I recently received an email from one of our VetTracker customers. It read:
I am in need of a report of all our veterans by age breakdown and a separate report to find out the gender breakdown. How do you suggest I do that the best way?
Now, you should understand that VetTracker doesn’t have any preprogrammed reports that break down the data set by either of those variables. It’s never been asked for before. But I was able to help the customer easily and quickly (I emailed back within 5 minutes) because of the direct access FileMaker provides to the data in a solution. And it gives me an opportunity to point out that advantage to you.
Normally, a database can only retrieve data it’s been programmed to retrieve. The developer has to build the necessary code and interface for a user to request the information and then display that information on screen. That means hours the developer has to spend, and dollars you have to spend.
However, in the case of FileMaker, searching for data is built into the product. It’s part of the application shell, and you can search on any field you can see (anything in the interface). And, by using the built-in Export capability, you can extract any information in the database directly to a variety of formats. The best part? None of it requires any intervention from the developer.
Of course, any database solution we build will incorporate preprogrammed reports that make the searching chores easier, as well as provide mashup of data from various tables inside the solution. But it’s very helpful to know you can get your data out even if we haven’t thought of something in advance.
Consider: What happens if your boss comes in and wants to know the total number of individuals who meet certain criteria? Or the number of sales orders within a date range that meet some other constraint? Which answer would you rather give:
“Sure, boss. Just give me a few seconds here and I can pull that up and hand you a spreadsheet.”
… or …
“Uh … sorry. The system won’t allow me to do that.”
With FileMaker systems like the ones we build, answer A can happen. Every time.
Interested? Contact us for more information!