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FileMaker License Guide

The licensing for FileMaker got more complicated over the years.
How easy was it 10 years ago when you got a few boxes from shop for Pro and Server and just used the license keys inside. Well, that time passed and now you have to ask questions:

How many employers has the company?
Because with site licensing you buy FileMaker for the total headcount of the company, not just for those using FileMaker.
And a few companies got audited and are in trouble. Maybe only the accountants use a FileMaker based solution, but still they need to license it for all in the company, even the sales people who never use FileMaker. This volume licensing is great if maybe 90% of the people in the company use FileMaker regularly. Some even considered moving all FileMaker users into a subsidiary to reduce the head count to a more realistic number.

How many users has the company?
Because FLT would go by users, even if they share devices. That means everyone using FileMaker solution is counted, even if they just use FileMaker for a little thing every few weeks like printing a report. On the other side some companies use FileMaker heavily and save now licenses as FLT for 100 people is cheaper than regular FM Pro licenses for 100 people.

How many people work at the same time?
Because connection based licenses go by concurrent users.
With a front office desk used 24h/day with 3 people on different shifts, you would need one FM Pro, one connection or three FLT users.
Same if you have 1000 workers who need to report something every few days, so only maybe 10 report at the same time.

How many servers do you need?
A solution running lonely on one iPad could go without a license or a server.
Or a solution with one to five FM Pro installations could live without server and share data.

Do you want to update to latest version regularly?
If the solution is installed and you do not plan to move to newer FM versions when they are released, it may be cheaper to buy perpetual licenses and update those only if needed (or buy newer ones). As subscription usually costs 1/3 per year of normal price, you get a cheaper licensing if you keep software unchanged for over three years.

How do you plan to license in a few years?
As FMI announced changes in the connection prices, it may be worth staying with connections till 2020 with current pricing and than decide if you move to FLT or pay the higher prices announced now. Especially as FMI may change the licensing again till 2020.

Now what to buy?
The answer is we don't know. There are a lot of variables included and trying to make a calculator or a decision graph is nearly impossible for all the special cases. For some cases it doesn't matter as FileMaker aligned their pricing. So either 5 pack FLT including server or 5 times FM Pro plus server for annual licensing costs both the same $888. Another thing to consider are the buy one, get two offers from FileMaker which can lower the cost for some packages. And finally if you resell the licenses to clients, it could happen that FileMaker tries to directly sell licenses or updates to your clients.

As you see the licensing options got complicated with individual licenses, annual licensing, site licensing and now FLT. I hope FileMaker will find something better. FLT is not the answer as it doesn't help for small solutions using less than 5 people or without server. Also it does not work for occasional users. We'll see what is announced at DevCon.
04 06 16 - 17:31
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