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Photo Credit to @SiegelGale

Photo Credit to @SiegelGale

Today’s announcements from Claris, Inc. – formerly (as of a few hours ago) FileMaker, Inc. – was noteworthy in a lot of ways.

I don’t think anyone missed the fact that it wasn’t just about a new brand. There’s a plan in place that has clearly been in the works and is playing out in a broader, years-long arc. As a partner in the Claris ecosystem, I find it (at the risk of sounding like a sycophant) inspiring.

Here’s my take on what we’re seeing from Brad Freitag (their new CEO) and the team at Claris.

Cloud First

Brad’s introduction and the team have been right out of the gate using the terms “Cloud First” and “Cloud Native”. It’s been in every Claris person’s first few sentences.

I’m sure we’ll learn more in tomorrow’s Product Visionary Keynote, but coupled with the acquisition of Stamplay – now rebranded “Claris Connect” – it is really clear that Claris isn’t FileMaker, Inc: Claris is positioning itself directly for the cloud and, while clearly invested in the FileMaker platform, has other SaaS products on the way.

Claris Connect is about “Technology Networks”

One of the great things about FileMaker is that it’s an entire platform: from hosting to development to client software, it’s all in one. As a platform born in the client-server world, I think a natural bias in our community has led to the thought that you can build everything in FileMaker – and benefit from a totally interoperable single technology to worry about.

Those days are gone.

There’s no way I’d recommend to our clients that they build everything on one technology platform. We at Codence use Constant Contact for email campaigns, Atlassian’s Jira and Confluence for project management, Tempo for time tracking, Slack for messaging, and on the list goes. And, of course, FileMaker (and our own Genesis suite) serves as our core business system. FileMaker is one of many tools in a cohesive “network” strategy.

The current state of software development and API integration mean a business can pick best-of-breed products and stitch them together in a relevant, feasible way.

Even small businesses have “digital transformation” within reach by turning to a wide array of robust solutions. FileMaker has become a good citizen among this array of tools, and I think Claris’ move to acquire Stamplay makes a ton of sense: their vision of making powerful technologies available to everyone perfectly serves their customers.

Today’s Claris customers need a workplace innovation platform for building great custom apps, and Stamplay (Claris Connect) to integrate those apps with the thousands of others available on the cloud.

Claris Future

I’m not privy to what I am sure have been really interesting discussions at the Wedge (Claris’ nickname for their headquarters in Silicon Valley) over the past months, but I do have some safe bets about where all this is headed.

Brad Freitag’s presentation today ended with a slide, “All In”.

I don’t get the sense that he was kidding.

When the folks at Claris say they’re “Cloud First”, I think we’ll see FileMaker make the leap from “Cloud Deployed” to “Cloud Native” in the future. Stamplay is their first acquisition. It’s my bet it won’t be their last.

With regard to FileMaker – recent releases of the product, including FileMaker 18, have exposed more and more of the underlying XML-based file format for FileMaker solutions. The natural extension of this means more industry-standard support from software development tools, solutions, and so on. We’ll be better able to leverage version control, integrated dev environments, security and more.

By heading to “Cloud Native”, it will unlock both the FileMaker platform and its development environment into a world of much broader tools, technologies, software developers, and more.

It’s an exciting time to be a Claris developer.

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