Why do you use FileMaker for your database solutions?

FileMaker has an unparalleled reputation for user friendliness and ease of use, is multi-user capable and runs on Macintosh and Windows operating systems and mixed networks with equal facility.

From the programmer perspective, FileMaker-based solutions can usually be developed more quickly and easily than with other database application tools, resulting in lower costs to the client.

If FileMaker is so easy to use, why do I need a consultant?

Creating an effective database solution requires: 1) the analytical skills to understand an organization's 'business logic'; 2) design skills to translate that business logic into an appropriate data structure which embodies the relationships between different sorts of information; and 3) process control skills, so that information can be easily entered into the system and then used and shared effectively, while maintaining the right balance between giving the user freedom and implementing restrictions where necessary. Few small organizations have any one person with all the necessary skill sets, or the time available, to build a truly successful, comprehensive information management solution without outside help.

Do you sell software applications?

I do not have shrink-wrapped, off-the-shelf software applications for sale. However, because my work has focussed on film festivals and other specific segments of the non profit sector, I have developed semi-standardized database modules and templates that can be customized to a film festival or other non profit organization's specific needs.

Commercially available industry-specific or task-specific software applications are often costly and complex, because they take a 'one size fits all' approach.

Can you sell me the FileMaker software needed to run our solution?

Through my relationship with FileMaker, Inc., I can often obtain advantageous volume license pricing for my clients and provide it as part of a project solution package, if desired. However, clients are free to source their FileMaker software in any way they wish.

What are your qualifications and relevant experience?

I am an Associate level member of the FileMaker Business Alliance.

I have been working with film festivals as a database consultant, systems manager, box office manager or theater operations volunteer for over fifteen years and I have worked with arts-related educational and social service non profit organizations for the past ten years and with various businesses in the entertainment industry and other sectors.

I have also worked as a general computer consultant for small businesses and individuals and was on the Board of the Los Angeles Macintosh Users Group for a number of years.

How much do you charge?

I prefer to provide quotations on a turn-key project basis rather han an hourly rate, except for assignments involving limited modifications to an existing solution.

How large is your company?

Tim Owen Consulting currently has no full-time staff other than its owner/founder and does not maintain commercial office premises. Consequently, there are few overhead costs that would need to be passed on to the client, allowing me to provide more comprehensive database solutions than small non profit organizations or businesses might normally be able to afford.

What is your background?

I worked as a geologist for 20 years in Australasia and then in a sales and marketing position in the computer industry before making the transition to database consultant back in the United States. This is not as unlikely a career segue as you might think. Most FileMaker consultants come from non computer technology backgrounds but, like me, had the need for an easy to use information tool and discovered the power and beauty of FileMaker and an aptitude for using it which eventually turned into a passion.

What about training and documentation?

For small organizations one-on-one or group training as required at the implementation stage is usually more effective than reliance on written documentation. My solutions employ many of the easy to use, built-in features of FileMaker and the documentation that comes with FileMaker is useful for learning general operational techniques.

How do you provide continuing support for your clients?

I maintain an ongoing relationship with most of my clients. Databases must be able to evolve as an organization grows and its needs change. When visits to a client's site are not possible, I rely on remote control sessions over an internet connection to carry out database maintenance or to conduct training/tutorial sessions. Where FileMaker Server is deployed, it is as possible to connect directly using FileMaker Pro. For routine questions, I am usually able to reply promptly by telephone or email.
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