Often at this time of year we find clients with budgeted technology dollars that are “use it or lose it.” There are several ways we can help you to invest that budget dollar before year-end by doing valuable work or pre-paying work to be completed early in the new year that will payback in positive ROI making your business more effective, productive, and profitable.

Here we have some ideas on using your remaining budget wisely.

FileMaker Database Work Options

FileMaker IconUpdate the Interface – Interface design changes over time and flat is the trend. We can make updates to your database interface to include new icons, fonts, or colors that can give it an updated look that is consistent with your OS, be it Windows or Mac. It can also make it easier for your users to access with familiar buttons and menus.

Performance Tuning – Recent versions of FileMaker have several new script steps that can make solutions run significantly faster. We can optimize time consuming processes by taking advantage of new scripts steps such as “Perform Script on Server” to speed them up. We can also run a FileMaker Database Design Report (DDR) and analyze for performance with tools like InspectorPro and BaseElements to be sure that your solution is running in top form.

Upgrade – 95% of our clients are running the latest version of FileMaker. 98% of our clients own the latest version already through the annual licensing program. If you’re not running the latest version of FileMaker, you’re losing out on some great enhancements and upgrades that make FileMaker even more reliable. The longer you wait to upgrade the more technical debt you inherit making future upgrades more difficult and costly. Upgrade to the latest version of FileMaker and all associated plugins for the best performance and security as well as new features.

Optimize Business Processes – Are you getting the most out of your solution? Can you shave 5 hours a week off a manual process that you never thought could be automated in 2 hours…and gain back more than a month of productive time every year? Studies have shown that employees can spend about 50% of their time unproductively. Even though you may have invested in a time saving FileMaker solution are you using it most effectively? We can spend some time shadowing database users at the office as they perform database tasks and see if you’re using all the features that are there or if we can make a quick tweak that will make things faster.

Add Features to Your Database – Employees spend up to 4 weeks searching for information every year. Are you tracking everything that should be in the database there or are there Excel spreadsheets that are out there that capture critical business information that needs to be shared? Maybe there are portions of processes that we could add to your database to make it even more effective and prevent data loss.

Make it Mobile – Is there a task or portion of your database that would be valuable to access via your iPhone or iPad? We can optimize that task specifically for mobile devices…and build a native app to take it offline.

Go Web – Are there tasks or portions of your database that would be useful to open up to the world on the internet? We can do that.

Software IntegrationIntegrating with External Services – We can make FileMaker or your web site talk to other tech tools and apps like MailChimp, AccountEdge, QuickBooks, PayPal, Stripe, Salesforce, Avalara, etc. We can save you data entry time with nearly any application that has a defined API (Application Programming Interface).

Application Health Check – We can provide a review of your existing FileMaker solution. Here’s a list of some of the things we will look at in your existing solution to identify areas of improvement that will help your bottom line:

  • User Interface: ease of data entry, design, and maintainability
  • Programming quality and integrity
  • Script modularity
  • Field and table naming conventions
  • Table and Field structure
  • Report construction
  • Server setup and configuration
  • Database backup reliability
  • Remote accessibility
  • Database performance
  • File consolidation
  • Application integration web and ESS (External SQL Sources)
  • Robot processing
  • Complexity of solution
  • Data modeling/structures
  • Relationship graph structure and maintainability
  • Internal and external documentation (ERD, etc.)
  • Cross platform ability
  • Data integrity
  • Workflow efficiency
  • System security
  • System effectiveness in supporting users
  • Database file consistency
  • Plug-in integration
  • FileMaker licensing

Web and WordPress Sites Work Options

WordPress ProductUpgrade – You should stay up-to-date with the latest version of WordPress and all associated plugins for the best performance and security as well as new features.

Make it Responsive – With a majority of web browsing being done via mobile devices such as iPhone, iPad, or Android phones/tablets, if your web site is not responsive and appropriately adjusting to these devices you’re losing potential customers.

Design Refresh – If your website design was not completed in the last 3 years it’s probably looking dated. Consumers judge your viability based on your web site so if another provider looks better it is a direct reflection on your competence as an organization.

Security Audit – Hacker attacks are rampant on the internet. We can take a closer look at the security of your website and plug any vulnerabilities to avoid possible web site downtime in the future that could.

SEO Review – Perhaps you’re not getting the traffic you need with people finding your web site through Google, etc. We can do an analysis of your site for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and provide positive recommendations for changes that will improve it.

Code Review – We can look at your site and be sure that it was developed using best practices and that it is set up for the future of WordPress eliminating potential pitfalls that code cause your site to break with future revisions of WordPress.

Ecommerce – We can evaluate your existing payment gateway and e-commerce solution. Perhaps you can save money with a different provider.

Web Host Review – Are you losing customers because your web site is slow? Maybe it needs to be moved to a more reliable host.

Optimize – In some cases we’ve inherited the maintenance of your solution/web site and not had the full opportunity (for lack of budget) to fine tune them so that you get the best value out of your existing investment.

Enhance your Site – Are there enhancements you always wanted but haven’t implemented? Perhaps there was a technical hurdle in the past that prevented you from moving forward that has changed recently and is no longer an issue. Now may be the time.

Miscellanous Services

User Research – We can do surveys, 1-1 interviews, an onsite/remote view of how they interact with your solution or web site.

Quick Fixes – Where is the low hanging fruit? What quick changes can we make to your solution or web site that will have great value for you?

Create a User Guide/Documentation – We have technical writers available to build the document that will take your user productivity to the next level. It can also assist with training new personnel when they come onboard.

Create Video Tutorials – A picture is worth 1000 words and watching a video showing you how to perform a common task may be exactly what you need. We can even link the video directly to your solution for easy access when you need it.

Update Developer Documentation and Contingency Plans – Often developer documentation gets overlooked in the rush to implement new features. It’s good to go back and make sure everything is up-to-date and that you have a plan in place in case something goes wrong.

Training – Conduct a classroom experience to get your people using your solution optimally.

Assist with a Pitch to Get Funding – Are you trying to get funding for a particular project? We can assist with providing ROI calculations to assist with enhancements for your existing solution.

Write a Success Story –  You can get publicity and marketing reach by telling your story! For other clients, writing about their solution on our website has brought them national and worldwide attention as technology leaders bringing in additional work as they reach a new audience that understands what they do.

Define a Roadmap – We can put together a comprehensive technology plan for next year based on your wants and needs.

Entirely New Solutions on New Devices – Maybe your company needs a native application in the Apple App Store or something for the Apple TV, Apple Watch, iPhone or iPad. We can build that for you.

So those are a few ideas. There’s no sense in letting budget dollars that are difficult to obtain go to waste. Be a good steward and invest it wisely for your organization.

Tim Cimbura – CEO and Software Engineer

Tim is an expert in creating custom business solutions that make businesses more effective, productive, and profitable. He specializes in rapid application development with the Claris platform including FileMaker and WordPress. He also knows Apple macOS technology inside and out.