The background is that they had developed an in house solution using FileMaker. This solution was being used by about four employees and worked well for their purposes. But when they identified the business opportunity which involved providing the data and services they had developed internally to a larger audience in the outside world, they ran into a serious road block.
Specifically, there was no way they could take the in house FileMaker solution and provide it to a wider (and more diverse) audience on a cost basis that would make the business case work. They looked at the newer releases of the Filemaker but they just couldn't get the functionality that they wanted and numbers (costs) simply would not work out.
They also had another issue, they knew that the target user would need a native web experience. The user experience that they had with the FileMaker worked fine for the highly trained internal staff, but it would be a nightmare to try and ramp up with a lot of "casual" users. They also felt that the external users wanted to have a more native experience with the system.
Click here for a video of a couple of the features of the prototype system.