1 2 Previous Next 21 Replies Latest reply on Nov 17, 2016 7:06 AM by PeterDoern

    Can we develop an ERP using FileMaker?


      if let say I need to develop a solution (like peoplesoft, SAP or smaller scale erp), possible to do it with FileMaker pro?

      its going to sell to different client, each has like 50-20k employees (or users)

      how ow would the license be charging my client? Is it going to be $9/user?


      let say the solution my team developed is 10k, and client has 100 employees, so client has to pay 10k to me, another 900(annually) to FileMaker, am I right to say so?

        • 1. Re: Can we develop an ERP using FileMaker?

          Hi weilies


          Answering your first question:

          Yes, absolutely. The only limit is your own skill and imagination. Of course FileMaker Pro has its own limitations but it's up to you to find out how to overcome them to achieve the result you want. Though it's in Spanish, you can see this video to get an idea of what can be done with FileMaker.


          What kind of application you have?. Is it standalone or will run on server?. Are going to use WebDirect?.


          If it is going to run on server for more than 300 users then you'll need another database vendor. FileMaker is for smaller groups, say less than 300 concurrent users. Not sure I understood you correctly here.


          If you go with AVLA, which is the annual payment model, then you'd have to pay for the number of licenses you bought. Each bunch of licenses will have its own renewal date, so you have to be careful with that and track each license.


          If you give more details surely me or someone else will be able to give you more feedback.


          Best regards



          • 2. Re: Can we develop an ERP using FileMaker?

            Yes, it is possible to develop an ERP with FileMaker.


            We have, for instance, a client whose solution includes full purchasing cycle (RFQ, PO, Receipt of Goods, Bills, Checks, Returns to Vendor), sales cycle (Quotes, Sales Orders, Shipments, RMA's, Customer Returns, Invoices, Receipt of Payments), Inventory (Items, Materials, Inventory Adjustments, Inventory Processing, Inventory Forecasting, Recommended Purchases, Lot tracking, Bin Locations, multiple units of measure for the same item with automatic conversion), Pricing (Vendor pricing, Customer-specific pricing, Pricing Rules for vendors and customers), Shipping companies and methods, Journal entry creation for all of the above, and much, much more. All of this is integrated to accommodate more advanced distribution processes, like selling direct (vendor ships to customer), sending materials out for processing, and pre-allocating goods that are in the process of being purchased to an order in the process of being sold.


            In my opinion, the challenges in creating this had as much, if not more, to do with business knowledge as it did with technical expertise. No matter how good the development platform, the only way to make something like that "quick and easy" is to ignore all the details and reduce the functionality. A project like that is not for the feint of heart, but it's definitely doable, and that solution, and others like it, have been chugging away for years.


            As for your questions about licensing, I'm not sure I understand your questions. What is "50-20k employees (or users)"? Is that 50 to 20,000 users of one solution? I've seen a solution handle over 500 concurrent users, but even that required some serious hardware and a boatload of additional prior planning. Your "100 employees" ballpark doesn't seem outrageous at all, though.


            Also, where's the $9 figure come from?


            FMS is licensed per server, and FMP is licensed per installed seat, if that helps.


            Chris Cain


            • 3. Re: Can we develop an ERP using FileMaker?

              i am trurly impressed by the respond in this community.

              ffrom my earlier post, I mean the client might have different user size, could be from 50 to 20k users. But they are not concurrently login to the application. YES, it's the web solution so it's going to need a FMS.


              here is the pricing I found, the server charge based on concurrent users/month


              FileMaker 14 Pricing | FileMaker

              sorry, it's $8 instead of 9

              • 4. Re: Can we develop an ERP using FileMaker?

                You can use FileMaker with more than 300 clients: http://www.filemaker.com/products/docs/licensing_datasheet.pdf.


                And when you have a large organization you can get a Site License.

                • 5. Re: Can we develop an ERP using FileMaker?

