FileMaker users are finding worthwhile business benefits from developing custom apps, according to a survey conducted by the company.
An international survey of nearly 500 FileMaker customers - including some in Australia - has found businesses gain various benefits from custom apps.
A whomping 74 percent of respondents said the apps led to increased team productivity (only 5 percent said they hadn't), and the average productivity improvement was 60 percent.
These benefits came from improvements in reporting, sharing information and finding information, and from reducing data entry errors.
Whether those benefits actually translate into dollars is not quite so clear. 60 percent said they had seen a return on the investment required to develop their apps, and of those 20 percent said the return was at least 200 percent. Perhaps surprisingly, just over a third answered "don't know," leaving just 6 percent sure they'd failed to recoup the cost by the time of the survey.
Just over half of the respondents said their app was completed within three months, with an impressive 13 percent saying the job was done in less than a week.
"This validates FileMaker's claim to ease of development," said FileMaker managing director Joel Katz. "Locally, I'm seeing a lot of this ring true."
Among small businesses, it's typically the owner or an employee with a technical bent that takes on the task, he said, explaining that if you can drive a spreadsheet and you know the business, you can get a FileMaker app up and running fairly quickly.
"We're making a big push" to show businesses that custom apps are affordable and quick to develop, even by people without high levels of technical skills because FileMaker's tools are largely about drag-and-drop and point-and-click. "It's very cost effective," he said.
But if an owner or manager knows what they want but would prefer to concentrate on running the business, members of the FileMaker Business Alliance and other independent consultants can be engaged to take on all or part of the project.
FileMaker custom apps can be integrated with Xero and other cloud software to avoid re-entering the same data. "We're seeing a lot of that," said Katz. "A lot of those connections are already built" and shared by the FileMaker development community, so it's probably best to hire a consultant to assist with that part of the project, he suggested.
The State of the Custom Apps Report can be downloaded here.
In addition to publishing a series of ebooks about creating custom apps, FileMaker is running a series of events in Brisbane, Canberra, Gold Coast, Melbourne and Sydney during March to demonstrate how easily and quickly a custom app can be developed.
The schedule can be seen here.