Cartoon of different software and operations tools with icons around them on a pink background.
Image: © Chaosamran_Studio/

Companies increasingly using internal tools to boost employee productivity

19 Jul 2022

Internal tools are mostly being built to support organisations’ operations teams, according to a Retool survey.

In a survey of developers and tech leaders by Retool, 60pc said improved employee productivity was their main metric for tracking successful return on investment when it comes to internal tools.

This was followed by reduced business costs (36pc) and employee satisfaction (25pc). It marks a change from last year, when 54pc said internal tools are measured on productivity gains.

Application development platform Retool carried out its latest survey in May 2022 among 2,285 technical professionals. Its State of Internal Tools 2022 report gives an insight into how organisations build, maintain and use these tools.

More than half (57pc) of those surveyed have at least one full-time employee dedicated to building or maintaining internal tools. The majority of these employees work in engineering (38pc), followed by operations (20pc) and data (17pc).

Internal tools are mostly built to support an organisation’s operations team (55pc), followed by customer services (52pc), sales (39pc), engineering (37pc), data (32pc), marketing (30pc), finance (26pc), IT (25pc), creative (10pc), partnerships and HR, (9pc each) and legal (5pc).

This year’s survey saw a surge in the number of operations teams using internal tools compared to the previous year. In 2021, only 40pc of respondents said they were building internal tools for operations teams.

According to Retool, one reason for this surge might be the broadening definition of the operations category, with the emergence of specialised functions such as BizOps, RevOps or DevSecOps.

Slack (42pc), GitHub (42pc), Stripe (33pc) and Salesforce (20pc) were the most popular third-party APIs when it came to building internal tools.

As for internal databases used to build tools, 53pc of developers and technical leaders selected PostgreSQL, followed by MySQL (35pc) and MongoDB (20pc).

Overall, internal databases were the most popular data source for internal tools, with 82pc of respondents using them. Internal APIs were the next most popular (63pc), followed by external or third-party APIs (44pc).

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea worked as a Careers reporter until 2024, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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