3 Takeaways from Atlassian Summit 2019 in Las Vegas

After Barcelona last fall the Summit came back to the US, this time to the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, NV – where it also will be held next year. The Summit drew about 4,000 attendee. As in previous years, the Expo featured an ever growing number of Atlassian Solution Partners and Add-on and App vendors. Atlassian itself was on center stage with variety of product booths.

Cloud is at the Center

Atlassian has been building for Cloud first for a few years now. Meanwhile it has become clear that it prepares for a future in which at least 80% of clients will be using their cloud products. They are already claiming now that 90% of new clients are on cloud. What does that mean for server or datacenter users? You will most likely not benefit from innovation as quickly as cloud users. Let’s take an example, Atlassian released a Cloud mobile app in 2016. While its initial releases were close to unusable, it has improved its companion app over time, which allows now at least to use basic workflows from your mobile device. If you have more advanced use cases such as Dashboards, Jira Service Desk Agent and Portal use, you need to rely on 3rd party solutions like Mobility for Jira. For Server, Atlassian announced 2 years ago an app, which still has not been released. A look at the beta version, indicates an app with even less features than the Cloud version. Clients that rely on Single Sign-on or dual factor authentication or need to use a Mobile Device Management Solution are out of luck. Also should you use any 3rd party add-ons (who doesn’t?) or non-trival transitions this app will not work for your organization. Back to the point of Cloud vs. Server, for server and datacenter clients the pace of innovation might be further slowing down.

Scale and widen its reach

Last year Atlassian acquired OpsGenie, which led to some confusion on the positioning of their own Jira Ops offering (which has now been discontinued) vs OpsGenie. This year Atlassian announced the acquisition of AgileCraft and renamed it Jira Align to scale the Atlassian tools in organizations with many different products and projects. It is unclear what of this already is covered by their own Portfolio Management add-on, Portfolio which version 3 has just been released. Scaling process and tools in an organization is complex but we can’t stop wondering how will these two offerings co-exist. Atlassian also started offering some of its own integrations which it traditionally left to 3rd parties, which it calls Jira Everywhere. The effort seems more like an experiment from small development teams within Atlassian that try to wire up popular cloud tools such as Salesforce, Google, and others. Atlassian’s track record is not great in this area, for their cloud product for example they still don’t support the most popular directory service (on-prem ADFS), which is just mind boggling. To be seen if these efforts will be deep enough and be sustained.

Price increases

Compared to other vendors in the space, Atlassian products have always been priced very competitively. After all Atlassian, doesn’t have a salesforce and applies a lot of its own productivity-increasing techniques and solutions. Over the last two years there have been price increases and also an attempt to segment its clients more, to eventually increase pricing. We have seen this with Server vs Datacenter. Obviously large enterprise clients rely on a more robust and more scalable system, which comes at a steeper price. Also yearly maintenance is equivalent to the initial purchasing price. A similar attempt is now being made for Cloud with Atlassian Premium. With Atlassian Premium customers get better SLAs, unlimited storage, and 24/7 enterprise support presumably for a higher price. In our opinion this should be part of the standard offering.

It is great to see how the Atlassian tool suite has grown and at what speed the ecosystem is evolving. In the past, Atlassian heavily relied on its ecosystem of tool vendors to implement functionality that Atlassian wasn’t able to integrate or didn’t deem a priority. Also, solution partner have taken the role of a non-existing salesforce and implementation team. Going forward, there might be some pressure on margins and as Atlassian pushes its clients toward the cloud, there might be just less work for solution partner to implement, maintain, and run these systems. It has to be seen how Atlassian can keep its ecosystem and investors happy at the same time.