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The Impact of Hiring a FileMaker Consultant

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Often when crafting a FileMaker solution, business managers or do-it-yourself professionals reach a crossroads: they need to hire an in-house FileMaker person (or team), turn to a freelancer, or engage a third-party software consulting company like Codence.

One of the hallmarks of a Workplace Innovation Platform is intuitive, scalable development: you don’t need a comp-sci degree to get started, and FileMaker offers an extraordinary array of resources through the FileMaker Learning Center, Custom Apps Success Guide, and the FileMaker community. However, sometimes a project can be technically beyond what an in-house team can do, or you can’t simply find the time to plan, create, and deploy a custom app. At this point, you will most likely consider either hiring extra staff or partnering with a FileMaker consulting firm.

There is a preconception that third-party software development companies are expensive – not without merit, we admit — but the value of turning to a professional consulting team outweighs the cost. Here is why:

FileMaker Experts – more people on the team, equals combined experience

You get the most value from your custom development projects when you work with a team of well-versed developers that have been delivering FileMaker business solutions for many years. Professional developers work together and are able to draw on the knowledge of multiple individuals, cross-pollinate experience, and consult each other as they make large and small decisions.

On the business side, software consulting firms have seen many different companies and workgroups: we bring a perspective of how other organizations solved problems and will often make suggestions that your team may not have considered. We provide a second pair of eyes on things.

The Importance of the Development Process

Simply starting a challenging project can be daunting. The good news is that consulting firms deal with complex projects every day. While it’s true that every company has its unique business challenges, we believe mature process management can help take the risks out of software project.

A mature project management process and agile development practices are often vital for the success of a given software project. Without a good process, a project will take more time and be less focused on what it delivers, even if ultimately it does succeed. Project Management and structured communication allow you to manage budget, time, and scope.

Software consulting companies use best practices to guide, communicate, and clearly define roles. Codence offers our clients two ways to work: a sprint-based approach for larger projects (where we divide our work into two-or-three-week, iterative milestones), or a more flexible, ad hoc task-based system for smaller projects.

Process must cover all phases of a software project: we’ve seen some in-house projects struggle with requirements and development, but often Quality Assurance testing gets squeezed out the most. We’ve seen good solutions hit a wall with users because they’re at the “90%” mark and need more time with testing. A seasoned FileMaker consulting team will have testing as a major part of their process and have experience investigating common problem areas.

It Goes Beyond Pricing

Okay, this all sounds great – but cost must be a real concern. This is the deciding factor for many when choosing to hire help for a project. We understand the temptation of cutting costs, and we also recognize that we’re completely biased in our point of view: that said, our entire business is focused on delivering high value. It is important to consider that FileMaker consulting firms offer stability, experience, and less risk overall.

We encourage decision-makers to focus on an apples-to-apples comparison that goes well beyond just the code someone writes, and to recognize that software that is well architected can be an investment that pays dividends for years to come.

A FileMaker consulting company will often be a better choice if you need to build a complex project or if your team is busy meeting other priorities. Most companies don’t lack for vision: it’s execution that often trips things up. If you have an “unfunded” or starved initiative happening on your team, not only can it drain resources from other important work, it can also become a distraction that sucks away energy and morale.

With the right FileMaker consultant, you get a trusted advisor who understands your vision and can add value not only by developing services, but also by providing advice in areas such accounting, marketing, business metrics, and other expertise.

Naturally, we hope you’ll consider Codence, but we do encourage you to choose a FileMaker consultant that is a member of the FileMaker Business Alliance, is certified in current versions of the platform, and can demonstrate a track record of working with other clients.

Over the years, we’ve worked with hundreds of businesses of all sizes and in diverse industries to develop robust business solutions built on FileMaker. Contact us to explore how we can help with your next project.

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