Every company reaches one or more turning points as it strives for success. For example, in 1996 Steve Jobs returned to Apple and revolutionized the company and its product line — again. Apple went on to introduce the iPod, iMac, iPhone, and iPad – arguably some of the most innovative, and well-received, products in tech history. In similar fashion, FileMaker Inc., a subsidiary of Apple, has reached a major turning point, and has proven that the legendary spirit of Apple is very much alive and well. Anyone who has worked in technology will tell you that success in tech is a combination of many factors – people, vision, expertise, and communication are among them.
It starts with the introduction of a new category. In marketing, “categories” are a way to classify a product or service in a way that makes sense for purposes of ranking. The marketing team at FileMaker recognized that the categories that had been selected for them did not properly represent the product. While competing well in the “Low Code/No Code” category, this was not a good representation. Those of us who program in FileMaker will be the first to tell you that there is plenty of coding involved in writing a sophisticated solution for our clients. Something better was needed: a Workplace Innovation Platform. This describes FileMaker perfectly. In the year since the advent of this category, FileMaker has been shown to be the true leader against some very respectable competition.
The story continues with the retirement of Dominique Goupil, long-time President of FileMaker, Inc. Replacing him as CEO is (former) VP of America’s Sales, Brad Freitag, who clearly has taken a fresh look at the company and decided to make substantial changes to the product lineup and how it is marketed. He brings a new look and new vision to the company that will have a long-lasting effect.
The company itself has a new name: Claris International Incorporated. Some may remember the similarly named Apple product line from years past, which included FileMaker Pro, MacPaint, ClarisWorks, and many others. It was dropped in 1998, when Apple decided to discontinue most of its aging software products, but spun off FileMaker, Inc. as a separate (but still wholly owned) entity. I have always taken this as a clear indicator that FileMaker was a stronger and more valued competitor in the software market, and it certainly has not disappointed, with 80+ consecutive profitable quarters. The reason for the Claris name change is not just branding.
At the Worldwide FileMaker Developer Conference, Claris also announced the acquisition of Stamplay, now Claris Connect. This brand-new product gives us the tools to create workflows spanning many different apps. In addition to FileMaker, it works well with DocuSign, Mailchimp, Slack, QuickBooks, Google Docs, and many others. It’s incredibly powerful, and you can rest assured will be on the leading edge of this new technology.
All of these things alone would have been enough to make the conference one of the most innovative in its history. However, there is still much more. Claris VP of Product Management and Design Srini Gurrapu unveiled the vision for Claris and its product direction for years to come.
Claris recognizes that the Cloud is where it’s at. New initiatives will bring ease-of-use and -setup to the product’s cloud capability, along with some truly jaw-dropping innovations. Stay tuned for more on this as it develops.
Native Web and Mobile Experience
FileMaker has traditionally provided great tools for the creation of apps with a great look and feel – but there’s always room for improvement. Tighter integration with devices like iPads as well as web browsers means a more natural experience for users. We can expect better performance long these lines as well.
API Integration and Orchestration
What’s an API? Think of it as an electrical socket. Design a proper plug, and you’ve got juice. But the most important word in the above phrase is “orchestration.” The Claris line of products, even as it stands with the current two apps, makes it possible to design ways to manage many different APIs to produce incredibly powerful results.
If there’s one thing you can always say for certain about technology, it’s that there’s always something newer, better, and sexier coming down the turnpike. Claris is already experimenting with some really cool stuff like AI and Internet of Things. More to come. And more… and more…
My team and I make our livings building apps in FileMaker Pro Advanced and hosting them on FileMaker Server. Our clients’ businesses depend on those apps – and we love making all of that happen. We are, at times, critical, full of praise, or a combination of the two. It’s natural to be so. But I can say with great certainty that the future of Claris, FileMaker’s Workplace Innovation Platform, Claris Connect, and whatever new technologies come along next, that this is an exciting and rewarding time to be a FileMaker Developer. We’ll keep you up-to-date as news happens!