Atlassian moves to integrate its Trello acquisition

Fast charging Aussie developer tool company Atlassian made news when it acquired Trello a couple of months ago. Today they’re pulling the trigger on some product synergies.

Atlassian IPO Jay Simons Scott Farquhar Mike Cannon-Brookes
Atlassian

I’m a big fan of Atlassian. I first got to know the company through a couple of channels -- I had developer friends who used their various tools and I’d heard much of the “Aussie co-founders take their company state-side” theme.

It was a year or so later that I bumped into Atlassian’s U.S. president, Jay Simons, at some event or another. Simons and I hit it off immediately -- helped by the fact that he, like myself, is a runner. We went on a bunch of early morning San Francisco runs, he introduced me to this tiny little fitness startup, Strava (who would have thought!) and we talked lots about Atlassian.

And there was much to talk about -- here was a company that had been started on a  credit card in Sydney, had scaled to real size without having a sales team and had this incredibly passionate user base. The fact that they’d also managed to gain marketshare in the U.S., without losing their Aussie style, was an added advantage.

Fast forward a few years and Atlassian is no longer an Austro-American startup -- the company is publicly listed, has grown hugely and is very much a powerhouse in the developer tool space. An indication of this (if any was needed) came a couple of months ago when Atlassian announced that it was acquiring famed project management vendor, Trello, for close to half a billion dollars. The acquisition made lots of sense since both internally and externally Trello and Atlassian seem very much like-minded organizations.

So it was always going to be interesting to see what would come of the acquisition. And we didn’t have to wait long with the announcement today of what Atlassian is calling “Power-Ups” for its JIRA, Confluence, HipChat and BitBucket products.

These integrations are designed to allow business and technical teams to gain real-time perspective on the work happening across the entire organization in one unified workflow -- without the hassle of hopping between apps. In essence it’s a marriage of the project management, and project planning aspects of development and, as such, makes total sense. In terms of combined functionality, teams can attach issues, pages, and pull requests directly to Trello cards, and surface key information like statuses, updates, and priorities right on their Trello boards.

This is interesting in and of itself, but all the more so given the intense competition occurring in the broader enterprise collaboration space -- Slack’s Enterprise Grid, Google’s new Chat and Meet tools and Microsoft Teams are all good examples of a land grab occurring in the space. Increasingly, broader functionality and tie-in’s to disparate solutions will mark differentiation within this area -- that’s where Atlassian is coming from with this news.

It’s also a big efficiency driver. While it might seem inconsequential, hopping between technical development tools and project planning apps is inefficient and a time sink. By combining these two paradigm, which are, after all, two sides of the same coin, Atlassian will deliver greater efficiencies. Atlassian has different integration offerings for its different products but, overall, they’re all aimed at delivering developer and broader team productivity.

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