Top 8 No-Code and Low-Code Internal Tool Builders

Published on September 14, 2021

Managing a business requires a great deal of attention to detail, along with solid processes in all areas of operations. As your company and team keep growing, you won’t be able to wing it with a makeshift system of spreadsheets and documents anymore. The time has come to build up your internal tools stack. 


What’s an internal tool? Any software solution you’re using internally to help your collaborators do their job, such as:


  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM);
  • Employee Directory and HR platform;
  • Event Management directory;
  • Forms and Surveys;
  • Dashboards and Reports;
  • Client portals;
  • And more.


The amount of apps and tools we use professionally has steadily increased over the past decades, with organizations using an average of 80 SaaS applications in 2020 compared to 8 in 2015. These internal tool builders focus on making your business more productive, your communication smoother, and your operations more transparent as a whole.


While there are dozens of applications available online, a lot of companies choose to build their own tools instead. In order to fit their specific processes but also to avoid paying for a feature, they can build themselves. 


With no-code technologies becoming the new norm, let’s take a look at why many innovative businesses turn to build their own internal tools without code. 



Why use a no-code platform for internal tools?


Why not assign a few developers and get them to build whatever internal tools you need? The question makes sense and will probably be asked by team members when discussing the topic. There are various benefits to using a no-code platform to build internal tools:


  1. Cost-effective: Surely you know how much you’re paying your developers, and coding internal tools from scratch can end up taking them quite some time. You won’t have this problem with no-code platforms, which non-developers can use to build their tools themselves.
  2. Less strain on developers: The time spent building internal apps could be spent working on your product. Unless you’re planning on hiring dedicated developers, this could become a massive distraction for your development team away from their core function. 
  3. Every stakeholder involved: With no-code, everyone can chime in and participate in building tools for their work, regardless of their technical know-how and limitations.
  4. Ownership: Each team can have full ownership of the tools they use. They know exactly what they need, how about they build it themselves?
  5. Adoption and satisfaction: Forcing applications and tools onto people never works out in terms of adoption. Empowering team members to build their own tools will ensure that it caters perfectly to their needs and that they’re happy about it.


Getting started with no-code platforms can feel overwhelming, however, and you might not know where to look. We put together a list of the top 8 no-code and low-code internal tool builders for you to decide which one would best fit your needs.




1. Appgyver


Appgyver is a no-code internal tool builder and a platform that enables users to build apps for all form factors, including mobile, desktop, browser, TV and more. Acquired by SAP.

Apgyver internal tool builder

Category: No-code


Pricing: Free for companies with less than $10 Million (USD) in revenue or funding


Pros:

  • Interesting pricing for smaller companies, ability to enjoy the product for free
  • Intuitive drag-and-drop interface


Cons:

  • Limited advanced possibilities for free plan users
  • No ready-to-use templates 
  • Some technical knowledge is required




2. Retool


Retool is a low-code internal tool builder for teams interested in creating custom apps, dashboards, admin panels, and more. Catered for developers, the platform allows technical teams to leverage templates to build powerful tools, faster.

Retool internal tool builder

Image Source: Retool




Category: Low-code


Pricing: Free plan, then starts at $10 per user/month


Pros

  • Drag-and-drop interface 
  • A lot of templates and integrations are available


Cons

  • Requires some coding and technical knowledge, targeted at developers
  • The steep learning curve for teams with limited technical knowledge
  • Some important features like white labelling are only included in the most expensive plan




3. DronaHQ 


DronaHQ is a cloud-based low-code internal tool builder. It leverages a drag-and-drop interface and pre-built UI components to make it easy for developers, product managers and business teams to build apps on existing data sources.

DronaHQ internal tool builder

Image source: DronaHQ



Category: Low-code


Pricing: Starts at $100 per month


Pros:

  • Advanced logic-building automation capabilities 
  • Highly personable (with custom code)


Cons:

  • Pricing: Custom domain and white label options are only available from $500/month
  • Some coding is required
  • Steep learning curve




4. Jet Admin


Jet Admin is a platform to build external and internal-facing applications, from admin panels and custom CRM to client and vendor portals. The internal tool builder also offers premade UI components and developers tools to extend app capabilities.

Jet Admin internal tool builder

Image Source: NoCode. Tech



Category: No-code


Pricing: Free plan, then starts at $24 / month


Pros:

  • Friendly drag-n-drop builder interface 
  • Built-in team collaboration workflows
  • Third-party integrations


Cons:

  • Pricing structure: You have to pay for every application viewer, not just editors
  • Limitations on the lower plans: Custom domain, app branding and custom components are not available




5. Internal


Internal is a platform helping teams build internal tools using their databases, APIs, spreadsheets, and business apps. Although it leverages a no-code interface, it allows developers to customize further if needed.

Internal  internal tool builder

Image Source: Internal.io



Category: No-code


Pricing: Free plan, then starts at $25/month


Pros:

  • Practical drag-and-drop interface 
  • All builder features are available even within the free plan


Cons:

  • Not a lot of templates are available
  • No custom domain feature




6. Budibase


Budibase is an open-source low-code platform and an internal tool builder, helping technical teams build apps for their workplace in minutes.

Budibase internal tool builder

Image Source: Budibase on Twitter



Category: Low-code


Pricing: Open-source (Free)


Pros:

  • No subscription cost
  • Ability to work alongside a vibrant community of users 
  • Exciting open-source project with a lot of possibilities


Cons:

  • Additional costs (hosting)
  • Low-code platform, but requires a sound technical background. Caters primarily to developers




7. Mendix


Mendix is a low-code platform catering to large enterprises. With a large set of tools covering the entire application development process, it helps larger teams work together despite technical disparities. 

Mendix internal tool builder

Category: Low-code


Pricing: Free plan for personal use, then starts at $60/month for 5 users


Pros:

  • Packed with enterprise-grade features (collaboration, security, integrations)
  • Two different development environments can communicate bi-directionally: a no-code one for business users and a low-code one for developers.


Cons:

  • Pricing: The standard plan to build department-wide business applications starts at $950/month
  • Some reviews highlight a user interface that could be improved




8. Softr


Softr is an all-round no-code platform allowing users to create everything from internal tools to client portals, marketplaces, websites and web apps. This includes tools, with available templates to create a custom Sales CRM Portal or an Event planning platform for example.


The platform’s native integration with Airtable allows for a real-time, two-way data sync, so collaborators can update projects seamlessly. On top of the server-side authentication powered by AWS, Softr allows for users to set custom permissions to manage access for different team members.

Softr internal tool builder

Category: No-code


Pricing: Free plan, then starts at $24 / mo


Pros:

  • Fully no-code: Easy yet powerful (no learning curve)
  • Highly security: permissions, google auth, SSO etc
  • A significant selection of templates to choose from
  • Large community of users to engage and communicate with 

Cons:

  • Limitations on the lower plans (Editing, Users count etc)
  • Not as flexible design-wise as other tools (however, everything is responsive out-of-the-box)



Conclusion


You now have a solid overview of no-code and low-code internal tool builders, and probably feel eager to start building. Before you do, remember some best practices:


  1. Map out your processes: Make sure what your requirements are before diving in.
  2. Involve your team: They know what they need and what’s required to do their job. 
  3. Test it out: Leverage the free trial options several platforms are offering to find the best fit before committing.
  4. Integrate away: Consider your existing stack and the available integrations at your disposal!


Now, time for the fun part! Enjoy building your internal tools, and remember to check out our other guides on how to get started with no-code to find inspiration in other areas of your business. 


by Thierry Maout