The inside of a company is a misleading market.
I find it difficult to think of any analytics products in the last 20 years that didn't start as internal tools.
What’s your opinion on internal tools in the first place? Would you argue they should not exist in the first place and companies should change their practices to work with standard issue solutions? Or do you think they serve there purpose well and are just a cost of doing business?
I wrote something to a similar effect recently (https://open.substack.com/pub/mirdata/p/data-companies-and-restaurants-so).
What many don't understand about data software is that there is an underlying raw material there: data
A good example I recall is talking to Visa. They make X $ on each transaction. Each transaction generates data. While they can deploy and over deploy tons of infrastructure around that data to slice it in infinite types of ways, it does not really effect the X that they make on each transaction. Yes, it might help them make more transactions. But unit economics remain the same. Which means that at a certain point, additional data tooling is a net negative for their EBIDTA, and not worth it.
I think a lot of tech companies chase infinitely for that ideal data universe, but rarely link their buying choices to the unit of data. Instead purchases are linked in headcount. And headcount in data is not very transparent. People can be moved from Data teams to Marketing or Sales.
Your comment about startups being created from internal tools at consultancies or professional services teams is so true!
In my both my current role and at a past company, the technology was created in-house at a consulting organization and then spun off into its own product, and in both cases, the adoption has been phenomenal!
One interesting aspect that I've noticed, is that initially we attracted the type of customer that likes to work with consultancies, which makes sense, as the tools were initially built for this specific audience.