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Why Use FileMaker® Instead of an Out-of-the-Box CRM Solution

If you’re looking for a CRM solution to improve your company’s processes and productivity, you’re spoiled for choice. Capterra, a site that reviews software, lists over 400 products under the CRM category. And Gartner reported that in 2017, worldwide customer relationship management (CRM) software revenue overtook the previous leader, database management systems (DBMSs), making CRM the largest of all software markets.

So many choices can lead to frustration. Not all CRMs will have all the features you need, many are expensive to maintain, and most are not fully customizable without a hefty investment in custom programming. How do you know which one is right for your business?

Rather than trying to find the needle in the haystack only to discover that it lacks an essential feature that you need down the road, consider using FileMaker to create a custom CRM solution that’s specifically designed for your company and its operations. Here’s why the FileMaker platform is ideal for CRMs for many organizations.

7 Ways FileMaker Platform Beats Out-of-the-Box CRMs

1. FileMaker is Fully Customizable

Unlike many out-of-the-box CRMs that limit customization or don’t allow you to customize at all, FileMaker is completely customizable. It’s a highly flexible platform that you can use to create nearly any system you need. Powerful features like dynamic design tools, built-in reporting tools, and proven security make it capable of performing a broad variety of tasks.

FileMaker makes it easy to build a pipeline for your sales team or to create a tool for your customer service team to speed up response times and automate tasks. You can build exactly what your team needs for the functions they perform.

Beyond simple CRMs, FileMaker can be used to create comprehensive systems like ERPs that integrate CRM functionality into a more robust system. Companies and organizations across industries, including manufacturing and healthcare, are using FileMaker to create full-featured software solutions that streamline multiple business processes.

2. FileMaker Customization is Simple

Not only is FileMaker capable of being fully customized, it’s also easy to do so. FileMaker is a Workplace Innovation Platform — a “low-code/no-code” platform that allows developers to create software with minimal programming. An intuitive graphical interface, built-in Starter apps, and ready-to-use themes combine to make customization simple.

Many of the out-of-the-box CRMs that allow customization require significant custom programming work, which is expensive and time consuming. Unlike custom programming, FileMaker development is fast. You won’t need to spend years creating your CRM. Because development goes quickly, you’ll experience ROI from your new system quickly as well.

3. FileMaker is Cost Efficient

Because FileMaker development is much faster than custom programming, it’s also more cost efficient. Many organizations are able to build (either by their team or via outsourced development) bespoke systems more affordably than customizing an out-of-the-box system.

Small businesses and mid-size companies find that they’re able to create systems they never thought their budgets would allow. Large organizations often find that they can deploy new productivity mandates more quickly, delivering ROI at an accelerated pace.

4. FileMaker Offers Ease of Integration

Any functionality that FileMaker doesn’t have natively can easily be added through integrations. You can connect your FileMaker applications to nearly any app or web service through REST APIs. You can also create live, 2-way connections with Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and IBM DB2 data sources to access and manipulate data.

With a FileMaker application, you can accomplish myriad tasks, from generating barcodes to sending documents for collecting e-signatures to sending and receiving emails within the application to connecting QuickBooks. If you can dream it up, there’s probably a way to accomplish it through FileMaker’s integration capabilities.

5. FileMaker Travels with Your Team

With a FileMaker application, your team has real time access to your customer data from around the globe on Windows, Mac, and via the web. The FileMaker platform also allows you to easily create mobile apps, making it simple for your team to use your application’s essential features on job sites and while on the go via iOS smartphones and tablets.

Because FileMaker is customizable, you can choose what functionality to build into your mobile apps. With out-of-the-box solutions, software providers only include the most popular features, which may or may not be the ones your team needs.

With two hosting options to choose from, FileMaker Cloud and FileMaker Server, you can either enjoy full-service server management via Amazon Web Services or host on premise. Both offer flexibility to enable you to make the best choice for your business.

6. FileMaker Offers Robust Analytics and Reporting

To make smart decisions, you need to analyze and interpret your data. You probably also want to share easy-to-understand reports with your team. Out-of-the-box CRMs vary on analytics and reporting capabilities — some offer robust functionality and detailed reporting capability, while others don’t.

With FileMaker, you can easily manipulate your data, look at it from a variety of angles, and use it to inform complex decisions. Built-in tools allow you to quickly create summary reports, colorful charts, and executive dashboards. You can save and export your information in either Excel and PDF format.

7. FileMaker Grows with You

With many out-of-the-box CRM systems, scalability is an issue. A CRM that works well for a small company may not be ideal for a mid-size company. You could outgrow limited features and functionality or customization capability. On the other hand, if you choose a more robust out-of-the-box CRM that you can eventually grow into, chances are high that it will be more expensive than it should be for where you are at present.

Because FileMaker is so easily and affordably customizable, and because of its development framework, applications can be updated and expanded as your company grows. You can add or remove modules, integrations, and functionality as your needs change.

FileMaker Streamlines the Decision-Making Process

Rather than spending time researching and demoing out-of-the-box CRMs that may or may not be what your company needs, consider using FileMaker to build a custom business solution that’s specifically designed for your precise requirements. Not only will you be able to design a system that’s perfect for your needs, it’s also likely that you’ll spend less money for the solution.

In-House or Bring in a Trusted Partner for Development?

The choice to develop your application in house or bring in outside help depends on your team’s skills, their current workload, and your individual situation. Consider bringing in developers who specialize in FileMaker applications and who have experience crafting the type of system you need if any of the following apply:

  • Your team is busy with other projects.
  • Your team lacks experience in business process design.
  • You know what you want to accomplish with your application but you’re unsure what features and functionality would facilitate your needs.
  • You want to build an application that’s designed for scalability and lays a foundation for future development.
  • You need a fresh look at your business workflows and processes by those with experience developing systems for productivity and efficiency.

Learn how an independent insurance company is using FileMaker to increase efficiency and boost productivity.

View The Case Study
2018-09-06T15:55:29+00:00By |

About the Author:

Joe Scarpetta
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.
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