                  You want to develop an ERP system like SAP in Filemaker that can support between 50 and 20,000 users? Seriously?


                  Honestly, Filemaker is a great small business and workgroup class application but 20,000 users? I don't think so. And you're also not going to build anything that comes close to the full functionality that SAP offers.


                  I'm a big fan of Filemaker but you need to choose the right tool for the job.

                  • 6. Re: Can we develop an ERP using FileMaker?

                    Well, even with Oracle or MS SQL or any of the other "big boys", a solution for 20K people is something that takes A LOT of planning and resources, specially if it going to be on the web, as weillies (what's your name by the way?) mentioned.


                    I agree that FileMaker is better for small - mid sized groups.

                    • 7. Re: Can we develop an ERP using FileMaker?

                      Can? Yes.


                      Is FM the right tool for the task YOU have outlined?


                      More details are needed.


                      A feasibility analysis might be a good place to start.

                      Feasibility study - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


                      If your looking to build a sellable, world class, ERP system picking the tool before you understand the dimensions of the project is setting yourself up for failure.


                      If your looking to build a business off this venture then its even more problematic



                      • 8. Re: Can we develop an ERP using FileMaker?

                        I once worked for a small company that was running much of its core business on Filemaker Pro. It was working pretty well at 50 employees. But the company had long range plans that included 10X + growth in both revenues and head count and the possibility of a public stock offering was also in the future.


                        In preparation they brought in a CFO who had done successful IPOs before and one of his recommendations was that the company get its core business off of Filemaker and onto one of the large ERP systems. His reasoning was Wall Street investors would be very wary of backing a business that had its livelihood hooked to Filemaker Pro and a ragtag group of internal developers.


                        Large organizations get much comfort from size and scale. If something goes wrong they want a partner that has the resources available to solve the problem. They don't want their whole world to come crashing down because some individual Filemaker developer is suddenly gone.


                        As far as replicating what SAP does, Filemaker can't realistically do it. SAP is the largest ship on the information systems ocean. It's essentially an aircraft carrier; a floating city.


                        SAP can be configured, not programmed, but configured to to run a multi-national manufacturing company or it can be configured to run a university or college. SAP is a monster of an information system.


                        The top tier ERP systems are in a class by themselves and I have a hard time relating them to Filemaker. It's a bit like comparing a Cessna 182 to the Space Shuttle. They both fly, and are both great at what they do, but they have different missions in life.

                        • 9. Re: Can we develop an ERP using FileMaker?

                          FM is a great platform and as the comments state you can certainly build an ERP solution with it.  But as was also mentioned you need the right tool to match the solution.  I have a lot of experience with ERP software that dates back further than I want to mention.  There is some very complex logic within ERP, especially when it comes to generating the material requirements from the master production schedule.  Some of this planning can take quite a bit of processing horsepower.  I would question the feasibility of putting in the effort to create a solution that has so many established offerings already on the market.


                          FM is not well suited to compete with large scale implementations of SAP, Oracle, JD Edwards, ... where you have hundreds or thousands of users.  But if you have a small/mid-sized business with unique requirements, then FM could be a good option.  You may also want to look at a specific business function(s) that is not handled by one of the established packages and build a solution with FM that handles that function and interfaces with the primary system.  I've run into that situation and FM is a viable platform. 


                          Good luck

                          • 10. Re: Can we develop an ERP using FileMaker?

                            A feasibility study is a good idea, but I think a simple scoping document would be an even better first step. Part one would be a statement of the problem you're trying to solve and a description of the change in your business that has precipitated the need for this kind of solution; these things help you make better decisions more quickly when you're designing and building the system. Part two would be an outline that describes the functions of the tool you want to build — Chris Cain's post has the meat of such a thing, breaking down the different areas it will touch and the functions it will perform within those areas. This gives you an idea of how many pieces you have to build, and it gives you a framework for setting initial priorities, schedules, and budgets. Part three would be an overview of the users and the means of access. This is where you actually decide whether it's 50 or 20K users—and you absolutely need to do that; "50 to 20K" is so broad, it's meaningless. Figure out who feels the most pain, who can be the most helpful, who's going to be in it all day and who's just going to be checking charts once a week. What you're looking for is how to make life better for the largest number of people in the shortest period of time.


