FileMaker Inc. announced on Wednesday that it will begin making ready-to-use applications for business-specific tasks. The first two FileMaker Applications — FileMaker Meetings and FileMaker Recruiter — are available today. The new line of FileMaker Applications won’t be available in retail channels; instead, they can be obtained via FileMaker’s Web site and volume purchase program.
Based on the FileMaker Pro 6 database, FileMaker Applications are designed for simple installation and require no expertise in how to use a database, John Dasher, product manager, FileMaker Applications, told MacCentral. Each application generally includes built-in e-mail and reporting templates that allow users to personalize and automate communications and the sharing of information.
The applications can be downloaded or purchased as a CD-ROM. Most of the FileMaker applications will range in price from US$49-$299. You must have FileMaker Pro 6 installed to run them — which is one of FileMaker Inc.’s reasons for launching the new line.
“FileMaker has a great history; we’ve seen that lots of people love us, but not all are using the current version of the product,” Dasher said. “We want to drive upgrades, so that everyone’s on the same version.”
The company also wants to acquire new customers and cultivate opportunities for FileMaker developers. Dasher said there are those who may be familiar with the FileMaker brand and product, but who may not be ready to make their own FileMaker solutions or hire developers.
“You don’t have to be a FileMaker jockey to use the FileMaker Applications,” he added. “You can sit down with them for 20 minutes without documentation and access 80 percent of the functionality. However, we have a great developer community both within and outside the FileMaker Solution Alliance. These new products won’t be locked; we’ve made it as easy as possible for someone to come in after us and customize them. Although FileMaker Applications are designed to be ready-to-use applications, they can also be customized and extended by developers.”
FileMaker Meetings is a meetings management application designed to assist professionals in running effective meetings. Though most employees complain about meetings, they also see meetings as an unavoidable reality of business. Professionals attend an average of 60 meetings per month according to research and more than 50 percent of this meeting time is wasted, Dasher said.
“Meetings are like the weather: everyone complains about them, but no one does anything about it,” he added. “If you multiply the number of people in a meeting by the number of wasted minutes, then add the number of action items that fall through the cracks, you get a significant drag on business profits.”
FileMaker Meetings is a purpose-driven meeting management application that assists such tasks as creating an agenda, managing the meeting, taking and distributing meeting notes, and tracking action items and deadlines. The “Meeting Archive” feature provides a “snapshot” of previous meetings, including agenda, minutes, next steps and associated e-mails and communications. FileMaker Meetings costs $49 and is compatible with Mac OS X (10.2 and higher).
FileMaker Recruiter helps professional recruiters manage searches, identify and track candidates, and communicate with clients and hiring managers. It’s designed to quickly identify the most important relationships and skills contained in each recruiter’s network of contacts and resources, Dasher said. Recruiter helps recruiting professionals place candidates more quickly by coordinating the building of a contact network for each assignment, he added.
It helps with such tasks as managing introductions and communications with sources, candidates, and clients while also providing automated reporting and communications. FileMaker Recruiter has features for contact management and “relationship mining.” The latter leverages your personal network to identify “who knows who” and “who has worked with who.” The “Organizational Debriefs” feature lets you see all your contacts within any given organization and their respective reporting structure.
“Most recruiters already have all the information and network contacts they need for a recruiting assignment, whether or not they have it in a database or in their Rolodex,” Dasher said. “Unfortunately, it’s often a time-consuming task just to identify and screen the contacts and resources in their network that match the recruiting project.”
FileMaker Recruiter costs $299 and, like FileMaker Meetings, works with Mac OS X (10.2 and higher).
FileMaker Inc. plans a regular release schedule of additional FileMaker Applications. Before the end of 2003, you can expect releases that focus on donations/fundraising/contributions, a tasks manager (“like a To-Do list on steroids that’s designed for a workgroup,” Dasher said), and sales prospecting.