No longer a little vendor from Down Under, Atlassian continues to innovate

From humble beginnings, Atlassian has grown to be a global phenomenon. News from the Atlassian Summit this week shows how.

Atlassian IPO

Atlassian staff cheer as the company debuts on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

Credit: Atlassian

There's not a huge amount of love lost between Australia and New Zealand. From this Kiwi's perspective, the fact that we seem to beat them in every sport that matters and that they're always keen to call our successful actors, rock bands and racehorses their own would lead readers to assume that I find it hard to celebrate successful Aussie tech. Nothing could be further form the truth, however, and I've been a big fan of Atlassian for a very long time.

Founded in 2002 down in Sydney, Atlassian was created by Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, two then-students of the University of New South Wales in Sydney. Given the post dot-com crash cooling of financial markets, and the immature (at that time) state of the technology industry in Australia, the pair had little option but to bootstrap the company for several years, financing the startup with a $10,000 credit card debt.

Roll on only a few years, and in July 2010, Atlassian raised $60 million in venture capital from Accel Partners. That funding was well spent: At its IPO at the end of last year, Atlassian had a market capitalization approaching $5 billion.

Of course, being a publicly listed technology company means that the markets expect you to continue growing revenue every year, which, in turn, introduces pressure to innovate from a product perspective. The Atlassian Summit, being held this week in Silicon Valley, is an interesting proof point for Atlassian's pace of innovation.

The company is rolling out new features for most of its different developer tools, as well as some new go-to-market approaches which are also aimed at increasing the company's market share. A rundown of all the news:

Bitbucket betting on software development in the cloud

Bitbucket, Atlassian's web-based solution for version control, is betting that the future of development will, at least in part, be based in the cloud. Atlassian is announcing the general availability of Bitbucket Pipelines, a tool that allows developers to build, test and deploy from within Bitbucket's Cloud user interface.

In addition, new integrations with Bugsnag, Google Cloud Platform, LaunchDarkly, Puppet, Raygun, Rollbar, Snyk and SourceClear are being rolled out (disclosure: I am an investor in Raygun).

But don't forget the stuff still happening behind the firewall

At the same time that Atlassian is rolling out tools for cloud-based development, the company is not forgetting the huge number of existing organizations that work primarily behind the firewall. Two years ago the company launched Data Center, an offering of Atlassian components for use behind the firewall within an organization's own infrastructure.

Atlassian is furthering its investment in these self-hosted tools and is announcing Amazon Web Services as a supported platform, and the addition of SAML 2.0 for single sign-on across all Atlassian Data Center products. In addition, Atlassian announced that it will extend the Data Center portfolio with the release of HipChat Data Center, an on-premises messaging application.

JIRA digs the knife in to help desk vendors

Atlassian and help desk vendor Zendesk have always been good friends. That may change with the announcement that Atlassian is going all-out to prove its own Service Desk product as a broad internal and external customer support tool.

In moves that look to be aimed squarely at Zendesk and Desk.com, another help desk vendor, Atlassian is announcing new features including:

  • Increased support for customer organizations so end users within the same company can share and collaborate on each other's tickets.
  • Better support for branding and customization of emails, including localization support and fine-grained control over notifications so that customers can present branded support communications to their customers.
  • Enhanced knowledge integration, including an embedded agent view of knowledge and additional knowledge usage and effectiveness reports. 
  • New ecosystem integrations in the external support arena, such as support over social media, CRM integration and telephony support that are all central to providing exceptional customer service. New integration partners include Bomgar, Hootsuite, join.me and Splunk.

Confluence climbs all over content

Confluence, Atlassian's team collaboration offering, is being deepened to become an editor for dynamic content. The new editing experience within Confluence works with lots of different content types and third-party services. Teams can collaborate across text, video, PDF documents, Office files, etc.

In addition, Pages in Confluence can contain collaboration from external files as well as live data from third-party applications. Examples of third-party services supported by the Confluence editor include Salesforce, Google Drive, Evernote, Microsoft Office and many others.

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