                            When you do all this work up front, it can feel like trying to boil the ocean, but don't let that overwhelm you, and don't get caught up in the details at this stage. Don't even answer technology questions at this point. You're just trying to lay out some pieces so you can figure out what is most important to do (which is not necessarily the most "urgent"), and what you can reasonably accomplish with some success in a reasonable period of time with the resources and constraints you have.


                            With a clear "big picture", it should then be easy to try on different tools for size. You can use it to build a side-by-side comparison matrix of the different platforms. FileMaker as a platform is good for in-house development of custom tools for up to a few hundred users on desktop, mobile, and to some extent the web. Other platforms might be better for adapting off-the-shelf components to your particular business, helping you avoid reinventing the wheel. Or you may find more favorable per-user licensing with a web-based/cloud-based solution like salesforce or netsuite. Or if the scope and scale of your project points to a budget in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, you might actually be a candidate for SAP or Oracle, or maybe Dynamics is a middle-ground approach. There are open-source things like Odoo which are well-featured and have a low cost of entry.


                            The point is, planning is important. I never get to do as much of it as I'd like. But if you can at least write up a page or two that explains what the job is, you'll be much better able to find the right tool for it.

                            • 11. Re: Can we develop an ERP using FileMaker?

                              Mostly true, and 20k users is pretty much out of the question for FM.


                              However, for a hundred or even a few hundred users, SAP might be like paying for, and dealing with the complexities of, the space shuttle to take you on a commuter flight.


                              For example, the system I described, which we built, is used by about 20 or so users, which is the whole company. They could never have afforded SAP, nor dealt with the teams required, internally and externally, to implement.


                              Definitely want to use the right tool for the job, and FM shines in the smaller company or work group  If you're trying to go head-to-head for SAP's customers, like Boeing or Coca-Cola you're out of luck with FM. However, there are plenty of potential customers that aren't in that class, and can't afford SAP, but could benefit from similar functionality in FM.


                              Having worked with enterprise-level software myself, I've found that the functionality itself is hardly magical, and often fairly easy to replicate in FM. It's not so much the functionality that'll kill ya, it's the scale.


                              So yes, replicating a full SAP solution for 20,000 users wouldn't be right for FM. However, I wouldn't be so quick to rule out FM for something for a smaller company, and maybe a subset of SAP functionality.


                              Chris Cain


                              • 12. Re: Can we develop an ERP using FileMaker?

                                I agree completely Chris.


                                SAP is way too expensive and complicated for small shops and the technology is generally older and clunkier than what you can do with Filemaker. Lots of people who actually drive SAP everyday hate it but executives tend to like it because of the comfort level. (Hey, if it's good enough for Ford and General Electric, it's good enough for me.)


                                If you want to sell a scaled down ERP to smaller businesses in a niche industry, Filemaker just might be great tool for that.

                                • 13. Re: Can we develop an ERP using FileMaker?

                                  yeah, maybe going tp 20k user base is way too extreme. i have the background of oracle ERP and thats why i shout outthe 20k user, they are not concurrent but definitely it could reach up to more than 100 concurrent users.


                                  i dont mean to create a giant monster in 12 months time. but i am looking for something expendable and easy to maintain.

                                  also something affortable, for small and large scale companies.

                                  • 14. Re: Can we develop an ERP using FileMaker?

                                    i fully agreed. That's why i am looking for some tool allow intensive customization, dirty my hand to create low level processing. Rather than using FM to develop employee, invoive, report, i am hoping to do more withnFM


                                    • Role management (sales manager, VP, intent, etc...)
                                    • Workflow engine
                                    • Misc setup to define object relationship
                                    • etc
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