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What are Retool's primary use cases and is there a prevalent use case among 80% of users?


Ex-Retool employee

Philosophically, you have data stores at your company and those data stores need to get exposed to two parties, like party number one is your users because it's got information about their settings and their profile, and their orders, and whatever your data model looks like. The way they interact with that data is mostly reading. If they're writing, you want it to be in a very specific way. There's some things they shouldn't have access to, stuff like that. 

On the other side of the universe, you've got your internal team, and it's the same data, the same database, the same table, but they want to do very different things with it, and these are the two kinds of applications that get built in the universe, broadly speaking. The former is well understood. The latter is not, and has very different priorities. That's the genesis of this whole category.

I don't think people understand that maybe half of the software that's being written in the world is the internal stuff.

The main use case is like, "I need to build something on top of a production database or set of APIs on top of a production database that lets me work with my internal data." That's like 80% of what is going on. There's different forms of that. There's a customer support team who needs a tool to let them refund orders or look up customer data. There's a use case where a delivery team needs a dashboard on a map with data points on it. There's a use case where a sales team needs a particular review of their data and needs to be able to update stuff using the Salesforce API.

There's so many different things, but you can really bring it back down to this concept of, "There's some sort of data source. I need a UI on top of it." 

You can get into the details of the differences between those. But I think they're sufficiently similar, that it's worth bucketing them together. You can break it down by what team the tool is built for. Is it support? Is it operations? Is it marketing? 

You can break it down by what type of data the tool's using. Is it my production database? Is it Salesforce or Stripe or is it some third-party API? 

That’s what most of it comes down to. Over the past year or so, Retool's been expanding a little more into workflows—automation without a human being in the loop—mobile apps for field service, and databases now as well. The core product was and is the admin panel and dashboard type of internal app.

Find this answer in Ex-Retool employee on the enterprise internal tools opportunity
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