OperationsPublished February 7, 2022

Build Your Own Internal Tools for Business Workflows

This step-by-step guide teaches how to build internal tools and workplace apps without any code.

Build Your Own Internal Tools for Business Workflows

Whether you’re a founder, an executive, or a department head, using custom tools to support your internal workflow can work wonders for your team’s productivity.

However, software development is expensive, not to mention time-consuming. You may have to wait around for days for IT to build, test, launch, and deploy applications at your organization. Hiring an external agency is even worse.

But what if, instead of relying on others to build the tools you need to support your workflows, you could build them in minutes all by yourself?

You would save time and money, while also being able to create an application that really understands your specific needs and has the functionality to support them.

There are lots of no-code platforms out there for  non-technical folks to build apps without code, but none focus specifically on internal apps for startup and business use. That is, until now.

With Glide, you can build tools to automate your business workflow based on the data sources you’re already using — spreadsheets. Wondering how? Let’s take a look at the step-by-step process today.

What are Internal Tools?

Let’s take a moment to understand what is an internal tool and what are the advantages of building one.

Simply put, internal tools are automation apps designed to improve your business processes. A few example use cases are lead generation tools for sales teams, ticketing systems for customer support, and analytics dashboards for marketing teams.

The average knowledge worker wastes 40% of their time on repetitive tasks. Just imagine the bump in productivity if all these meaningless tasks could be automated and streamlined using a few pieces of software.

But again, building an internal tool can be a costly affair. You’re looking at months of development work spent on building, troubleshooting, testing, and deploying an application. Whether you hire a development agency or rely on your in-house software engineers, the development process is always the same.

That’s where Glide comes in. Empower your team members to build business apps throughout your organization, without having to rely on programming skills. Whether they have a technical background or not, now everyone is a tool developer.

The best part? Unlike most no-code tools, you don’t have to design and organize each component painstakingly. Instead, just rely on our existing templates to give you a head start, or plug in a spreadsheet that your business is already using as a data source. That’s it.

Examples of Internal Tools for Business Workflows

Internal tools are vital for efficient business workflows, assisting in various tasks and processes that drive the smooth functioning of a business. They help manage data, automate routine tasks, streamline communication, and provide valuable insights. Here are some examples of internal tools you might consider for your business:

  1. Project Management Tools: Tools like Asana, Trello, or Glide's custom project management applications can help teams track project progress, assign tasks, manage deadlines, and ensure efficient collaboration.

  2. CRM Systems: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools like Salesforce or a custom Glide CRM can help businesses manage customer data, track customer interactions, and improve customer service and relationships.

  3. HR Management Systems: Human Resource Management tools help streamline hiring processes, manage employee data, track employee performance, and handle payroll and benefits. Tools like Workday or custom HR tools built with Glide are examples.

  4. Inventory Management Systems: Inventory management tools help businesses track stock levels, manage orders and shipments, and optimize warehouse organization. Examples include QuickBooks Commerce or a custom inventory management tool made with Glide.

  5. Communication Tools: Efficient internal communication is key to a smoothly functioning business. Tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams facilitate instant messaging, file sharing, and collaboration among team members.

  6. Data Analytics Tools: Data analytics tools like Google Analytics or custom-built Glide applications can help businesses track their performance metrics, analyze customer behavior, and derive actionable insights.

  7. Financial Tools: These help businesses manage their accounts, track expenses and revenues, and maintain financial health. QuickBooks and Xero are popular options, but a custom financial tool built using Glide can provide more targeted solutions for your business.

  8. Sales Enablement Tools: Tools like HubSpot or a custom Glide application can assist sales teams by providing valuable insights, tracking leads, managing the sales pipeline, and automating follow-ups.

The real benefit of a platform like Glide lies in its ability to create custom tools tailored to your business's unique needs. Instead of adapting your processes to the constraints of off-the-shelf software, Glide allows you to design your own tools that perfectly fit your workflows. Whether you need a custom sales dashboard, a specialized project management tool, or an employee onboarding app, Glide gives you the flexibility and power to create it yourself.

What to Keep in Mind When Building Internal Tools Without Code

Building internal tools without code, also known as no-code development, has made creating custom business applications more accessible than ever. However, as you embark on this journey, there are several key considerations to keep in mind:

1. Understanding Your Business Needs: Before diving into building your tool, take the time to understand the exact needs of your business. What processes are you trying to streamline? What tasks do you want to automate? Having a clear idea of what you want to achieve with your internal tool will guide the development process.

