A very subjective view on a change of strategy
Preface: It is not so easy to identify a solution that fits a customer’s needs. If and when you succeeded by establishing a Jira/Confluence/Bitbucket environment that works perfectly well, it is even more frustrating if something happens like it did some days ago, knowing that the customer will never accept that. From many comments I read throughout the last days, it seems that this frustration is shared by many, so I decided to write this small and very subjective article.
Jira, Confluence, Bitbucket — tools used by many. Several companies I’ve met so far (including some DAX30 companies) use these tools for various purposes. They could be purchased at the best price with a 10-user license, which made them very interesting for small teams and small application areas. They could check if their use cases could be mapped with these tools. Once it became clear that the tools met the needs, they could be successively expanded. The usability is quite good, the administration is usually relatively stress-free, the flexibility pretty high. In addition, over time an ecosystem has developed that provides many additional functions, so that over time a system could be built that exactly met the needs.
Atlassian has grown over the years because this was the case.
Because a few days ago, the company announced that it would switch completely to cloud solutions and raise prices at the same time. Existing customers with a server license can apparently continue to use it for some time, then they fall out of support. Only the DataServer edition will be available — at least for a longer period of time, but who knows? — will be continued. In terms of price, however, this will be considerably more expensive, presumably to “motivate” the switch to the cloud in this way too.
I wonder if Atlassian is aware of the impact they cause. Jira, Confluence, Bitbucket usually contain confidential data. At a time when data protection is becoming increasingly important and, especially in the EU, both the legal situation and the jurisdiction are setting clear guidelines in this regard, should all current customers switch to the cloud? Switch to AWS hosting with systems that often contain sensitive personal or confidential enterprise data and are therefore particularly worth protecting?
This is all the more tragic as many like to work with these solutions (I do as well), even though there are use cases that potentially can be better handled with other tool suites. Comparing, for instance, the usability of an RTC with that of a Jira (from installation to administration to application), Jira is clearly ahead.
The users who maintain Confluence wikis or organize team tasks with Jira and who are now facing an uncertain future — with the question whether their use cases can be mapped at all and in what quality with alternative systems. Especially large companies tend to offer “one for all” solutions through their IT departments. Even though there are many alternative solutions — often open source — that can replace large parts of the application functionality, it is questionable if these solutions will make it into the IT blueprints of the companies. This is all the more true as we are living in difficult times and many companies are just starting to make savings that also affect the IT departments.
Will Atlassian be successful with this strategy? I don’t know, and to be honest: I hope not. This step reveals a hubris that is reminiscent of the Roman Empire — which, as we know, overstretched. Other companies before Atlassian have tried this and had to leave feathers. It seems that Atlassian, being big, considers its products important and unreplaceable enough to be able to cope with a few lost customers. It remains to be seen whether they are right with this assessment. Destroying trust should be expensive.