I am working as a Data Manager, Inhouse Designer and Developer of FileMaker Pro database system used to manage business and documentation for my company. The company is providing various financial services, mostly in the area of debt managment and bankruptcy administration.
Practically from scratch, we (my boss, some coworkers and me), developed a business that is employing about 30-40 people for the last couple of years and managing about 80 000 clients. Here i will write about this exciting experience to try to show some benefits of using FileMaker Pro in this particular situation.
5 years ago, the company owner started thinking of implementing the database management system as he was planning to transfer his business from the real-estate sector, which was colapsing, towards financial advising, particularily debt management. At the time i was employed in managing the website and a data system for this real-estate company.
It seamed impossible to handle the new bankruptcy and debt management business using the resources from the old company. There where much more clients to handle in a more complex way and also, more documents to issue for each client. The accounting was more complicated as well because the payments had to be made in 5, 6 or more stages and the clients needed to be tracked precisely in regards to this.
So, we needed a more powerfull database system, able to handle large number of clients with a lot of information and documents attached to each one of them, and at the same time manage various employees in our company, allocate their contacts, track their activities, store the notes, issue the documents, info packs, questionnaires, petitions, creditor letters and also track the stages of payments, notify about actions to be took on the appropriate stage, send courtesy letters, reminders etc… Obviously, not an easy task list to acomplish. My particular task was to find out which system could be used to meet the requirements.
I went over numerous possible options, concidered MS Access which we already had installed, Sybase, Salesforce.com, Google docs, FileMaker Pro and so on. We also reviewed ready made systems for accounting such as SAP, VISMA and SAGE and some big players such as IBM Db2, Oracle and SQL. Then i started asking around to see what is in use with other companies and how did they resolve this particular segment of their business.
Finally, we decided to go with FileMaker Pro, somehow it came with an acceptable price, was understandable in terms of how to use it and most importantly, we could start working emediately after we installed the technical environment (hardware and software), and then develop the system as the business is developing.
After some time, we had a fully functional system that served the business well and became one of the key factors in our early success. This was very important as the company did not have an impressive budget to start with and most of it was spent in building the basic prerequisits, the database, offices, furniture, telephone system, IT equipment and all kind of small things that you dont even imagine when you are starting the business. So, it was important to start earning early, there was no time to wait and no room to complicate and make things “perfect”.
Outcome for me
I became really impresed with FileMaker Pro in the course of the process and grew so fond of it that i decided to start learning for to become FileMaker Certified and commit myself to an in-depth study of all the possibilities that it can offer. Developing a database system is allways a hard, focused work, but for me, and with FileMaker Pro, it could be really interesting and many times even fun.
What is really comfortable is that the work goes fast and the users are hapy, so i dont have a lot of stress in my everyday office workflow as 99,9% of the things are just working fine.