We have to have standalone apps.

            • 3. Re: Where to next for the FileMaker Platform?
              NickLightbody

              Is that an historic requirement, likely to be modernised in a while or a security based requirement?

               

              Interesting that you and Markus Sneider have opposite experience, which countries are you both in I wonder?

               

              Obviously your logo could be a clue :-)

              • 5. Re: Where to next for the FileMaker Platform?
                siplus

                Have you ever seen/can you imagine a health clinic with 5 receptionists, 40 doctors, 90 agendas, 6 waiting rooms filled with patients and in the middle of such pressure people tapping one's clinical findings, exam results, prescriptions, letters, even a simple birthdate on an iPad ?

                 

                Would you go to such a clinic as a patient ?

                 

                NickLightbody wrote:


                The web is where everything is happening and FMI clearly understand that which is why they bet the family farm on Web Direct about 5 years ago.

                 

                 


                Life is not happening on the web.


                And yes, that clinic is one of our clients, running 86 multi-table Filemaker databases all day long.

                 

                They scan documents, print labels and appointment tickets, get data from medical hardware into FM via serial to USB adapters, send XML invoices to insurances and trust centers, read insurance cards with magstripe readers, import XMLs, send data to other devices etc....

                 

                iPad? iOs ? lol.

                • 6. Re: Where to next for the FileMaker Platform?
                  Vyke

                  It's a departmental security policy for this particular department of the U.S. government.

                   

                  Yes, it's the Iceland flag, it is where I am from.

                  • 7. Re: Where to next for the FileMaker Platform?
                    DavidJondreau

                    I can make guesses based on scanty evidence and hope!

                     

                    I don't know enough about FMI's markets to give any prediction more than a 50% chance. Where does their lion's share of the revenue come from? I have no idea. I suspect it's institutional buyers like large school systems or government agencies paying discounted rates for thousands of licenses, but I don't know.


                    Keep in mind, FMI has a "problem" of being an small, profitable, established company. It can't go big and fail like a startup, but it's not big enough to spin off failing projects like Google. It's got to be conservative because it actually has profits to care about and isn't going to "have an exit".


                    Both a mobile and web version are necessary and FMI's gotten there, after some fits and starts, not in the standard chronological order, but we're there. Kudos!


                    Next? I'm not sure. Obviously some technologies are taking off (voice recognition, self-driving cars) but I can't see how they fit into FMI's space.

                     

                    In terms of thin clients, Nick, you might be on the right track...FMI has raised prices on connections and is deprecating the runtime. So, yes, it's possible we're looking at a thin client, or possibly a "free" thin client where it's the Server connections that are revenue generating. That would be awesome and a huge change that I'll give a 20% chance of happening (again up to a max of 50%).

                     

                    I doubt FMI will get into the cloud hosting business. It seems like too far out of their range. Unless they acquire an existing company with that experience, I don't see it happening. A Linux version is possible. Server has always been "lighter" than Pro. But is there really that demand? Are the big FM server companies asking for that? I don't know. But I don't see a significant cost savings of Linux/AWS whatever compared to PC servers..not when the cost of a connection is $8 a month. 5%.

                     

                    An Android version would be exceptional, but there are some technical and business issues. 5%

                     

                    Allowing FMPA-developed apps into the iOS app store is also a possibility. But there are technical, social, and business issues. I'm don't know enough about iOS to say the "sandboxing" problem can be solved. Social is because current iOS developers might completely freak out. Business because...well the app store kind of sucks for developers. There's over a million apps on Apple's store. There's a decreasing benefit of being there. There's some benefit to *not* being there (development costs). 10%

                     

                    I think someone could make some cash starting their own FM app store. Yes, this is not news. And it's been tried a little. But not seriously seriously. I think the right combo of business sense and funding could get an FM app store off the ground. An independent start up could get that going.


                    And so could FMI, baking a purchase ability into FM Go itself, charging developers to submit and a portion of sales. That would be something!

                     

                    This is all speculation, I have no specific knowledge of any of this, and it sure is fun!

                    • 8. Re: Where to next for the FileMaker Platform?
                      taylorsharpe
                      In order to address the key issue of FMServer as a service, FMI would need a Linux version of FMServer for use by licensed cloud service resellers to reduce the cost base and maximise FMI revenue, provided that old agreement between Apple and Microsoft does not still preclude it.


