Internal tools: The BTS apps powering your business
These are the unsung hero of many businesses. Here's why you should build your own.
Table of Contents
Internal tools is a broad term for all the software working behind the scenes which enables a business to actually operate. Building your own with no-code tools can make a huge difference to how your organisation functions.
Internal tools are the unsung hero of many businesses. Whether it’s an inventory management system, dashboards for employees to see critical info or approval apps to make sure the right people sign off on projects, these apps aren’t the type to crave attention. They might not even look particularly beautiful. But without them, a business would really struggle to function on the day-to-day. And employees would be in a whole world of pain.
Building internal tools from scratch with the help of a team of developers takes a lot of time and cash. No-code tools offer an alternative – empowering companies with the software required to build out specialised, bespoke internal tools that don’t require deep technical know-how or writing code. That’s essential stuff.
Wtf are internal tools?
Internal tools are the software and apps that work behind the scenes to help employees do their jobs. It might be a CRM for managing interactions and relationships with customers and potential leads; a custom admin panel or dashboard for updating and editing inventory data; or an app for approving specific actions that employees want to take.
Whatever they do and wherever they’re used within an organisation, their purpose is fundamentally the same: to help the business run smoother, taking into account all the intricacies and complexities involved in a business’ operations.
What problems can they solve?
- They cut out unnecessary manual work. Internal tools can be used to automate workflows, tasks, and other actions – saving time and removing the need to do the same things over and over again manually.
- They make data management easier. Single or multiple sources of data can be synced, accessed, have permissions and controls set, and edited all through an internal tool.
- They protect data. No-code tools take care of the security issues that can arise from having data spread across different platforms – providing a centralised place for managing and monitoring who can have access what.
- They make it easier for teams to collaborate. All the members of a team or department are able to easily access key information and take care of specific actions, all through a single, easy to use portal.
- They improve communication. Internal tools decrease the clutter of emails – providing a single source of truth for staying in touch with team members and keeping them updated.
- They make it simple to create data visualisations. You’ll be able to generate charts, graphs, and other engaging visuals really easily.
- You can customise your apps to suit your exact needs. Internal tool builders go beyond what’s possible with off-the-shelf solutions – making it possible to tailor your app to meet whatever requirements and needs you might have.
Who needs to know?
Most businesses depend on internal tools to help their business run smoothly, but the more operations and admin you have, the more internal app use cases you’ll have. Wherever there are specialised processes or niche sets of data, internal tools provide flexibility and functionality that go beyond what you can get out of Google Sheets or Airtable.
Similarly, most departments – and indeed employees – will benefit from internal tools that are tailored to their exact needs.
Senior employees who maybe lack technical skills but have key insights into how their departments function are perfectly placed to reap the benefits. Whether they’re in customer support, HR, marketing, finance or accounting, no-code tools give them the power to build exactly what they need to meet the demands and requirements of the work they do within their departments.
But tech-savvy employees will love them too. IT managers are often tasked with creating and maintaining an organisation’s internal tools; developers are tasked with actually writing the code to build them when there are often bigger priorities demanding their attention.
What’s the nuance?
So that’s that then – no-code internal tool builders make perfect sense and you should get moving immediately. Well, not quite. There are a few essential things to be aware of.
- You need to think about who’s setting your internal tools up. Those with IT roles will have no problems understanding more complex user interfaces (and working with low-code platforms. But if the people tasked with creating internal tools don’t have technical backgrounds, simpler no-code platforms will be a better choice.
- The no-code tool you use needs to fit with your current data landscape. Identify your data sources and make sure that the no-code tool you’re looking at offers easy integration and synchronisation.
- If you’re dealing with sensitive data, choose with care. If you’re operating in sectors like healthcare, finance, or other industries that need to meet compliance or regulatory requirements, finding the right builder takes a little more care. You’ll need to ensure the no-code tool will meet the security and safety standards required.
- Know what ‘permissions’ are – and what level you’ll need. Permissions (aka, who can do what on the app you create), are really important to think about before you start building your software. Some companies may require a granular level of permissions – such as specifying who can look at certain parts of customer records or use specific software. Others may only require broader levels of control.
- Understand if your data should be hosted in the cloud or internally. Where your data is hosted matters. For many businesses, you might host your data in the cloud and let the platform take care of it for you. But if you’re working with sensitive data, where security and privacy are essential, you might need to host the data yourself, internally.
- Make sure your internal tool builder is compatible with Single Sign-On (SSO) software. Quite technical but undoubtedly important. If your organisation relies on SSO software, you’ll require internal tools that will seamlessly integrate and won’t conflict with the levels of access an SSO controls.
Which no-code tools are right for me?
Noloco is a completely code-free tool that opens the door for anyone to build internal tools. With an easy-to-navigate user interface, it’s a quick way to build internal tools based on data stored in Google Sheets, Airtable, and PostgreSQL. Honourable mention for Glide too.
Stacker is a powerful no-code platform for creating internal apps and customer portals based on existing data. With workflow tools and processes, customisable CRMs, partner dashboards, and features for communicating with internal teams and partners, it’s pretty user-friendly too.
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