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Managing a 20-people business internally with Bubble: is it a good idea?

Hello,

I’ve read the very good article by the Bubble team about the internal tool done by Bubble (with Bubble) to manage a lot of internal processes. Article here: What is Dogfooding? And Why It’s Still Important for Tech - Bubble

To manage internal processes, I have to choose between “a set of SaaS softwares” or “building an app on Bubble”.
My team needs several small tools, but not necessarily with many features:

  • a tool to manage expense reports,
  • a tool to manage the schedule of our subcontractors,
  • a very simple tool to follow our current quotes,
  • a simple tool to manage customer support requests

What do you think of the idea of building everything with Bubble?
Instead of signing up for several different SaaS tools, with which data will be more difficult to synchronize…

Have any of you ever built a complete internal tool with Bubble for managing many different parts of a business ?

In our case, we are 20 people, and we are not a startup (we do not grow 1000% per year!!).

Thanks for your help!

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Hello @ydd welcome to the community!

All of the functionality that you kindly shared can be handled easily by Bubble :+1:t2:

Enjoy your journey!

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Hello @cmarchan,

Yes I have a little bit of experience with Bubble so I know this is feasible with Bubble.

But my concern is more on the management of the project, the time to build features, the maintenance time to solve bugs, etc.

To ask in a different way: why don’t all people build their internal tools with Bubble, instead of renting SaaS softwares…?

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Hi again @ydd !

I cannot claim to know if folks are using Bubble widely for solutions to internal operations. As you well put it … Bubble can handle it easily but to create the app would require all the good stuff that is commonly known (functionality scope, building, etc etc … all the nine yards).

But seems that is happening more and more … take a look at this recent tweet (commented also by another valued member of this community @rico.trevisan)

As for using other app building platforms (that declare themselves or not as app builders) for business process solutions I think that all of these options are a wonderful thing with technology democratizing access to us as citizen builders. :grinning:

I would enjoy either route as I am sure you will likely do so as well :+1:t2:

Last comment:

Among the wider known “option 2” platforms like Airtable … there is a hidden gem called Podio (@Jici care to chime in?)

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Interesting, thanks for your insights!

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There are some pros and cons to consider in either way:

PROS for signing up with multiple SaaS softwares:

  • bugs are fixed by them, not you
  • chances are that those tools are better developed since there are teams that work full time improving their products
  • your eggs aren’t in one basket; if one tool crashes, others remain.
  • probably way less expensive in the short run (few years, depending on how much you’d invest by build it all)

CONS for signing up with multiple SaaS softwares:

  • like you said, those tools won’t necessarily be compatible with one another so you’ll have to find ways to make it all work (huge drawback in my experience)
  • universal tools are… well universal… chances are that there will be missing features you wish you had. And except sending a feature request, there isn’t much you can do about it.

PROS for building your own universal tool for your business:

  • everything’s centralized; you can cut by many folds the steps to get through your workflows (a very big win)
  • need a new feature? BAM you build it!
  • if you happen to develop something that other businesses would pay for, then your tools could even bring incomes. Or if your tools is so efficient, you could offer to manage other similar businesses’ workflows

CONS for building your own universal tool for your business:

  • it will most likely take twice as much time and effort to develop than you expect
  • may cost many dollars (time) to produce
  • when there’s a bug, you’re on your own
  • if you don’t take time (perhaps a lot) to plan your data structure and interface, you may end up with a crappy software your team will hate, wondering why you didn’t use existing solutions that might have worked just fine.

If you end up building the thing yourself (my opinion is you probably will, since you already tasted Bubble), please please please do please moderate the urge of starting to build too soon. Plan every step, every feature so that building the app will be like following a lego step-by-step manual. The building stage shouldn’t be mixed with the innovation/creative stage.

Also, while Bubble is very reliable, hiccups do happen. You want to depend upon other businesses as less as possible. My advice is to have a few automated workflows that export data (CSV or JSON) every day so if, one day, you hear on the news that Amazon’s servers were bombarded and all your data is gone, you can still survive and begin to work toward a new solution.

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Agree with all points @julienallard1 ! :+1:

All great answers so far. I have built an app for internal use on Bubble and it is amazing what you can do. So I cannot recommend it enough. Plus you’ll learn an awesome new skill while working through the app.

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Thanks for your detailed explanations @julienallard1.

That reassures me in building the first blocks!

It seems that the very standard way route today is to go with all these Saas: you take Pipedrive, and then you see that some employees need a to-do list, so you take Trello. And then you see that Pipedrive doesn’t deal well with products, so you take Shopify or Woocommerce/etc. And then you need a Gantt chart so you take Airtable or Clickup. Etc.
I may make sense for a company of 300 people with teams working separately, but maybe not for a 20-people company.

Yes that’s what I feel intuitively as well. Good to hear it!

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@ydd - to directly answer your question - yes it is a good idea. Provided that enough people on your team get familiar and comfortable building on bubble. And you’ve received some great advice in earlier replies.

You are quite an early thinker. In a few years, many more small businesses will be building their own internal tools to solve the same issues you are facing. Stitching multiple SaaS offerings is not fun and their generality doesn’t suit every business. I think you are onto something that will become a competitive advantage in the years ahead.

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Bubble competes with spreadsheets? I can do a lot more with bubble than spreadsheets.

@gnelson

All these tools are superb! :+1:t2: