The Academy of Contemporary Music

"The FileMaker platform underpins day-to-day operations at ACM, significantly reducing the time it takes to perform repeated tasks and allowing us to better serve our students." – Oliver Sussat, Systems Developer, Academy of Contemporary Music

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FileMaker Puts in a Star Performance at The Academy of Contemporary Music

FileMaker Platform underpins day-to-day operations at ACM


  • The Academy of Contemporary Music has automated processes across the institution using FileMaker


  • Higher Education


  • FileMaker automates the entire student experience from first contact with ACM to graduation, and eliminates hundreds of days of administration every year.


  • Paperless processes, Contextual and Relevant communications, bespoke CRM and achievement tracking mean that ACM is better able to meet the needs of their students.
The Academy of Contemporary Music 1
The Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) is a higher education institution that has been educating musicians, producers and business executives for careers in the music industry since 1995.
The administration of any higher education institution is complex. ACM has a high number of stakeholder groups, from the students themselves through to administrative and educational staff, all with different requirements.


For ACM, students and potential students are its customers and amongst the students of today, there is an expectation that all the information and materials they need will be accessible and usable at any time on any device; an expectation that the university is working hard to meet.

FileMaker has enabled us to create applications that fit the needs of students and staff. Fast, mobile and paperless; it's proved invaluable in increasing student satisfaction and speeding up on-boarding times.

— Oliver Sussat, Systems Developer, The Academy of Contemporary Music

The FileMaker solution:

ACM first introduced FileMaker two years ago in its education administration department to help handle the calculation of academic awards. Its potential to enhance all areas of ACM's operations was very quickly recognised. Subsequently, a programme rolling FileMaker systems out to other areas of the institution was undertaken.

Today, the system begins at first contact with a prospective student when a record is created in the admissions team's FileMaker database. As the prospect moves through the application process their progress is continuously tracked using FileMaker. The system links with UCAS (the UK's University and Colleges Admission Service) and speaks directly to their database, meaning that updates to applications are made automatically for ACM.

Once term begins, ACM's SMART system takes over. Again based on FileMaker, SMART represents a resource for every element of a student's time at ACM. This goes from tracking attendance and assessment results, to providing a single access point for course materials and assignments.

For the student, all of this is accessible through ACM's Wordpress-based student portal, available through their own computers and mobile devices, and at terminals around campus. The system also includes email and text alerts to keep students updated on events and deadlines.

Even for teaching staff, SMART automates previously time consuming tasks, allowing them to concentrate on the students themselves. Every member of the teaching faculty has been issued with an iPad that runs FileMaker Go. They use the app to register attendance, log tutorials and provide feedback to students about their assessments.

Through FileMaker, course scheduling is automated, meaning rooms are automatically booked and clashes resolved. Based on teaching schedules, 3M, another FileMaker database at ACM, automatically generates tutor payroll for the finance department, meaning that tutors can be paid for their work more quickly than ever before.

Notable benefits:

Integrating FileMaker with Docusign has allowed ACM to make their application and onboarding system completely paperless. Offer letters are generated by FileMaker and delivered to the prospective student by Docusign. Students can simply click their acceptance and FileMaker records it. Eliminating paper contracts has reduced sign up times from weeks to hours.

Digitised attendance records have also allowed ACM to create a much more effective mentoring programme, with automated alerts warning the mentoring teams when a student's attendance or results begin to drop. In this way, Filemaker is allowing ACM to deliver the best possible education to its students.

ACM is now examining how it can user FileMaker in other areas of its operations, including its alumni network. It is also beginning to roll its systems to partners around the world, including other institutions in the UK, the United States and South Africa.


The Academy of Contemporary Music