Atlassian announced a trove of news at the company's AtlasCamp 2016 in Barcelona this morning across its product suite. Atlassian CTO Sri Viswanath put the announcements into context. Viswanath, who joined the company in January after running high-scale cloud infrastructure at Groupon and past leadership roles at Sun Microsystems and VMware, brings both enterprise and consumer-facing experience to Atlassian in helping develop a completely distributed service-oriented stack.
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"It's a fascinating time in tech. There are so many disruptions happening, and the rate of change is increasing!" said Viswanath. "My job as CTO is to be able to stay ahead of these opportunities so we can ride those waves."
At AtlasCamp the company announced Connect, a third-party integration architecture for add-ons in Jira Service Desk, a beta of the new Bitbucket Pipelines service for cloud-based continuous delivery, newly open-sourced initiatives like RADAR, and native mobile apps for JIRA software and
Atlassian Confluence. Viswanath said he sees an opportunity to strengthen Atlassian's traditional "behind the firewall" business, while accelerating in the cloud and building a platform that can scale 10x larger than where it is today.
"In addition to creating an enterprise-scale cloud platform, we're also heavily investing in mobile which has become increasingly important to our customers as we extend beyond traditional software developers into business teams like in HR, marketing, and finance."
JIRA Service Desk and Atlassian's Cloud Strategy
Connect for Jira Service Desk is a way to build and embed add-ons within the help desk user interface (UI) and workflows to augment service desk functionality and ticketing, and tie it in with other business processes. Viswanath talked about several different use cases for Connect within Jira Service Desk.
He gave examples such as integration with data monitoring services like Splunk to quickly reference incident information, creating IT help desk requests based on incoming voice calls from a business voice-over-IP (VoIP) service, and attaching company data from a customer relationship management (CRM) platform, or integrating asset management tools into Service Desk workflows to display asset data from within the agent interface.
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"Software products like Service Desk deliver the most value when they are tightly integrated into your team's workflows and help them get their job done without the limitations or boundaries of any specific technology or application," said Viswanath. "In today's world, a team might rely on multiple cloud applications in their day to day jobs. An IT team might use Atlassian as a Service Desk, New Relic for monitoring, and PagerDuty for notifications."
Atlassian showed off a few early adopter Connect add-ons at AtlasCamp, including ones built by Whispir, Avisi, Cloud MGR, and Atlassian partner companies Appfire, Riada, and RefinedWiki. In the smartphone demo integration you see here, Whispir is sending a simplified text message request form that becomes a Jira Service Desk ticket.
Viswanath's larger plan for Service Desk is to build a greater mindshare with IT departments to drive sales for all Atlassian products. He said the product's main development will focus on "smarts, ease of use, and ecosystem." The ecosystem part of that vision ties into the Atlassian Marketplace and the company's larger strategy to extend and customize its products, and deliver them via the cloud.
"The shift to the cloud provides new business opportunity for our Marketplace vendors as many users are looking for integrated tools that help them be more productive in their new environment," said Viswanath. "Many vendors in our ecosystem sell both server and cloud add-ons, and they're seeing exponential success in net new cloud bookings as more and more of our customers shift to the cloud."
Beyond Jira Service Desk and the company's cloud strategy, Viswanath said Atlassian has a lot more ideas in the hopper. Atlassian's HipChat collaboration app has become a sandbox for much of the company's work with machine learning and predictive analytics to give business users richer context within the chat experience. It's part of a concept called ChatOps, and it goes far beyond the chat bots trend.
"Messaging companies need to democratize what has become the bot experience," said Viswanath. "The key to building a successful messaging platform is managing signal to noise. It requires immersive, interactive experiences directly inside of chat with actions, not relying on archaic command line integrations."
Viswanath said this will happen not with bots, but through chat-based apps. Atlassian is steering into this shift through its HipChat Connect framework, which allowa developers to create free integrations listed in the Atlassian Marketplace. The ultimate idea, he said, is to bring messaging and machines together in ChatOps conversations that simplify teamwork and turn conversation-driven collaboration into the norm.
"HipChat is taking messaging and bots beyond command lines to applications that are built and run inside of chat," said Viswanath. "Chat is about more than sending words and file links back and forth. Technical users have figured this out. We're making it possible for non-technical users as well. It's the democratization of the messaging experience. Consumers and business teams live inside of chat. In the case of HipChat, we see teams logged in for eight hours a day. The chat window is becoming the browser for many business teams."
On a wider note, Viswanath said he's excited about the potential of augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) across every field, from consumer gaming to healthcare and enterprise businesses.
"I believe AR will be mainstream in a few years with platforms available for different applications. It will create a huge marketplace similar to the growth we saw in mobile," said Viswanath. "I am also excited about AI. It's becoming easier than ever to build smarter applications using data. We are seeing a number of open source initiatives from Google, Facebook and open AI initiative and others. We already have many applications like Siri, Google Now, and Cortana that are intelligent. We are also seeing the marketing buzz around autonomous cars. My six-year-old daughter keeps telling me that she won't have to drive at all!"