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If you take a quick glance at Atlassian's newest product, Insight, you might think "Oh, asset management, I understand." That quick judgment is just as much of a mistake as seeing Jira and thinking "Oh, a bug tracker, I understand!" You would be dead wrong on both fronts and truly missing the power behind these tools.

It's true that out-of-the-box Insight provides software for asset and configuration management. And yes, It is built on the Jira platform and easily integrates with Jira Service Management. But the real power comes in when you realize how flexible Insight is and how it can be used to model anything, including assets, logical services, people, contracts...whatever!

So with that in mind, I want to walk you through a use case other than asset management. Let's take a look at modeling people.

Insight for People

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Most of the work done in an organization involves people and the complex organizational structures in which they work. In Jira, we have the concept of people (Jira Users) along with Groups and Rolesand that's it! Most organizations have all of these complex relationships mapped out in Active Directory/LDAP.  Through the power of Insight, you can bring all of this rich organizational information into Jira.  

It starts with creating a Schema—either by importing it or by starting from scratch—that represents all of the information you want to expose in Jira. Now, imagine being able to use all of this information while working through Jira issues. Some ways you might use this information include:

  • Using the organizational reporting structure in the approval process. For example, "This issue must be approved by the boss of the reporter."
  • Tracking information and knowing the data are accurate, instead of creating a bunch of custom fields to track  information and hope they get filled out properly.
  • Opening up a whole new world of reporting! For example, "Show me all Jira issues submitted by the marketing department."
  • Opening up a whole new world of automation!  For example, "Create a Jira issue 90 days after hiring a new resource to schedule a meeting with that resource and the VP of that division."

Friendly and Familiar

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Because Insight was written specifically for Jira, it is incredibly intuitive for both Jira administrators and Jira users to start using.  From an admin's perspective, there are just a few key concepts to understand about how Insight data is structured:


  1. Object Schema - This is the highest-level data element and it's really the main "container" for configurations and data.  Think of this like a Jira Project: It is logical and you can have many of these. A few other similarities: 
    1. Permissions (who can see and edit) are defined at this level
    2. Schemas can reference/use other Schemas
  2. Object Type - This is the definition of what you are tracking, like a Person, a Computer, or even a Contract. It's very similar to an IssueType and is the key structure for your Objects that get created. A few other things to note:
    1. ObjectTypes can reference (link) to other ObjectTypes.
    2. ObjectTypes support an infinite hierarchy, so parent-child away!
    3. ObjectTypes can be marked as Abstract, meaning there will never be any Objects of this type. This is useful if you want a Parent ObjectType of something like Legal Document with children ObjectTypes of Contract, NDA, etc.
  3. Field Type - This is very similar to Custom Fields.  ObjectTypes need FieldTypes, you can pick from a variety of FieldTypes to build out your ObjectTypes.

Don't confuse this quick adoption with lack of power. Insight can be configured to model anything.

Hopefully, this quick little tour has you thinking about how Insight can help simplify your Jira configuration (fewer custom fields, simplified hierarchy, better reporting, better automation, etc).  The best way I can describe it is: Jira issues are the verbs and Insight objects are the nouns. When you think of it this way, the question becomes: How do you want to model the work you do (verbs - Jira) against the things that are impacted by your work (nouns - Insight)?


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