Solutions

IT operations at a busy institute for the study of medical ethics gets an administrative boost from FileMaker Pro 7

Center for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania

Information technology support is a demanding discipline. And even as they try to keep pace with regular daily maintenance issues, IT professionals find their days filled with ever–changing demands from users all across their networks. It's a job that demands an organized approach—and at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Bioethics, that task is organized with FileMaker Pro 7, the award–winning database software application from FileMaker Inc.

Overview

  • A small but busy department at the University of Pennsylvania focused on the study of medical ethics
  • Based in Philadelphia, PA
  • Approximately 50 employees

Industry

  • Higher Education

Solutions

  • Manage donations
  • Track events and attendees
  • Track equipment and repairs

Benefits

  • More efficient development due to improved relational capabilities in FileMaker Pro 7
  • Smoother working experience results from multiple simultaneous windows within a file

Development time should be much, much faster with this new version. My designs will be more streamlined and therefore the final products will be more elegant and require less overhead.

— Michael Kern, IT support specialist, Center for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania

Business Challenge

Operating under the auspices of the Medical School of the University of Pennsylvania, the Center for Bioethics offers advanced classes in medical ethics. Its faculty members are much in demand for lectures on these topics at other campuses around the United States. And its technology demands keep IT Support Specialist, Michael Kern, very busy.

Michael has a number of independent clients whom he supports but the Center for Bioethics is his primary employer. "I'm responsible for all equipment and repairs in the department," he explains, "and I find that tracking all the information on those tasks in a database is the most efficient use of my time. I've been using FileMaker products since 1992, and have worked with every version from the original FileMaker right up through the new FileMaker Pro 7.

Successful Solution

At the Center for Bioethics, marketing and donation tracking is the major application for FileMaker Pro, a system developed about four years ago by Michael's predecessor. "I have completely rewritten this solution using every trick I know," he says. "I've streamlined data entry, tried to employ a single–file–interface, added an event and event attendee tracking module, added a correspondence module, and broken down the current system into meaningful parts. Overall my solution is much more complete, but now that FileMaker 7 is out I'm evaluating ways to take advantage of all its new functionality."

FileMaker Pro 7 is a quantum leap above any previous version. It's almost a completely new program but it still retains FileMaker's ease of use while adding a slew of new features.

— Michael Kern, IT support specialist, Center for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania

Customer Benefits

Michael's looking forward to making those improvements with the powerful new FileMaker Pro 7. "Development time should be much, much faster with this new version," he predicts. "My designs will be more streamlined and therefore the final products will be more elegant and require less overhead.",

As a developer, Michael is especially excited about the improved relational features in FileMaker Pro 7. "The relationship graph is great," he enthuses, "and the new two–way relationships are also good. I've used the new relational features in FileMaker Pro 7 to cut down — way down — on all my relationships. Before, I had upwards of 20, 30, or even 50 relationships in some files, and similar ones in other files pointing the other way. Now I have a single file with multiple tables and a much smaller set of relationships. And with tables residing in one file and relationships working in both ways, there's no more need to open and close and switch and open and close."

Easier development, more efficient functionality, coupled with the flexibility that's long been associated with FileMaker Pro, adds up to more work performed more effectively. "FileMaker Pro 7 is a quantum leap above any previous version," he concludes. "It's almost a completely new program but it still retains FileMaker's ease of use while adding a slew of new features."

For FileMaker:

Kevin Mallon
Public Relations Manager
FileMaker Inc.
408-987-7227
kevin_mallon@filemaker.com
http://www.filemaker.com

For Center for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania:

Michael Kern
IT Support Specialist
Center for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania
215-573-5059
makern@mail.med.upenn.edu
http://www.bioethics.upenn.edu