Just hearing, “It’s time to start our FileMaker upgrade to the newest version” may give you a headache. A transition often requires careful planning, user feedback, and more than one or two chats with IT. However, keeping FileMaker up to date eliminates even bigger headaches in the long run.
My team and I have helped hundreds of clients shift to the newest version, and when we’re helping them understand just how important (and cost-effective) this decision is, we share six core reasons:
1. End-of-Life Dates for FileMaker
As Claris continues to share new versions of FileMaker, it also sunsets the oldest version in tandem. As these products and versions hit their end-of-life, they are no longer supported. They don’t receive security or compatibility updates, and when you run into an issue, Claris support isn’t available. Businesses still on a sunsetted version are essentially left stranded.
2. Outdated Server and/or Client Operating System
Running on an old version of FileMaker also leaves companies exposed to vulnerabilities from other systems their FileMaker solution depends on. Operating systems have their own end-of-life schedules. If you upgrade to a new OS version, FileMaker may not work properly and/or critical features may break.
If a vulnerability in one is discovered, you either must live with it or upgrade on an accelerated timeline that may sacrifice proper planning and testing. And we highly discourage living with it and hoping for the best. At some point, the worst-case scenario will happen.
3. iOS Upgrades
Users have even less control over which iOS and application updates they can install. FileMaker Go versions, for example, are controlled by the app store. Apple has strict rules around this, so while you can run an old version on an old device, consider the chaos losing that device could cause.
As you grow and hire new employees, you’ll need to purchase new devices, and you’ll have to download the most recent version of your applications. A reluctance to prioritize your FileMaker upgrade could quite possibly hinder growth.
Security continues to play a role here as well. Unsupported iOS versions on older devices are left open to security vulnerabilities.
4. Technical Specification Requirements
FileMaker Server and Client versions need to match within one or two versions. If you’re forced to upgrade one, the other isn’t far behind. Planning for these transitions to happen together, alongside one another, is critical for an efficient deployment. It asks less of your users and limits bugs and other risks.
5. The Longer You Wait, the More Painful Upgrading Gets
Skipping major version upgrades and getting further and further behind in your FileMaker version makes your eventual transition more painful. There are more features, bugs, integrations, and risks to consider. The more often you upgrade, the fewer details you need to consider when doing so.
Even better, FileMaker 19 has made upgrades even easier due to in-place upgrades. You don’t have to remove the older version first and go through the laborious process of recreating your configuration settings in the new version.
In general, we recommend upgrading with every new version. A good partner makes this pretty simple. Our team, for example, analyzes each new released version for potential conflicts or bugs and has a good idea of how transitions will work before even suggesting an upgrade to our clients. Our project teams are well-briefed on how each client’s experience may be different and plan accordingly.
6. Functionality Limits
Claris is constantly seeking feedback about FileMaker and how it could better serve its users and the businesses reliant on it. It takes these insights into account when planning its product backlog and regularly rolls out new features. If you’re stuck on an old version, you’re missing out on this new functionality. And many of these features aim to improve efficiency, make things faster, and open doors to new technology. If you’re on an old version, you’re severely limiting your company’s potential by holding on to old technology.
If you see a new feature you like but still don’t want to launch your FileMaker upgrade, you’ll probably spend more time and money to build the functionality in a custom way and end up doing so with lower quality code.
Partner with FileMaker Upgrade Specialists
Upgrading FileMaker (and all other software solutions) is much like paying for insurance – it’s not a fun expense, but it’s a necessary one. Do you need help getting started? Our team has streamlined hundreds of FileMaker upgrades over the last two decades. No matter how far behind or complicated your solution is , our highly experienced and certified team can ensure it’s done correctly and quickly. Contact us to speak with a top FileMaker consultant to learn more.