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Apple's Claris says coronavirus is driving people to FileMaker

Apple subsidiary Claris makes FileMaker Pro, the database and app-creation tool

The Apple subsidiary that makes database and app tool FileMaker Pro, says that its quick development systems are in greater demand now because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Following Apple's better than expected financial earnings disclosure, the company's subsidiary Claris says that it, too, is seeing growth because of the same coronavirus issues that have adversely affected most technology firms. The company, which has been repositioning itself from a database firm to an app development one, says that this is down to the ability it gives users to create solutions which need "low coding" on top of provided templates.

"There is a massive opportunity for low code to help in the Covid-19 situation," Claris CEO Brad Freitag told CNBC. "[Software] is helping to heal the world, and the low-code category awareness for nonprofits, government, health care and education is up, and it can have an immediate impact, a profound impact."

Without giving any figures, Freitag says that Claris has seen inquiries from potential users, particularly in health care, education and logistics, rise by 50% since the start of March 2020.

"You never wish for a crisis to support your sector," continues Freitag, "but I think [demand] will grow even more than forecast, partly because we will head into a downturn and that will put more cost pressure on organizations solving complex digital problems."

For an example of fast-turnaround app creation using its software, Freitag says the company worked with a European hospital to make COVID-19 patient software in a single day. "They had a decision tree map drawn on paper for triage of Covid patients," he says. "[They would walk] into some central room in ICU and [go] through a decision tree to determine next steps."

It worked well enough at first, but Freitag explains that the sheet of paper had to be replaced by software because the hospital had to keep revising its decision tree. "The challenge with that sheet of paper in treatment is changing in real time," he says.

Claris CEO Brad Freitag
Claris CEO Brad Freitag

"In a strong market, [customers] could solve it with a bigger budget and industrial-strength solutions," he says, "but we are going to see a more pragmatic approach. "In a recession, people have to get creative on value justification. We'll be happy to go up against big vendors in terms of business case justification."

Previously known by the name of its key product, FileMaker Pro, Claris recently rebranded and also launched a rapid app creation service called Connect.