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Build or Buy (Should I Learn FileMaker?)

It is no secret that custom applications are immensely beneficial to organizations, in fact, the State of the Custom Apps Report by FileMaker states that 82% saw a reduction in inefficient tasks and 71% saw an increase in team productivity. The question becomes, should I pay for external experts to create a solution for me, or should we have someone in house build the app?

FileMaker Build vs Buy
In the State of the Custom Apps Report, it was also found that with applications like FileMaker, which is known for being low-code/no code software, citizen developers (proactive problem solvers within an organization that don’t classify themselves as custom app developers or IT professionals) are creating solutions to inefficient problems within their workflow. 48% of these citizen developers found an increase in work satisfaction while also being able to quickly build the solution with 46% of them up and running in less than 4 weeks.

Building Internally

With these great statistics, why wouldn’t you dedicate a person in the organization to build custom solutions for you?

Time is one of the top concerns when going the DIY route. While citizen developers are creating these efficient solutions for their organization, they also have to perform their everyday job, which doesn't allow them to devote their entire day to creating new apps. The added time to learn and create new solutions usually takes place outside of work in the evenings and on the weekends.

Typically, going the DIY route for building a custom app starts with a small task that can be turned into a simple app. Ann Monroe, VP of Marketing at FileMaker says in her article DIY Apps - Should Businesses Make Their Own Custom App? "Start with the basics: businesses will have paper forms, spreadsheets or some other document process which has gotten the team through the day so far. Look for simple processes which could turn into a simple app." While the form is seen as beneficial and creates a desire to become more efficient, it typically isn't considered urgent as the business can still get by for now.

Luckily for businesses and citizen developers, there are ample training and learning opportunities with industry experts. We provide a variety of FileMaker training courses to different skill levels of developers. Additionally, we provide one-on-one FileMaker coaching geared to your needs. Coaching is paired programming with our experts to assist you with the problems or roadblocks that derail your development.

Work with the Experts

So when should you have experts build a custom solution for you versus building internally, and what are the benefits?

FileMaker is great for converting short forms or documents into apps for your organization, but the even greater aspect about FileMaker is how it is fully customizable and fits across all industries with the ability to integrate with other technology as well as being scalable. To quote Reuben Helmuth, user of FileMaker in the State of the App Report, “(FileMaker is) a one stop business solution for CRM, inventory project, and employee management.”

If you find yourself without the time or have a more complicated app than just a single form, then perhaps having experts build the custom app for you is the optimal solution. Where do you begin with this daunting task? First step is to dream and plan what would be the perfect app for your type of business. Thereafter you can contact us to take the next step of building a solution that is tailor-made for your business needs following our FileMaker development process.


There are many reasons as to why your business should use a custom app. The question becomes should you build it internally, or pay for someone to build it for you? If you’re ready to build a custom application yourself, start with FileMaker Training as we have many types of classes available for the Citizen Developer or Professional Developer. If you want us to help you with the FileMaker Development then contact us to begin the conversation. Either way, we are ready to help you make your organization more efficient and effective.

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David Happersberger

David is our FileMaker Licensing specialist who enjoys talking to customers and explaining all the options available to get you the best licensing while saving you money. He is great at assisting customers with their custom FileMaker needs, all the while with a smile and positive can-do attitude.