What are the benefits of internal tools?

August 16, 2022

Jordan Chavis
Marketer

Benefits of Building Internal Tools

It's challenging to keep track of dozens, if not hundreds, of different business processes at any given moment, let alone provide a timely report on them. It’s always tricky because of how many processes across other systems are involved.

Internal tools solve this business problem by integrating all the data sources they use under one user interface. In doing so, these tools streamline and speed up work for your employees and your business. This article will go into several benefits of building internal tools, what you need to consider, and how to build them.

What Are Internal Tools?

Dashboards, graphical user interfaces, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, ticketing systems, and other similar tools are commonly referred to as "internal tools" in this context. Typically, these are custom built for your specific business needs.

They’re usually built to complete a specific task for a specific team, and designed to eliminate the need for expensive SaaS products that you can buy off the shelf.

Why Should I Use Internal Tools?

It can be tricky to decide whether or not to create an internal tool, especially when you consider the costs. It's all about finding the correct balance when deciding whether or not to invest in internal tools. It's usually a trade-off between the cost of developing (and maintaining) internal tools and the productivity that those tools bring to the table.

Nevertheless, repetitive and common tasks such as updating contact lists in spreadsheets, running Help Desks, monitoring websites, refunding customers, and building KPI dashboards can be simplified using internal tools. Plus, you'll have more development resources to devote to other areas of the business.

Most companies utilize these tools to boost team productivity, manage logistics, and respond swiftly to clients in the event of technological concerns. Internal tools can help you prepare for the future, and even save money in some circumstances.

Cost Savings of Building Internal Tools vs. Buying New Software

Sometimes the answer to "should we make this?" is an emphatic yes. Instead of attempting to fit your team into an out-of-the-box solution, building your own software lets you personalize and tailor it specifically for your business goals. No ready-made external tools will meet all your requirements 100% of the time.

But internal tool development is a multi-step process that includes the following expenditures:

  • Upfront development
  • Future operational, maintenance, and upgrade
  • Opportunity cost

Indeed, as little as 8% of overall software project expenditures are spent on up-front development. In contrast, 67% is spent on long-term maintenance.

Ongoing Productivity Benefits

There are several benefits to using internal tools as a product manager, but the most convincing is the increase in productivity. Because they eliminate inefficient, duplicated, and trivial tasks, these productivity-enhancing technologies are a godsend to companies. When built correctly, internal tools allow developers to focus on your company's customer-facing product more.

No Limitations: Build To Your Needs

An internal tool's primary advantage is that you have total control over the finished product. Internal tools may be built to meet any of your company's needs so long as you have a clear roadmap and vision for them.

With the help of an internal tool, companies can develop content more quickly and easily. An organization's ability to be data-driven and analytical can be improved by investing in internal software development. Faster and more accurate observation of data can result in better decision making for your business.

Amazon, Netflix, and Google are some of the most prominent examples of big businesses investing heavily in developing internal tools. For instance, Google has created digital workflows for its hiring and employee career management systems to streamline recruitment. Meanwhile, Amazon's warehouse management and logistics hubs have been extensively computerized, including internal apps.

How To Build Internal Tools Fast

Ready to start building internal tools for your company? Ten years ago, you likely would have committed an entire dev team and paired them with a project manager to build and maintain your new app. However, the new standard is to utilize low-code platforms. Low-code internal tool builders are software design systems that allow even non-technical employees to execute software without composing a line of code.

That means people with zero experience in coding can develop an internal tool. It is a cost-effective solution that puts less strain on developers, encourages stakeholder involvement, and is easier to refine based on employee feedback and future changes in your process.

Many no-code/low-code platforms allow product managers and engineers to build custom internal tools faster and more efficiently.

Basedash is the fastest way to build an internal tool as it enables the creation of workflows for your business processes that connect securely to your data in a shared workspace in as little as 90 seconds. It's also fully collaborative, so teams can edit, view, and share information.

Things To Consider Before You Choose an Internal Tool Builder

Internal tools should be built the same way as customer-facing tools, following the same rules. The goal of developing internal tools is to make it easier for colleagues to get their work done faster and more effectively and improve teamwork and processes. Internal tools, like exterior ones, must be used and valued by their end-users.

Here are three things to consider when choosing an internal tool builder.

Design Flexibility

To get the best impact out of your tool, it should take the work out of design and set you up with world class design right out of the box.. After all, one of the most time-consuming aspects of production is design.

Custom software with a steep learning curve can be burdensome for your platform engineering teams and internal tool product managers. The tool should make design simple and fast rather than leaving you to struggle through the design process.

Security

Checking for compliance with regulations like SOC2, GDPR, etc., is a common initial step. In that vein, you will need to consider factors like how user data will be kept safe and confidential and what sort of telemetry you are okay with.

Future-Proofing and Platform Improvements

What if your app keeps crashing? If so, does the tool you're utilizing have a support plan? Do they offer version control? Docs and the ease with which you can locate necessary information about the internal tool builder and the ability to make docs for the custom solution you’ve developed should be given special consideration.

It's also crucial to have some kind of support system in place. Your "how-to" queries should be answered swiftly and efficiently with the help of online resources.

Your platform should be able to reduce corrective maintenance and technical debt.

Conclusion

There are tremendous productivity improvements, increased employee happiness, and growth if companies are more inclined to develop their internal tools tailored to their own needs. With the average small to medium business managing roughly 47.81 TB of data, internal tools are essential to extracting the value from this data and enable your business to focus on shipping revenue-generating features.

Basedash enables businesses to use their data without having to rely entirely on the engineering resources they have at their disposal. Building internal tools to speed up your organization's progress has never been more important than it is now that digital transformation is a top focus for most companies.

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