Businesses and organizations that rely on spreadsheets, physical paper files, or multiple application files need a way to bring all of this information together in one place. Because all of this data exists in in multiple, unrelated formats, these businesses need a way to colocate their information for ease of manipulation, including adding, changing, erasing and querying said data. This is where FileMaker comes in.
What are FileMaker and Relational Databases?
Essentially, at it’s core, FileMaker solutions consist of a database (your database) as well as a user interface. A database is usually organized into file tables, complex configurations of information, and the user interface acts as a window into this complex world, allowing end users a uncluttered view and seamless interaction with said data. FileMaker, simply put, is software that businesses can use to create custom applications and solutions for specific business needs.
FileMaker uses what are called “relational databases,” where, instead of storing information in a single table like a flat-file database used by Excel, data is stored in multiple tables, and then the relationship between them is defined. For example, you could store customer information in one table, and then store their purchase history, target market information, etc., in another. That way, whenever a customer makes a purchase, you don’t have to enter all of their customer information along with their purchase information–you can simply pull it all from an existing table. Relational databases prevent duplicate information and reflect more accuracy in general than flat-files.
Who Uses FileMaker?
FileMaker has been hailed as a “no-code/low code platform” that touts ease-of-use to IT professionals as well as the average business solution seeker. The explosion of information in our age means that organizations with loads of data and a need to organize and interpret it efficiently are on the rise–FileMaker is the solution that touts a low cost, and low barrier to entry in terms of knowledge.
This technological barrier to entry inherent in building custom apps used to scare away the layman, who generally felt that premade market products would be the easier, less-expensive way to go, even if the solution wasn’t a complete solution. People that use FileMaker believe that apps should adapt to meet an end-user’s needs–not the other way around. Matt Weinberg wrote an article via Business Insider about the importance of FileMaker in Apple’s future, because of the way that it caters to the non-technical user.
“Over the years, FileMaker’s focus has shifted,” he writes. “Originally, it was purely a database product; now, it helps even non-technical small business folks build custom web, Windows, Mac, iPad, and iPhone apps without needing to know how to code.”
Quite recently, FileMaker has begun working more closely with Apple Retail, even though they’ve enjoyed status as an independent entity in the past. Apple’s trust in FileMaker’s performance is evidence of its efficacy in action. Those looking to leverage FileMaker’s flexible platform can either snag the program from Apple or the FileMaker website, and then partner with a FileMaker-centric development and consulting firm like DB Services.
It may not be the first solution that comes to you, but it very well has the potential to be the last. Look into FileMaker today and enjoy the efficiency boost tomorrow, next week, and in the years to come.