1 Reply Latest reply on May 15, 2015 6:55 AM by matthew_odell

    Contacts Starter Solution: what are its limitations?

    mingram

      I am looking to transfer our patched-up contacts database to the Contacts Starter Solution in the hopes that it can do the following:

       

      1. Easily update Org department details by editing one record rather than several
      2. Be able to create lists based on an Org membership type (regional, population, fee structure)
        • a person may belong on several committees
        • an assistant who supports more than one person in an Org can be updated once for all
        • can prepare invoices based on fee structure
      3. Can serve as an online directory - where assistants or persons with access can update basic information online.

       

      By patched-up, our database is person-based and certain lists cannot be done because of this structure.  I would like to know whether this Starter Solution can be easily modifiable to do the items above (there's more than this preliminary list). Our database only has 3000+ records so I figure if I can modify or customize this Starter Solution, it will be a more logical place to continue rather than keep patching up our current database.

       

      Thank you.

        • 1. Re: Contacts Starter Solution: what are its limitations?
          matthew_odell

          Hi there,

           

          I wish I could give you a definitive "yes" and have you start working right away, but with most questions like this, it depends on a bunch of factors. I'd first like to say that any advice I give here is limited because I've never seen your current contacts solution and what it gives your team already.

           

          If possible, I would like some help understanding the terms you are using. Can you do me a favor and describe exactly what each of these things mean to you and your system:

           

          Org

          Department

          Committee

           

          Even before getting full descriptions of those, it seems like what you need is a more relational system with multiple tables of data that relate to one another. This is obvious when you say things like:

           

          editing one record rather than several

          and

          a person may belong on several committees

           

          What those relationships are, I don't know right now. Either way though, I can tell you that similar to your file, none of the Starter Solutions have a relational contact solution like what you are asking for. The Contacts has only one main contact table, which is probably similar to your solution. You mention invoicing too, which might mean that you want to think about using the Invoice Starter Solution, but the "contact" piece of that solution only has Companies, so you would potentially need to build out the contacts/departments/committees part.

           

          So whether you use our starter solution or your old solution, you will need to build out a more relational structure. This means spending some time figuring out the right data model, building that in Manage Database, then creating layouts, scripts, etc... to deal with this new structure.

           

          As for the online directory, I know both Contacts and Invoices have FileMaker WebDirect optimized layouts, so that might be a nice starting point.

           

          Since you'll probably have to do some building, it depends on what you feel more comfortable doing: building in something that you know in and out, but might have a lot rust and detritus, or building in something new, but that has a learning curve because you don't know it in and out.