Atlassian doubles down on ITSM - announces launch of Jira Service Management

Derek du Preez Profile picture for user ddpreez November 9, 2020
Developer and teamwork tools vendor Atlassian sees opportunity not just in the ITSM market, but broader service management in the enterprise.

Image of Atlassian logo
(Image sourced via Atlassian website)

Following a number of recent acquisitions in the field, developer and teamwork tools vendor Atlassian is today announcing the launch of a new ITSM product suite - Jira Service Management. The move signals the company's ambitions not just in IT service management, but enterprise service management more broadly. 

Atlassian appears to be following closely the path of ServiceNow, which began its journey in the ITSM market but has since broadened its scope to all organisation workflows. Similarly to ServiceNow, Atlassian believes that it has a stake in the field of service management because its product is tied together by one underlying platform, Jira. 

Not only this, but the way in which companies are adopting agile working practices and being driven by high levels of software development internally, Atlassian believes it has a strong proposition given its stronghold in development teams. It hopes that by tying internal development teams more closely to other departments with a service management platform - starting with IT operations - it can expand its scope and growth. 

We spoke with Atlassian's head of product for IT, Edwin Wong, about the launch of Jira Service Management, where he said that the company hopes that its expansion in this market will lead it to $5 billion in revenue. Wong said: 

The heart and soul of our missions is really thinking about unleashing potential for all teams. We started in the software space by thinking about how we can help teams who create software become more successful, become more agile, become more effective in this day and age. What we've seen though, as we've continued to evolve that journey, there's a massive opportunity to expand our horizon beyond software teams. 

Atlassian began on this path back in 2013 when it launched Jira Service Desk, which now has 25,000 customers. Since then it has acquired Opsgenie for incident service management, Mindville for its configuration management database (CMDB), and Halp for an internal help desk solution that sits on top of Slack. 

What's in the release?

The newly released Jira Service Management suite is a culmination of all these efforts and includes: 

  • Modern incident management - which includes on-call scheduling, alerting, incident swarming, as well as deeper integrations with Jira Software, Bitbucket, and confluence. Atlassian claims that this feature allows for companies to seamlessly orchestrate incident resolution processes that span development and IT operations teams. 

  • Change management, built for DevOps - the suite aims to provide teams with better insights and contextual information around changes to services. It includes automated change risk assessments, advanced approval workflows, and integrations with popular CI/CD tools. 

  • A new UI - Atlassian has redesigned the agent experience to better categorize service requests, incidents, problems and changes. New features include bulk ticket actions and the use of machine learning to categorize similar tickets. 

Commenting on the release, Wong said the move has been driven by customer demand: 

It really comes back to our belief and our approach for tying Dev and Ops together. What we are seeing is that many of our customers today are looking at Atlassian as the de-facto way to really manage agile work, especially in development. And then they're coming to us with a need and saying, ‘hey, how do I tie that together?'. I think that's really resonating.

We have over 180,000 customers that are dependent on us to become more agile in many ways. So bringing some of these philosophies around working in small batches, delivering value to customers quickly, breaking down silos, automating when you can - we think those are exactly the principles we can expand and bring into more of the IT and ITSM world. We think that's a massive opportunity and really speaks to bringing this notion of bringing Dev and IT teams together. 

The beauty of all this, I think, is that we enable all this through a single platform - and that is Jira - which really gives you this notion of a true end to end approach that really allows you to bring Dev and Ops together. 

What the future holds

As noted above, Atlassian is treading a similar path to ServiceNow in that it recognises opportunity beyond the world of ITSM and in other areas of enterprise service management. ServiceNow is seeing success in the word of ‘rethinking workflows' more broadly and has benefited from having one underlying platform for companies to expand their use. Atlassian recognises the potential of Jira in this area too and Wong notes that customers are already taking it upon themselves to identify broader use cases already. He said: 

We've seen many of our customers look at the service management capability and say ‘hey, we can apply this to many other use cases'. One thing we have seen is that with the use of JIRA Service Desk today, and now Jira Service Management moving forward, is taking the same practices and same capabilities and applying those to different use cases. So we've already seen many of our customers spinning up hundreds of these service desks across the business - anything from facilities, to HR, to marketing, and finance. We see this as an immense opportunity for us and we'll continue to look at it very closely. 

Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Atlassian believes that its stake in the development team and its facilitation of agile working provides it with a good opportunity in spreading the Jira platform more broadly across the enterprise. However, Wong also argues that compared to the likes of ServiceNow and others in the market, Atlassian can also compete on pricing. He said: 

We are also hearing a lot of our customers taking a hard look at their investments in ITSM. There's a high degree of cost sensitivity that we're hearing some of our customers talk about. There's a bit more of an urgency to actually understand what is the value we are delivering and how quickly can we deliver it? That has always been one of Atlassian's strong points and playbooks - the ability to deliver a cost effective solution to get the value really, really fast. 

My take

This is a very clear signal of intent by Atlassian and it is being boosted by the current COVID-19 pandemic, where distributed teams and organisations are thinking about how they can more effectively enable teamwork and are rethinking how they operate. That's not to say that Atlassian's route to substantial success in this market doesn't hold challenges. It needs to move at pace to keep up with other established vendors in this market and it needs to be thinking now about those use cases beyond ITSM. And whilst those use cases are undoubtedly there, they're not always the easiest to communicate, given the broad scope of ‘the art of the impossible' with service management and workflow redesign. Atlassian needs to be front and centre in terms of leading the way for customers to showcase the platform's capabilities, highlighting customer success and working closely with partners to expand. 

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