Upgrading to Studio Manager 9
Everything You Wanted to Know...
What to Budget for when you Upgrade
A quick word before you look at the numbers. The prices in the chart below are for upgrading to a brand new and empty copy of Studio Manager 9.2 only. They do not include the cost of upgrading your copy or copies of FileMaker Pro to FileMaker Pro 10. They do not include the cost of extra help you may need to import your data or transfer your customizations into Studio Manager 9.2. We don't bundle these optional services because some of our customers have their own in-house or local expertise to handle the importing and customization themselves.
See below the price tables for a lot of good information on upgrading including a description of the upgrader guide that we have written to assist you in the upgrade process.
Upgrade Pricing Varies Depending on your Current Version
If you are upgrading from Studio Manager 4, prices are higher than if you upgrade from version 7. If you have 8, you'll pay even less.
Our thinking is (1) users with earlier versions have gotten more years of value out of the product they purchased and (2) the increase in features and value, when you upgrade from a much earlier version to Studio Manager 9 is greater than it is for someone who has recently purchased Studio Manager 8. Seems fair and is consistent with industry practices.
Upgrade Pricing for Studio Manager 9: good until August 31, 2009
If you don't see your user count in this list, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or call 415 789-5219 and we will give you a quote.
What does Upgrading Entail?
We give you a checklist. When you upgrade a customizable product like Studio Manager, you get the full new product and then need to (1) import your data into it and (2) re-do any customizations you may have made in the past that you think are worth adding again. Most layouts you added can be copied from your previous version to the current one. It is not uncommon however for upgraders to find that the current version of Studio Manager now contains reports and features that few years ago were only available by customizing. We are constantly tweaking Studio Manager, often to add features that our customers have recommended based on their experience with using the product.
Upgrades from Studio Manager 7-8 to 9
Easy Upgrades. When you go from Studio Manager 7 or 8 to 9, the field names match. Importing just takes a couple hours. You only need to do a few more things:
Set all the auto-number fields, like job, estimate and invoice numbers, so that they start with the correct number (which is going to be unique to you). This way, there is no break in continuity between your previous version and the upgrade.
Copy and paste your pop-down lists if you have changed the generic versions.
Double check and compare various totals to make sure they match your old numbers.
If you've made a lot of neat customizations, maybe some special reports, you'll need to create new layouts and copy and paste from your old file to get them back.
if you've done some extra scripting, you will need to copy those scripts over and make sure they tie in with current layout names and such.
We have a 7 page guide to the import process that walks you through.
Feel free to call or email if you have any concerns about this. We are here to help. We do offer importing and conversions services too (see below). Keep reading, the next section applies to you too.
Upgrading from Studio Manager 4 or 3 to 9
When you upgrade, we include two good things: (1) a file by file guide/checklist to walk you through importing and (2) import scripts. You basically run the scripts one at a time for each file. The script sets you up with the fields matching and you just need to make exceptions if you've made changes in the fields.
You Could be Dancing. This is repetitive work and it takes a few hours but is not hard to do. You could watch a DVD while data is importing and pause it while you check the data briefly and then start the next import. Typically an upgrade is done at night or on the weekend, so you'll probably be all alone. Put on some good iTunes and you'll be fine. Dancing while data is importing can be fun. Just remember to follow your checklist to keep on track. (Please note: If you are upgrading from SM7 or 8, everything is much faster and easier.)
We Offer Upgrade Services. If you have less time than money at the moment or you just don't like this kind of thing, we can do your upgrade for you. Our average upgrade charge is about $800. A major advantage of our upgrades is that we check your files and data as we go along and fix what we can or flag it for you to fix. It's a kind of data quality audit. The cost for upgrading depends on two things (1) how much data you have - bigger firms with years of data take longer than small firms with only a year of data and (2) whether or not you want us to re-do some of your customizing.
Or, you can start from scratch with 9. Enter your new clients, set-up or import your billing codes and enter your current jobs. The advantage here is threefold: (1) You know you haven't imported any old, bad data, (2) you are getting a full archive out of it, so you've got tiny files that run really fast and (3) you save a bunch of time/hassle/money by not having to import the data. You still would want to make customizations like the most common ones -- making the generic invoice and estimate look sharp. But then, that's what you are best at and most comfortable with.
Re-doing your Customizations is Easier than Ever with Filemaker 9 or 10
Import tables -- if you've added extra files for custom functionality, you can import them into Studio Manager 9 and then just repoint any relationships.
Copy and Paste fields. You can highlight fields, copy and then go to the new corresponding table and paste them in!
