How Can Claris Increase Market Share?

@Bobino posted the above comment in another thread, but I believe this warrants a separate discussion.

Even though $900 should not be a showstopper for a mission-critical application, licensing and hosting fees can be a perceived barrier for small businesses.

I’d like to see Claris (a) provide easier access for users who need fewer than five licenses and (b) develop an effective marketing strategy to reach these customers. (I understand this is not Claris’ most important market segment.)

What changes would you suggest Claris consider?

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In my humble opinion, Claris already got all the relevant feedback and information from the community in recent years (let’s say from 2016 on).

I think Brad said he hears this every day. It’s been a few at this point.

Claris knows the licensing needs to be simplified.
They talked about changes, but we still wait for them to show up.

I would enjoy, if they can scale better.
Going below the 5 seats limit for a server license is a good move.
Claris could do better with scaling down and scaling up.

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No problem, there has been extensive discussion of all relevant points in Claris’ old forum. I cannot access the threads anymore in the new Claris forum, but Claris surely can.

@steverichter, you said elsewhere you are relatively new to FileMaker. So you are part of this increase we want to see more of. Would you mind sharing your own story with some details: when was your first contact with FileMaker, in what context you use it today, etc.

Those things date back to 2005 and before in my own case, and I am indeed curious to hear more about how people have been joining the platform and its community more recently.

As for the question you ask, I would like to see what others will say before I throw my ideas in the mix. I've had ideas from the Claris Connect end of things in the past. I'm not sure how much of it applies to the One Claris Platform. I'm a bit busy right now to put together an answer. I'm sure you've noticed most of my posts tend to be on the verbose side of things. There is a good likeliness this would be another instance of that. For now, all I will say is that I will keep a very close eye to this thread.

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The important piece to remember here, is that the entire management team, sans 1 or 2 people, is completely new since 2016. This is a new band of people.

  1. It will take them time to make the large sweeping changes needed. And they are already mid-stream on them. We are already seeing major changes.
  2. They many not have heard it all. And many of the major dev houses, and developers active in the community are providing the feedback again. And the responses we are getting are so different than in years past. The current management team is more open to discussing these matter publicly, and give us more opportunity for feedback...and responding positively to it. This really is a version of Claris/FileMaker I haven't not seen in the 15 years I've been developing in FileMaker.
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Hi @jormond,
I appreciate your enthusiasm regarding the ‘new’ team, which joined Claris in 2016. This is nearly 5 years ago, half a decade. I suggest to stop the ‘new team’ narrative and refer to ‘senior management’.

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Define the team which you think joined Claris in 2016.

  • Brad became CEO in 2019.
  • Srini joined Claris in 2019.
  • Lucy Chen has been with the company since 1995, but didn't take over as VP FileMaker Platform Engineering until recently.
  • Ryan McCann took over as VP, Sales when Brad became CEO.
  • Peter Nelson came back to Claris as VP, Engineering in 2020.
  • Britta became VP, Marketing recently also.
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Brad Freitag joined Claris (ex FMI) in 2013 as a member of the senior management. Agreed, Mr Freitag’s tenure as CEO started in 2019, about two years ago. A head of state gets 100 days of newbie credit.

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What we call the current leadership team is not really important in my eyes. My feeling is that Claris is starting to roll. And that is important for me! And they'd rather do their homework well than quickly.

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I own a small specialty store (brick and mortar plus Wordpress/WooCommerce website) in the United States. I have a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and basic skills in MS Access (which I no longer use). I use Win 10 machines at home and at the store.

I purchased a (locked) vertical market FileMaker POS in Jan 2015 but did no development as that POS was designed for my niche business. (Plus, it was locked.) That POS reached EOL in 2018.

In Jan 2019 I purchased another (unlocked) vertical market FileMaker POS. However, this was a “generic” POS that lacked critical functionality necessary for my business. Therefore, I began developing a “home brew” file — not wanting to touch the POS — to address these shortfalls and teach myself the basics of FileMaker. Due to my limited skill set, I hired a professional developer to assist me. He built a fully-functional “front end” to the POS that added the missing functions.

While this was going on, I immersed myself in FM to develop my skills. I bought Richard Carlton’s book and videos, joined several Facebook groups, read hundreds of blog posts, listened to all the available podcasts (FileMaker Talk, Fireside FileMaker, FileMaker Off the Record, etc), watched Matt Petrowsky’s videos, and studied numerous white papers. I give great credit to @jormond, @jwilling, and others for answering my numerous questions on Facebook and in this forum.

After two years of daily work and learning, I now have three primary files — the unlocked “generic” POS, my “home brew” file, and the professionally-developed “front end” file. (Plus associated files — the POS uses data separation.) These are all hosted on an FMS19 server managed by Productive Computing (using AWS).

My objective is to merge all three files, eliminate the cruft, address several shortcomings in the core POS (for example, it calculates the in-stock quantities of 25,000 items every time I open it), and add further functionality.

Edit: I recently bought Developer Assistant (to search long scripts) and Base Elements (to process the DDR) to find errors. (The POS dates back to 2007 or earlier and needs some cleanup.)

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I'll add that The Context Podcast ( @jeremyb's Podcast at Proof+Geist ) is very excellent also.

Yes, thank you — I’ve listened to all of those as well. I enjoy Jeremy’s perspective as a former teacher.

Daniel Shanahan developed an customisable inventory solution, too.

The difficulty with that approach, is that I don’t believe it’s transactional. Having a transactional approach is often very important in any inventory solution.

I listened to a podcast interview with Daniel and looked at his site. He is very knowledgeable and has some very good insights regarding tracking inventory.

@jormond -- when you say, "that approach" are you referring to using a calculated field or adding/subtracting quantities with each sale?

The approach that Daniel is using in his inventory stuff. Not saying it's right or wrong, but from what I remember, not transactional. I could be wrong, it's been a while since I looked at it.

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As VP of Sales, he had limited say in direction and approach on a lot of things. I would also say that Brad's views and lens was limited being responsible for a single part of the company. Being CEO is a lot different.

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