FileMaker is releasing a pair of packaged business applications based on the FileMaker database, the first of a series of add-ons from the company and third-party developers.
The first two add-ons are FileMaker Meetings, an organisational tool, priced at $US49, and FileMaker Recruiter, a vertical use application designed to help manage job applications, priced at $US299. The applications will run only with FileMaker 6, released last year. Both are available now from FileMaker's online store.
FileMaker Meetings is designed to use the database structure to help people prepare data and manage information from meetings more efficiently, product manager for FileMaker applications, John Dasher, said.
"We're not trying to solve scheduling issues, but organisational and management issues," he said.
The Meetings template helps users build an agenda, manage the meeting, document and track actions, and even generate minutes. Users can route the material to the appropriate people through an email template to common email programs, including Outlook, Eudora, and the Mac-only programs Entourage and Apple Mail.
"I've been using it, and instead of having just my email out-basket to search, I have a co-ordinated database of notes," Dasher said. "Also, it has brought a level of discipline. My meetings result in email that is much more useful."
FileMaker developers interviewed many professional and in-house recruiters to get specs for FileMaker Recruiter, Dasher said. The program helps users build a database network of people, through a template with fields appropriate for a personnel recruiter and manager.
For example, a user enters names and contact information for people, including the source of the introduction, and builds a network of contacts.
"Over time you start to be able to identify your most productive sources, through the relationships between people," Dasher said.
A ready database of people helps a recruiter place candidates more quickly.
This template also interfaces with email and helps track the progress of a search.
Because a database was the underlying engine, it's easy to sort information and generate reports as needed, Dasher said.
Both new programs will ship "unlocked," so users can modify them to their own needs, Dasher said. The company hoped the ready-made applications would help expand FileMaker's usefulness in firms that might not be able to develop a custom application.
"This is also an opportunity for a developer program," Dasher said.
FileMaker tipped off prospective developers at its recent conference, and the plan was well received by the 1200 attendees, he said.
"It's an opportunity for extension work for them," Dasher said.
FileMaker plans to release all applications in versions for both Windows and the Mac.
Making the new applications compatible only with FileMaker 6 was a nudge to get customers to upgrade to the current version, Dasher said.