If you are in any way connected with the world of Claris, you will have heard about the new Claris platform. With a soft release in September 2022, things have been progressing in all products across the platform. If you want to catch up, have a read of our previous article “Introducing the Claris platform” and a curated pathway on the Claris Community.
Now we are six months down the track, many people are asking whether they should switch from the FileMaker platform to the Claris platform? What are the advantages of the new Claris platform? Are there any downsides? In this article, we will lay out the current (March 2023) landscape. As updates occur in the coming months, we will post them here.
Defining the Switchers
To be clear, we are looking at existing FileMaker customers with solutions that may have been in use and development for anything from one to thirty years. These solutions will likely be well entrenched within the organisation and, more often than not, are critical to the business operations. This has implications for business continuity when transitioning to the new platform.
Let’s look at three model FileMaker customers to consider their options:
- Able Finances – a small finance business with 20 staff
- Beet Growers – a farm cooperative with 5 office staff and 30 farm hands
- Car Mates – a web based business for connecting people to share car trips
Able Finances have their FileMaker solution hosted with FileMaker Cloud in the Sydney (Australia) Data Centre. In the office, staff use FileMaker Pro to work with the solution. Externally, clients use FileMaker WebDirect to submit enquiries and check their accounts. There are various APIs used to connect the FileMaker solution to external services. They currently have an annual volume license (AVLA) for 15 concurrent users.
Beet Growers have their solution hosted on premise on a FileMaker Server. In the office, they use FileMaker Pro. In the field, they use iPad devices with FileMaker Go installed. The FileMaker solution uses a number of plug-ins. They currently have an AVLA for 5 users – only the office staff use FileMaker.
Car Mates have a comprehensive web site used by customers to register rides and connect with people to share their ride. Their FileMaker solution is hosted on a FileMaker Server with a hosting company. They use FileMaker Pro to access the solution which connects live to the backend MySQL database that runs their web site. They also use Claris Connect for connecting to various apps such as their Xero accounting system, SurveyMonkey and Slack. They currently have an AVLA for 10 users and a Claris Connect license.
Let’s look first at what licensing options are available for our switchers. The upgrade cost will depend on their current licensing and, of course, where in the world they are based. With different currencies and prices across the globe, we will deal with pricing in percentages rather than actual dollars.
There are currently two licensing options:
- Claris Platform Bundle
- Claris Problem Solvers Circle (“PSC”)
Existing FileMaker licensees can change their licensing to either program. There may also be options for customers with expired licenses – check with your Claris Partner developer or direct with Claris.
- Claris FileMaker – Pro, Go, Server, FileMaker WebDirect
- Claris Pro – Pro, Go, Server, Claris WebDirect
- Claris Studio
- Claris Connect – Standard license
Essentially, the Platform Bundle is an annual volume license. You nominate the number of users required, starting with a minimum of five (5). The Platform Bundle is priced at +25% of your existing license cost. This can be locked in for up to three (3) years.
The PSC is an annual site license – it covers you for your entire organisation (employees, contractors and consultants) plus unrestricted anonymous users. The PSC is priced at +45% of your existing license cost. As above, the PSC can be locked in for up to three (3) years.
The best value with the PSC comes for licensees moving from an annual volume license – the site license means you do not need to think about how many licensed users you have; and you can expand usage to everyone for any solution you develop.
If you already have a site license, 45% additional may be a significant cost for access to the new Claris platform. There does not seem to be a cost effective way for an organisation with a site license to move to the Claris platform.
Claris have discussed the value of the PSC to both customers and to Claris. For customers, it allows licensees to upgrade to a site license and expand their use of Claris solutions across their organisation; for Claris, they are banking on the additional value being realised and maintained into the future.
Reasons to Switch
Claris Pro development
The question is what happens to an existing Claris Connect license? Can you move any existing flows across to what will be a new license? Yes – Claris have a manual process to assign an existing Claris Connect to the offer. Make sure this is done at the time of taking up either licensing option.
Freemium is coming
It is Claris
What’s the Catch?
- set up Claris IDs
- convert files, reset security and test functionality
- setup and configure a Linux server, and install and configure software
- learn how to use Claris Studio and Claris Connect
Burn the boats
Everyone gets a Claris ID
- users accessing public links for Claris Studio web forms
- anonymous WebDirect access with a site license (PSC)
Each of your Claris Pro files will need to be set up with all the Claris IDs of your users. This is a reasonably simple process of creating a new account, entering the email address and assigning a privilege set. While you can use the Default account with a privilege set applied for anyone with a Claris ID to access the file, this is not recommended.
Creating Claris ID accounts is quite quick if you only have one file. A longer process for multi-file solutions. All could be made easier if Claris reinstated the Accounts script steps in Claris Pro. Please?
The requirement for Claris ID authentication means there is currently no offline access for Claris solutions. This may present issues for certain organisations.
The downside is that Claris ID is currently the only option for access. There are no other external authentication options such as Active Directory, Open Directory or OAuth providers. This is a high priority for Claris and will likely change sooner than later.
SOC 2® Type 2 reporting for security, availability, and confidentiality, and ISO certifications for information security management (ISO/ IEC 27001) and personal data in the cloud (ISO/IEC 27018) are in the planning stages for the Claris platform.
There is also a verbal commitment from Claris that any customers who are early adopters will be automatically moved to a data centre closer to their location when available. Currently seeking confirmation of this in writing.
What About Our Switchers?
They will immediately have issues with cloud hosting. There is no Claris Cloud yet, let alone a data centre in their region. They could try moving to a third party Claris host, or they could try an on premise server but they will need new hardware and possibly external support for installation and configuration.
For their clients submitting enquiries, it may be possible for them to quickly create an equivalent web form with Claris Studio. However, for clients checking their accounts, Claris Studio is not able to send a response to a web form submission. They may be able to set up a Claris Connect flow that sends the response as an email. It may be best for them to get PSC licensing to continue with anonymous WebDirect usage.
There should be no issue with using their existing API configurations.
Conclusion: while Able Finances could switch to the new Claris platform, they will likely not see any huge benefits for the effort and cost required.