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FM - Design & Strategy Advice for new DB

Posted on 2011-03-09
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
We have two businesses - property management and a realty company - that share Filemaker.  Leads are passed by email from the first group of salesmen to the 2nd after 21 days.  Now, now my boss wants to create a new db or table on the realty side to import the new leads from the P.M. side.  However, we already have a contacts table on the realty side (ongoing relationships only, not Leads).  So, would you a) combine the leads imported from P.M. to Realty with the current contacts in Realty into the same table and just flag them differently or b) create a new RealtyLeads table and when a lead becomes a real contact, import it in from RealtyLeads to RealtyContacts?  The drawback of combining is that the fields and design are a bit different and the Contact table woujld grow tremendously because we receive about 20 leads per day.  

No right answer here, just looking for advice.
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Question by:rvfowler2
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by:North2Alaska
North2Alaska earned 125 total points
ID: 35083532
I would put them in the same table.  A name is a name...  But I might also have other tables that link to the contacts table to identify which contacts do what thing.
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Will Loving earned 175 total points
ID: 35083583
I think the answer would depend on how many of the leads convert to contacts that you would want to keep and what your workflow is. You could add them to Contacts and just find a very clear visual way to mark them, or to exclude them from view when you don't want to see them. I think you need to think about the workflow and how often you're going to flush leads and what the criteria are for deleting them. Are leads managed differently from Contacts? Would it be advantageous to have the leads included in Contacts?
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by:challengeday
challengeday earned 200 total points
ID: 35084259
I agree with N2A I would put them in the same table and give them a status field, so a person would change status from lead to contact.

You'll need to smooth out the differences. A table growing tremendously isn't a problem. It'll be a long time before you hit FM limits.

I also agree with Will. Particularly you have to look at where in your PM side you make the following assumption: The set of contacts is the set of all records in this table. It's easy to make that assumption in lists, reports, printing, etc. If you start keeping both leads and contacts then you have to do fix any place where you make that assumption and select the group you want.

If that assumption is in place throughout the database then it will be a lot of work to build the selecting mechanisms.
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by:rvfowler2
ID: 35084636
First, only 5-8% of Leads turn into contacts.  Second, fortunately, the Contacts table has only been around since Sept, so it would take some work, but not a tremendous amount to create a ContactsOnly TO and change the portals and reports to fit.

We have seen FM slow down a bit with the growth, since I've been here (about 14 months).  We've added one db and about 20 tables.  But possibly where it slows down is not the increase in records, but the use of unstored calc fields.  I've posted this in another question, but I think we use too many calc fields when we could use a report instead.
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by:challengeday
challengeday earned 200 total points
ID: 35084720
Yes, calc fields on a layout (especially if you are doing summary or other aggregate functions in the calc) can slow down FM. The way you know it's those fields is that it speeds up when when it's on a layout that doesn't have those fields.
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by:rvfowler2
ID: 35084835
So unstored calcs only slow down FM when displayed.  Does that mean I could use them behind the scenes and they only get calced when used for a weekly report?
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by:challengeday
ID: 35084925
Yes, that is my experience.
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by:rvfowler2
ID: 35085978
Thanks.
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