2. User Experience: A tool is only as good as its usability. Consider who will be using the tool and what their needs are. The interface should be intuitive and easy to navigate, and it should fit seamlessly into the user's workflow.

3. Scalability: Your tool should be able to grow with your business. When choosing a no-code platform like Glide, ensure it offers scalability. Can it handle increasing data volumes? Can you add more features or users as your business grows?

4. Security: Your internal tools will likely handle sensitive business data. Ensure the no-code platform you choose has robust security measures in place to protect this data.

5. Integration: Your new tool should work well with the other tools and systems you already use. Glide, for example, easily integrates with spreadsheets and a variety of other platforms.

6. Maintenance and Support: Building the tool is just the beginning. It will need to be maintained, updated, and possibly tweaked as your business evolves. Choose a platform that offers strong support and has a helpful community around it.

7. Training: Even the most intuitive tool may require some training to use effectively. Plan for this to ensure a smooth transition for your team. Remember, the purpose of creating an internal tool is to make work easier and more efficient for your team. Keeping these considerations in mind during the development process will help you create a tool that truly meets the needs of your business.

How to Build Internal Tools for Your Business Without Code

Ready to build customer portals, admin panels, management tools, or a full-fledged CRM? Here’s a step-by-step guide to start building internal tools from scratch with Glide:

Step 1: Optimizing Your Data

Before getting creative with Glide’s drag-and-drop editor, let’s start with a bit of housekeeping. Spreadsheets are the source of all your data in Glide, which is why you should take a moment to optimize your data source so that it’s easier to read.

Glide has a set of detailed guidelines on spreadsheet optimization for exactly that purpose! Once your data source is clearly defined, it’s time to move on to the next step.

Step 2: Create an Account

Getting started with Glide is like opening an account with any other app. Just enter your email address to get started. You can also link your Google account.

The best part? You don’t need a credit card to take advantage of our individual plan. Once you’re ready to start building apps for your business, just upgrade!

Step 3: Link Existing Data

From here, there are two ways you can go about this. If you don’t have any existing data to use as a starting point, you can take advantage our vast collection of community-made templates to get the ball rolling.

But, if you’re already using tools like Microsoft Excel, Airtable, or Google Sheets, you can use your existing data to build an app automatically in minutes. Just choose your preferred spreadsheet or database manager, link your relevant account, and voila!

The best thing about Glide is that your data source stays constantly in sync with your new app. All your spreadsheet integrations keep working as intended, so no need to worry about losing access to precious information.

Step 4: Customize with the Editor

Of course, plugging in your data source is just the starting point. Glide has a powerful and intuitive drag-and-drop editor that you can use to customize your apps any way you want.

There’s a huge collection of drag-and-drop components to choose from, as well as options to include your own branding to create a more distinctive experience for the end-user.

Once you’ve finished customizing your app, it’s time to get ready for launch.

Step 5: Publish and Share

Before you publish your internal tool, take a moment to look at its privacy settings in the editor. You can use it to make sure that people can’t go around making changes to your data without the proper permissions.

Next, it’s time to take your app live. Glide eliminates the need for tedious app store approval processes by enabling you to publish your app directly on the web. App users can use a shortcut on their homescreen to access the app whenever they want!

To share your app with other people, just email them a link to your app through Glide. Or you can just have them scan the QR code.

Build Internal Tools to Support Business Workflows with Glide

Glide is a data-driven app builder that lets you create powerful apps without code. It works by pulling data from your existing spreadsheets, whether they’re inside Google Sheets, Microsoft Excel, or Airtable.

Easy-to-use interface, real-time data synchronization, powerful API — Glide has enough features to supercharge your business workflows for days. But the best thing about our offering is our focus on community-led growth.

Glide has a massive community of dedicated users who are happy to lend support should you find yourself stuck. We also have a huge selection of community-made templates to help you get started as quickly as you want.

Looking for an internal tool builder that integrates seamlessly with your existing data? All you have to do is sign up.

Glide has flexible pricing models to suit every business and is free with a few limitations for personal use.

Create simplified workflows for your business with Glide today.

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