                      FM had an AUX server for a while and hardly anyone used it.  If you really want Unix, the Mac OS X is already certified.  But it makes you wonder if they have built a Unix version of FMS, why it wouldn't be pretty easy to put on Linux also. 


                      There is no speed improvement going to Linux.  But what I think most people want to get at is large scalability, which will probably not happen until FMS can be shared across multiple server machines.  And, that, is the main difference between FMS and the big Iron SQL server software like Oracle, MySQL and MS SQL Server.  The programming involved in synchronizing multiple servers is along the lines of parallel processing and is just rather complicated.  Obviously it can be done.  But are there even enough FM customers to pay for such a large cost?  I see a lot of people comments here of people complaining about the cost increases of 14 and large scalability development costs would make things a lot more expensive. 


                      Then again a lot can be done with multiple FMS's talking to each other.... except.... FMS's can't talk to each other.  Only clients can talk to multiple servers.  That too is another big limitation.  It sure would be nice if a database in one FMS could be ESS'd in another FMS. 


                      • 9. Re: Where to next for the FileMaker Platform?
                        siplus

                        several clients of ours are synchronising on-the-fly their 2-5 servers via SyncDek. It's not cheap at all, extra coding on our side is required, too, but it works. Servers are ofc in different cities.

                        • 10. Re: Where to next for the FileMaker Platform?
                          It can't go big and fail like a startup, but it's not big enough to spin off failing projects like Google

                          Bento?

                          • 11. Re: Where to next for the FileMaker Platform?
                            itraining

                            I think you have joined the dots Nick. My prediction for the switch is FileMaker 17 in 2020?

                             

                            "Ideally people will be able to buy FMServer as a service and not be bothered with installation or licensing, they will just buy a complete package on a monthly subscription.

                            Once WebDirect is good enough there will be no more need for any FM Client Executable apps, other than the Developer App. I expect Advanced to be renamed back to FM Developer, as it was originally."

                            • 12. Re: Where to next for the FileMaker Platform?

                              You can now buy a monthly subscription to a FileMaker Server from a number of internet hosts. Prices start about $20 for a shared host which may run a bit slow with so many people on board to a single user server starting about $180 a month which includes the FileMaker Server software but there may be extra charges for connections which can get expenseive.

                               

                              FileMaker also has a few package plans that involve yearly licenses at less per year than the purchase of a unique forever license.

                               

                              What we'd all like is a complete standalone hands off install that does everything correctly and is ready to go in 10 minutes or so with no headaches and only pay $30 a month, right?

                               

                              Maybe rent a Mac Mini or a Monster Microsoft Mega Server with everything pre-installed, like renting a car or leasing a car.

                               

                              It should be completely self-sufficient, self-standing, self-cleaning with one input plug and one output plug. We drop in our files and forget it.

                               

                              Something like Data in Star Trek...

                              • 13. Re: Where to next for the FileMaker Platform?
                                wimdecorte

                                Taylor Sharpe wrote:

                                 

                                There is no speed improvement going to Linux.  But what I think most people want to get at is large scalability, which will probably not happen until FMS can be shared across multiple server machines. 

                                 

                                I doubt that large scalability is what a lot of FM clients are after.  From a disaster recovery perspective it would be nice but I'm hard pressed to believe that FMI is after the market that requires a FMS server farm because of the user load...

                                 

                                Linux would be nice because it removes most of the OS cost.  But even that is fairly inconsequential for most deployments except perhaps the cloud hosts.

                                • 14. Re: Where to next for the FileMaker Platform?
                                  Markus Schneider

                                  As far as I'm concerned, it's a matter of strategy. Here, when You have an application/solution that needs a local installation, much more different processes are involved, different departements, etc. Last but not least, it costs more (a different budget is behind).. IT is not cheap.

                                  If an app is browser based, everything is allready installed on the clientside (theoretically..) and all possible risk is 'catched' somewhere in those ISO papers (what is OK!), it fits in existing process-maps.

                                   

                                  To keep it short, it could mean that the IT has nothing to do with the 'foreign' app (everything not coming from MS/Oracle/SAP, is 'foreign') and therefore is happy, but it's not that easy.

                                  We got an older IWP based solution for a government departement, the reason for IWP was the IT, they said 'no way for  new local installations'.

                                  OK, we have that thing running for a couple of years now. This winter, new users joined that app and they were in a different departement. The starter file could not connect due to an 'IT separation model'. To solve that, 3 IT sections were involved and they created separate jobs for that - accounting included...

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