Copy and paste layout objects. Just make sure that the part dimensions are set the way your favorite layout's parts are set using the Size windoid and then copy and paste the whole set of fields and logos from your old layout to your new one.
Copy and paste scripts. Now you can copy and paste any scripts you've created into Studio Manager 9.
We recommend that, when you upgrade, you take the opportunity to review your customizations and only re-implement the good stuff. Then make them better based on your experience using them and based on the latest features in FileMaker. Having to re-do software is often the best problem to have because you get to take a fresh look at it based on what you've learned in the meantime. Most seemingly good ideas don't stand up to the test of time or are needed for a single one-time thing. Trim your sails a bit, but don't forget to tweak and add some conditional formatting at least. You'll be happy you did.
Purchase One Copy of FileMaker Pro 10 Advanced
FileMaker Pro Advanced is a powerful tool for your shop. It only costs $200 extra to buy and contains features that will allow you to re-implement customizations and modify features more easily than with FileMaker Pro alone. You can read more about it at FileMaker's website.
Because of its expanded feature set, buying a copy of FileMaker Pro Advanced gives you a special kind of insurance policy. Even if you don't use it yourself, you could use it along with the telephone or email supervision of Tokerud Consulting or of a local consultant who is not able to come into your office as quick as you need them. It makes our job easier, and you get your needs met faster and more affordably. If you have an in-house FileMaker fan, they'll love you for it.
Studio Manager Upgrade History
SM 9.0 thru 9.2. New features in FileMaker Pro 9 motivated us to upgrade Studio Manager yet again. SM9.0 took advantage of FileMaker Pro 9's great new Conditional Formatting and added a range of other features to Studio Manager 8 like the 4 views of an employees tasks (today, overdue, 3-day and all) plus color coding of tasks via FileMaker 9's conditional formatting. We also built in a clean-up feature for contacts that allowed you to copy and paste from the web or other stylized text and clear the styles, size and color so that FileMaker formatting applied correctly. Added the ability to click a button to save contacts to the Mac Address Book and create vCards. Check out the new features for Studio Manager 9.0 (12-19-07), 9.1 (12-23-08) and 9.2 (2-19-09) with lots of screenshots and more detail on what was included in these upgrades. Note that the screens changed size and shape in Studio Manager 9.2 when we updated this version to be more compatible with FileMaker 10. As of this writing, Studio Manager 9.2 is the current version.
SM 8.0. The biggest improvement by far was a new user interface makeover throughout and the simplification and streamlining that went along with it. There were a great many refinements. We are especially proud of the fuller-featured 4-Week Schedule Reporting capability which improved the scheduling function immensely. 11-29-06
SM 7.5 thru 7.7. Click on the link below and then on links for each of these version 7.5 (10-31-05), version 7.7 (4-20-06) and SM 7.7 (8-7-06). Lots of changes were made and are detailed there. Read all about the in our SM News Archives.
SM 7.0. Mega upgrade! We added a report here and there but the biggest improvement was that Studio Manager 7.0 was re-written into a single file that included separate tables. The feeling and file management changes made for a great improvement in the user interface. Not only were screens made consistent throughout, we also increased the screen size by 69% across the board. 7-16-05
We skipped from SM 4.6 to SM7.0. FileMaker was going through some changes at this time and released several versions in quick succession. We decided that it was time for our Studio Manager version numbers to more closely match the version numbers being used by FileMaker.
SM 4.6. Besides smoothing out a couple rough edges in SM 4.5, we added new features to the sales and marketing functions in SM 4.6. Also, we added a feature that allowed you to choose expenses only when selecting job costs for an invoice. 8-24-04
SM 4.5 We made a major upgrade to the marketing and sales support in the contact management portion of Studio Manager. There's a real sales to do list built into this upgrade. 12/18/03
SM 4.3-4.4 We added more features and capabilities to the security capabilities of Studio Manager based on customer feedback and our own new ideas. 9/30/03
SM 4.2 We got into the password and security business with this upgrade. We created three tracking files to help you keep track of who could do what where in Studio Manager. We installed four levels of passwords and groups from the lowliest staff person to the owner and master programmer. 3/25/03
SM 4.1. Converted master version to FMP 5 (up till 4.1, we created parallel versions of Studio Manager - one for FM 3-4 and one for FM 5-6. Expanded the billing and markup rates in Studio Manager. We went from 4 hourly rates to 8 and from 2 markup rates to 4. This increase the number of rates gave more flexibility to larger firms and firms that do lots of different things. Used object emboss tool available in FMP5 on objects and eliminated a second offset box graphic to create the effect the hard way - making layout work much easier. 8/1/02