Studio Manager News
Getting Started Demo Manual Online
The Studio Manager Demo is recommended for anyone evaluating the product. The Demo Getting Started Manual, now available online, is not only fabulous as try-before-you-buy, it also excels as a training tool for anyone new to Studio Manager. ScreenSteps is the tool we use to bring you this step-by-step, fully illustrated guide that you can read online or download as a PDF. Getting Started with Studio Manager 9 Demo
Studio Manager 9.2 Demo is Out
We've got the latest version of the product ready to go in demo format now. Loaded up with fresh data. Just fill out a few quick fields so we can track interest and grab the new Studio Manager 9.2 demo!
Studio Manager 9.1 and 9.2 New Features
We now have our Studio Manager 9.1 New Features page and Studio Manager 9.2 New Features page up. If you have already purchased SM 9.1 or 9.2, you can make sure you take advantage of the newest goodies by checking these out.
Studio Manager 9.2 Product is Available
Demo to follow. I wrote a brief blog post on Studio Manager Bulletin about SM 9.2 here. Major features are:
Added 13 table view layouts with sub-summaries that work in browse mode. These new table views have special and appropriate sort buttons with multiple subheads and subtotals that appear or disappear depending on how you sort. This is a fabulous new FileMaker 10 feature for our early adopter FileMaker 10 users. And they work with FM9 too, without the browse-mode summaries.
Scrunching Studio Manager 14 pixels shorter and widening it 15 pixels to help SM run on 13" monitors with FileMaker 10. FileMaker 10 has this rather thick toolbar across the top that makes vertical space dicey on small screens especially if you have the dock at the bottom of your screen.
Studio Manager 9.1 Demo is Up and Tweaked
We have the demo up which will let you see Studio Manager 9.1 plus it will let you run under FileMaker Pro 10. We did have to revise the first version of the demo since it first went up on Monday. An improvement we made had an unexpected consequence of losing your place in contacts. That bug has been squashed!
We recommend that when you download the demo, you get the short Getting Started and Demo manual.pdfs too. But, don't forget to also click over to our new online SM9 Demo: Getting Started lessons. We think they are a bit more fun with step-by-step illustrations - 1 screenshot per step.
FileMaker 10 Alert
Pre-SM 9.1 customers who want to run FileMaker 10 will need two tweaks that will take a total of 30 minutes. We need to do a 2 minute fix for you unless you have full access and can make the change yourself. We will publish the 15 minute fix. It is minor - it is just an adjustment in our resize window script to account for the fact that in FileMaker 10 the status area on the left went away.
FileMaker 10 Early Birds. Yes, FileMaker 10 is really cool. It will allow lots of new things both immediately for end-users and for developers like us. However, I usually recommend you wait at least a week or two or three or four before you replace your existing FileMaker Server installation with a new version. Why not let someone else find a bug that might apply to you?
How to Replenish Your Weeks file
Customers still running Studio Manager 3 or 4 are running out of Weeks this year. The quick solution is to go to the Weeks file and create new records for additional weeks. It will take just a few minutes to add another year.
We've created a couple of FileMaker files you can download and import New_Weeks_7 (SM7-9) or New_Weeks_5 (SM1-4). Just open your old Weeks file and import the New Weeks file with matching field names.
Studio Manager News Archives
Check out past news items on our Studio Manager News Archives page. Don't miss our recession pep talk
The Big Picture:
Studio Manager is different. It's turning heads in the creative services industry. Here's why:
Industry Specific. Studio Manager is a vertical market product built for creative services businesses. Unlike the typical vertical market package, it's based on our deep and broad knowledge of the industry. As custom developers, we built over fifty different custom systems before we created the product. We had access to all those good ideas and learned from the bad ones. Since then, we've continued to focus on the creative services segment and have worked with hundreds of design and advertising firms around the world.
Flexible. Customizable. Turbulent times mean you have to move fast! Your information infrastructure has to be easy to modify when you change things around. Yet, software has a well-deserved bad reputation for being rigid and hard to change. FileMaker provides extreme ease of use and flexibility. Studio Manager lets you travel light on your feet because (1) it is based on FileMaker and (2) we don't lock it down. Add fields, change layouts, delete things you don't want. You are not dependent on us. You don't have to beg us to put in a new feature and then wait around. Just change it!
Design. In house design talent was augmented by contributions from some of our top design clients. We figured we should take advantage of the fact that our clients are the best designers around. There's consistency throughout. Once you learn one part, the rest works the same way.
