Using FileMaker as a Low-Code/No-Code Platform for RAD Development
If you’re running a small or mid-sized business, you’ve probably discovered that the price of enterprise software makes you cringe. It often just doesn’t fit into your budget. You need to automate and streamline your business processes, but you don’t want to take out a loan to do it. On the other hand, if you work for a corporation and you’re responsible to implement a productivity mandate from your leadership team, you likely don’t want to wait two or three years for a custom solution to be built. You have the budget but you don’t have time to waste.
Custom enterprise software is notoriously time-consuming and costly to develop. Businesses of all sizes need solutions that function in specific ways, and they often don’t have either the luxury of large budgets or years of development time. These companies need to fix clunky processes and improve profitability quickly. FileMaker is an ideal platform for custom business solutions because it’s a flexible foundation that’s completely and easily customizable, as well as secure.
What You Can Build with FileMaker
You can use FileMaker to build just about anything, including databases and custom applications, quickly and cost-effectively. Custom CRMs, custom ERPs, combination applications, and myriad other types of software become accessible to any business with FileMaker. The platform is extremely flexible, allowing you to create applications that your team can use on desktops and and mobile devices — as web-based software and/or as a mobile app.
Why It’s so Efficient to Build with FileMaker
What makes it so efficient to create applications using FileMaker? FileMaker is a Workplace Innovation Platform — a “low-code/no-code” platform that allows developers to create software with minimal programming (or even none at all). With pre-built modules, templates, plugins, and simple integrations, building with FileMaker is like assembling a modular home in that it takes a fraction of the time that a from-scratch hand coding build would take. This ability comes with two big benefits:
Affordability — You don’t need to hire software developers in-house or pay the high cost of from-scratch development.
Time Savings — Unlike from-scratch software, which requires years of development time, FileMaker allows you to deploy new solutions quickly. As a low-code/no-code platform, FileMaker lets developers build software rapidly.
What You Need to Know About Using FileMaker for Rapid Action Development
First, what is Rapid Application Development (RAD)? RAD stands in contrast to the traditional “waterfall” method of software development, which focuses on extensive research and planning before any programming is done. RAD development emphasizes the importance of building a working prototype that can then be tested on real users for valuable feedback.
Whether your company is small, large, or somewhere in between, you don’t want to spend time and money unnecessarily. Low-code/no-code platforms like FileMaker give organizations a fast track to custom business solutions. With RAD development, you arrive at an ideal solution more quickly and affordably, because you’re not building features that users don’t need, or leaving out essential functionality.
Advantages of RAD Development
1. You can break a software project into small, achievable sprints.
Breaking a large project down into smaller chunks gives your team interim goals to accomplish. This is beneficial because you can bring in specialists (if needed) just when you need them, and it gives your team a sense of accomplishment to see progress being made.
2. You get a working product more quickly.
With RAD development, the team can be working on their individual pieces simultaneously. Additionally, getting continual feedback from real users will allow you to arrive at the best version of the product much sooner.
3. You’ll experience better user adoption.
Many enterprise software solutions face significant adoption challenges because they just don’t mesh with users’ workflows. When developers allow users to test out an initial version of the software and offer feedback, they can build exactly what users need, leading to eager adoption.
With the RAD development process, you can quickly build a prototype, test it on your users, and iterate affordably. There’s no need to wait long periods of time for a model to test, and you won’t need to waste money on expensive from-scratch development while you’re iterating.
FileMaker as PaaS
While you can purchase a license that allows you to host FileMaker and the applications you build with it on your own server, FileMaker is also offered in a PaaS (platform as a service) model. With PaaS, setting up and maintaining infrastructure is unnecessary, since both the hardware and software tools that you need for development are delivered as a package via the Internet. With this model, your IT staff can focus on other projects, and since you’re only paying for the exact resources you’re using, you’ll save money in the process.
FileMaker: The Ideal Platform for Custom Software
For all of these reasons, FileMaker is an ideal platform for building nearly any type of custom software solution. You can quickly and affordably create custom CRM (customer relationship management) software, ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems, combinations of the two that function as one piece of software), and other types of solutions.
FileMaker gives your company the ability to streamline your processes, increasing your potential and improving profitability. The functionality you can achieve with FileMaker’s low-code/no-code platform is exceptional.
Want to learn what FileMaker can do for your company? Contact us to schedule a call. We’ll answer any questions you have and chat about how FileMaker could help you achieve your productivity goals.
Joe is the architect of the systems that The Scarpetta Group develops. He started working with FileMaker over 20 years ago, helping businesses streamline their companies’ processes and creating applications to make them run more effectively.