In order to create a highly sophisticated product, the foundation must be set to ensure that the environment of creation is benefiting the creation of the product, instead of being a detriment. Optimizing the pace of these engineering products is what allows each firm to release cutting edge technology, well, while it's still considered cutting edge.
One thing used to ensure that an environment of creation is being fostered is the use of internal tools. At Kiwi, for example, every engineer spends a portion of their time developing a laser focused tool necessary for the products we deliver to our customers. This iterative exercise ensures that our processes are continually growing internally, which is imperative for Kiwi given the pre-existing difficulties in creating motion software.
Over time, we realized that the standard tools offered in the market cannot fulfill all of our engineering needs, so developing these tools internally did not only increase efficiency, but it was ultimately necessary. Investing in internal tools has already had a ripple effect throughout our processes; instead of having to go back to our database, copying values, and using an arbirtary graphing tool, we have created our own internal tool that can search our entire database and extract direct insight from any data point we want.
This single process is an example of how internal tools can help create exceptional value in exchange for a very small investment of our time and energy.
Another example (I've attached screenshots below), of an internal tool we use day in and day out, is a tool we utilize for Fourier Analysis on time series motion data. It was very lightly built so that whenever we need to derive other metrics from the data we can simply edit a few lines in our code base to visualize anything we desire. In comparison, it used to take hours to search through our database (since time series data is hard to query), find the specific data point we're interested in, transform the data, and then visualize it in some sort of graphing tool.
To sum up, investing in internal tools is pivotal to remain cutting edge. It has three main positive effects:
Who knows, maybe your internal tool can transform into a way to monetize your business as a consumer facing tool. There was so much value in Kiwi's motion dashboard used to categorize and track motions, that our consumers wanted a version too.
So with that, we provided them with access to our motion dashboard across all levels of our product offerings, including spring - Kiwi's affordable solution to motion recognition.