Building enterprise apps: Why Internal Tool development is picking up?

Kushagra Pal on August 31, 2020

With the ‘new normal’, post-pandemic digital demands, chances are that you’re spending time on internal tooling in your organization. Internal tools are pieces of software, either built in-house or externally developed by a solution architect, to improve day-to-day enterprise operations, remain competitive, expand competitive advantage, and drive value for the business. 

In this blog we try to determine the need for internal tools and how enterprises can quickly develop and integrate them into their workplace, giving their employees a structured approach to conduct work more effectively in this new normal

What are Internal Tools?

Internal tools that organizations build can be bespoke technical tools, platforms, and repositories to increase the productivity of the teams or CRUD interfaces to enable customer support in resolving customer support queries. Typically, before moving on to more sophisticated tools like a CRM or and HRMS, companies start off with nontrivial flows to automate recurring business processes like an approval cycle automation. These tools are highly tailored to a business and are built when there isn’t a cost-efficient ready solution available. The targeted end-user of these tools also determines how these tools get to build and where they reside. 

Why are Internal Tools critical? 

There are many reasons to build enterprise apps. Enabling your employees to use technology in innovative and useful ways will yield higher productivity for your business. Building mobile apps will be especially useful for employees who are working remotely or on the field to give them the tools and resources needed to be successful at what they do. 

Top application leaders are bound to invest in their development and platform strategies to power systems of differentiation and innovation to compete with top performers of which 88% use agile methodologies for at least some of their enterprise application development.

A Forbes article states these four primary reasons driving enterprises to build internal tools – 

  1. They facilitate overall productivity by cutting down on trivial, redundant processes 
  2. Empower remote and field teams with the adoption of smartphones and tablet-based solutions – powering them with resources needed to conduct business wherever they are
  3. Ready enterprise data and analytics results in smarter application development
  4. Building enterprise apps has never been easier with the increasing access to ready marketplaces

What do top companies have to say about Internal Tools

Mobile applications are a staple in the enterprise, but there are always new elements that transform the apps. As new technologies are introduced to the enterprise, many of them eventually integrate with mobile apps.

From technology giants to manufacturing leaders, businesses greatly value internal tooling and understand that internal tools are critical to the company’s success. Amazon, Walmart, Reddit, Netflix, eBay are just some of the big names who not only invest in their customer-facing interfaces but also on internal tools that boost internal teams’ performance.

According to Gartner, by 2024, 30-year-old Generation Z IT leaders will be driving innovation and trying to self-disrupt enterprises every three months. Everything around the enterprise is changing: the technology, employee and customer expectations, and ownership. As the role of enterprise application leaders continues to go through changes, adopting new, more effective ways of working with business stakeholders in order to deliver critical internal/enterprise apps will become the norm to solve customers’ problems or deliver great customer experiences

Maintenance, security & transparency 

While enterprise tools are supplementing existing processes, they can end up being a big piece of technical debt, if lacking support and maintenance.  Internal tools are the face of the internal processes of an enterprise. So, they need to be updated regularly as per the dynamicity of the internal business processes. Internal tools are critical to the enterprise’s operational success and can be used to handle the company’s private data. So, privacy and security considerations take the front seat when selecting a solution to build internal tools.  An advantage of leveraging SaaS-based tools to build apps is that a lot of the legislative groundwork and governance is pre-built into the development platforms.  Many SaaS-based tools provide strict security certifications to secure enterprise data with regular maintenance and upgrades management to keep tools built over their platforms up-to-date.

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