I run an agency that builds internal tools to SMEs and startups. At a high level, I'm usually replacing spreadsheets or manual labor. Occasionally, the tools I build replace a couple of apps in a client's stack (making them redundant).
This article: No code, just a Coda doc: How Squared Away saves a thousand hours and $100k a year got me thinking a lot more on how tools like Coda and Airtable can replace entire stacks.
Modern B2B SaaS feels like: pick your platform, connect your APIs.
Curious to hear thoughts on this.
There's an old saying about if you want to build a new business SaaS app, just look at how companies are using spreadsheets and you'll find things that could be turned into an app.
I was talking with Coda's head of product and design Lane Shackleton on our SaaS Radio show recently, and he'd mentioned something similar where people build essentially advanced versions of their spreadsheets in Coda, then automate stuff with buttons and more. Definitely better than either manually updating spreadsheets (and, shudder, emailing them back and forth), or investing in a full custom app for your business.
Yes, it's a little bit paradoxical how NoCode on some levels enables SaaS businesses (for niches), but on some levels actually replaces them. I believe it's much better for a small company to build their own custom CMS in Airtable, Coda or Notion rather that pick one of the million SaaS out there. I have a side hobby to recreate famous SaaS companies in Notion, I have built Linear so far and Hubspot is next!
@albertoro I'd be curious to hear how you help your clients evaluate the ROI of an internal tool. I think every company wants to automate ops and increase productivity, but it's quite hard to quantify.
I agree. It's the thesis behind my company as well.
I think it's most surprising and ironic how many technical managers have to resort to extremely manual and time-consuming processes in order to manage teams building extremely automated and efficient products.
We did a poll and found that folks are spending on average an hour a day doing this kind of manual management work... 5 hours/week...250 hours/year... Avg Eng Manager makes $134k a year or $67/hr... basically spending nearly $17,000 on manual work a year.
I tweeted this some time ago:. It spoke about how custom code is going to be relegated to a small part of any organisation's software stack.
My day job is to help people choose the right software for their business (see navinpareek.com). And I see first hand how putting together a bunch of SaaS tools is automating complex workflow at a fraction of the cost of traditional SAP, Salesforce, etc. Let alone the cost of custom development.
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