In the vast landscape of software development, there's a category of software that often goes unnoticed, yet it's integral to the smooth functioning of businesses across the globe.
This software, known as operations software, is the unsung hero that powers internal processes and workflows, enabling businesses to operate efficiently and effectively. Whether you call it "Admin Panel" or "Operations Software", we're deeply invested in streamlining your business operations.
Let's delve into what operations software is, its unique characteristics, its role within your infrastructure, and the challenges that come with its development.
Understanding operations Software
Operations software can be succinctly defined as custom-built software designed to optimize and systematize the unique business processes of a team or an individual. This definition encapsulates three key concepts:
- Customized for Unique Business Scenarios: Unlike a generic Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product, operations software is tailored to meet the specific needs of a unique set of users, such as a company's internal team. It's designed to model workflows that are not universally applicable across different industries or organizations.
- Designed for Efficiency: The primary goal of operations software is to save time for its users. It achieves this by automating or streamlining processes that would otherwise be time-consuming if performed manually. The user interfaces of operations software are typically designed with productivity in mind, prioritizing functionality over aesthetic appeal.
- Data-Centric: Operations software is built around data. It enforces rules about how a workflow should be executed, validates data inputs and outputs, and prevents human errors. It often has privileged access to multiple data sources, making access controls and auditing crucial components of its design.
Operations Software: What It Is and What It Isn't
To better understand operations software, let's consider a couple of examples:
Example 1: Forest Admin's Workspace – The dream tool to manage your daily operations. This drag and drop feature enables you to create workflows at will in order to ease your workload. The rule is simple: one workflow, one workspace. It is tailored to the unique needs of each business, saving a considerable amount of manual work every week.
Example 2: Forest Admin's Data Management Tool – Our data management tool is another example of operations software. It provides a simple interface for managing and manipulating data, integrating with various external tools, and streamlining a company's data management processes.
Once the initial operation software has been auto-generated, Forest Admin enables you to tailor its functionality to match your precise needs, making the tool adaptable for a wide array of business applications.
Example 3: Forest Admin's Dashboard – Forest Admin's dashboard is a prime example of operations software. It provides a comprehensive view of a business's data, enabling teams to manage their operations effectively. The dashboard is tailored to the unique needs of each business, saving a considerable amount of manual work every week.
In terms of integration capabilities, Forest Admin can be installed in two ways: connecting it to an existing application built on frameworks like Node.js, Django, Laravel, Ruby on Rails, or linking it directly to one or multiple data sources – check all of our integrations on our integration page.
However, not all custom software falls under the umbrella of operations software. For instance, a public-facing e-commerce website, while being a complex piece of custom software, is not operations software.
Similarly, a widely-used SaaS product like Salesforce, despite being integral to sales operations, doesn't fit the definition of operations software as it doesn't conform to the specific business processes of its users by default.
The Role of Operations Software in Your Infrastructure
Operations software typically plays a supporting role within an organization, working alongside software that serves an external audience.
It's often deployed within your secure network, where it can access the same data sources and API resources available to your public-facing application.
However, it's usually protected by your organization's Single Sign-On (SSO) services and may only be available on a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
The Challenge of Prioritizing Operations Software
Despite the clear benefits of operations software, it can be challenging to prioritize its development. This is primarily due to the costs associated with building custom software using traditional methods. The complexity of traditional software development, combined with the scarcity and high cost of software developers, makes the development of operations software an expensive proposition.
Moreover, the competition for resources between developing public-facing applications (which generate revenue) and operations software (which improves productivity, leading to cost savings) often results in the latter being deprioritized. This is especially true when the number of internal users is significantly smaller than the number of external users.
Redefining the Economics of Software Development
Given these challenges, it's crucial to rethink the economics of software development. One approach is to empower more people within the organization to build software. This could involve training non-technical staff to use "low code" or "no code" tools to create solutions for their own problems.
Another approach is to make existing software developers more efficient. This could involve adopting new technologies and tools that streamline the software development process. At Forest Admin, we're committed to providing such tools and technologies that make the development of operations software faster and more efficient.
Embracing Operations Excellence Through Software
Investing in operations software has the potential to transform your business operations. Not only does it lead to increased productivity and efficiency, but it also allows your team to focus on what they do best. At Forest Admin, we believe in the power of operations software to solve the "small" problems that often get overlooked, yet have a significant impact on your business operations.
We'd love to hear about your experiences with operations software. Have you ever faced challenges in building or supporting operations software? What strategies have you adopted to overcome these challenges?
Curious to try Forest Admin?