Quality. We proudly admit to being perfectionists when it comes to making Studio Manager rock solid. You'll find all the i's dotted and the t's crossed in Studio Manager. It looks good, does what it is supposed to do and, even behind the scenes, you'll find quality. Anyone who looks into the field definitions, layouts or scripting will see organization and consistency. Quality makes Studio Manager trouble-free.
Support. Besides the impressive technology in this product, you get first-rate support. We are connoisseurs of fine people skills. Way before we check for technical ability and knowhow, we make sure our people have integrity and are great communicators. For a software firm, we have a collective emotional IQ that is off the charts! Call us and see for yourself.
Value. We've got low prices. And we are afraid that you will think badly of us for it. But, we've got a plan. There are jillions of small creative services businesses on this planet and we want a lot of them to buy Studio Manager. We want big firms to buy too, but if we priced the product as high as some have suggested, only a fraction of firms could use our product. So we are taking the gamble and going for volume and building our market share. Before we come to our senses, buy Studio Manager now!
The Details (with screenshots):
This is a summary of the web pages we have that describe the various capabilities of Studio Manager. Each related page has a full-size screenshot and a discussion of features and benefits.
FileMaker Pro does math just as well as Excel. In Studio Manager generating invoices is easy and they look great. By designing your invoice with FileMaker Pro's simple layout tools, you'll save tons of time and have invoices with numbers that add up (and line up) every single time. Getting invoices out in a hurry can be the difference between a healthy cash flow and disaster.
The heartbeat of a creative services firm is in its jobs. One key difference between Studio Manager and a regular accounting program, is that Studio Manager lives for jobs. The Jobs module in Studio Manager gives you a complete tracking system for the activities and information associated with jobs. You can see the schedule, estimates, change orders, specs, purchase orders, invoices and time and expenses - all without leaving a job record. Anyone working on a job can record notes. Everything is integrated and available in one master control panel.
You can keep all the information you want about your contacts and have your contact information flow automatically into all other system functions, like estimates, invoices, purchase orders, correspondence, etc. Take a look at the screenshot we have and find out how your contacts file can become a key control center for your business.
Marketing and sales have become top-line necessities for creative services firms, so we thought you might like some simple yet powerful help in this area from Studio Manager. We give you the core 20% of what dedicated contact management programs offer (without all the extra features that few people ever use anyway.) More Info about SM8 Marketing
After years of experimentation, we developed a way to computerize job estimating that is flexible enough to fit any creative services business. You get a checklist of your own set of categories for estimating. Just fill in the estimated hours and costs and Studio Manager does the rest. Like a spreadsheet, but much better because it integrates your estimates with the rest of your job-related operations. This allows you to effortlessly pull up estimates vs. actuals at a moment's notice.
Studio Manager also gives you estimate options. You can display up to 4 dollar columns in a single estimate to allow for different quantities, different specs or estimate ranges. You can also create flat-fee estimates. Estimate Options allows you to generate up to four columns for comparison.More Info.
Component estimates permit you to break large jobs into smaller "component" parts and show them all on one estimate. If the necessity arises, you can print detailed estimates for each component as backup.
Creative services firms are always looking for a better way to manage the schedules of multiple jobs. We've created something extraordinarily simple designed just for you! It's not a PERT chart, but you do get a really sweet 4-week calendar of deadlines for all jobs and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to operate.
What a concept! Now that you have a computer on every desk, let your design staff enter their time directly into Studio Manager from their computers so you'll always know how much time has been expended on a given project.
The contacts file connects to a dedicated table for the 90 to 95% of your correspondence that adheres to a standard format. We include an email screen, a single-page letter and a fax cover sheet to get you started. You can modify these layouts to your specifications and then duplicate them to create other kinds of forms.
Receivables and Payables
Although we don't try to replace your financial accounting, because that's pretty standard across industries and it is hard to compete with MYOB and QuickBooks due to the volume they sell, we do offer optional receivables and payables tracking that is quite good. Receivables includes aging and sales tax reports.
Payables is fully integrated with Job Cost tracking. Once an invoice is entered as a payable it is tracked in Job Costs and shows up on job status reports. By vendor and aging.
Some firms are big on purchase orders and some aren't. This capability is optional and powerful if you like to issue purchase orders. It integrates fully into Job Cost tracking and Payables (see above).
Studio Manager's security features allow you to efficiently maintain as many as twelve security levels, each with its own set of permissions. Each user is assigned to a particular access level, determining which layouts, fields, functions and reports they can access.