How much time does it take?
What kind of a time span should you expect before your system is installed, deployed and ready to go. Again, this depends on the complexity of the project. The good thing about RAD platforms, such as FileMaker Pro, is that they can be installed and deployed before the system is completely finalised and the employees could start using the system to some extent even if it is not completely functional. As an example, lets say we have a company with 30 employees. It is necessary to spend at least a week (more likely 2 weeks if there is more then 10 computers and more then one room in the office) in planning and installing the hardware and necessary basic software (mentioned above) and testing the system.
While this is done, database developer can go over fases 1 and 2 mentioned above (Consultation and Requirements planning) and start with designing the software. If during the first 2 fases of the process you figured out that you can start with any of the predeveloped solutions (and, as mentioned, there is a number of them on the market), phase 3 (User Design) can start as soon as the hardware is installed and should not last more then a week, mostly 2 weeks. So, after 1 month you could have a system installed in your office ready to store your data and do the most important tasks. Then, in phase 4, you have to develop it further to the point where everything is working fine and as expected, all the documents are imported and merged, emailing system is setup etc., and this usually takes about 2 months. Most of the work belonging to phase 5 would be done by now and you may give yourself a month more to polish everything. So, in the good case scenario you would have to plan about 4 month before the system is completely functional and tested. If you build from the scratch, it would take a month or 2 to develope all the fields and layouts. After this is done, you usually have a database administrator employed on the regular basis to deal with fixes, backups, additional requests, plug-inns, document changes, records exporting and importing, graphs, stats and the system should be able to grow and upgrade without major changes over time. You could then easier add a department or a sister project to the already existing one, as most of the hard work is done in terms of consultations, design, programming and deployment.