In Part 3 of our ongoing series on Atlassian Team '21, Isos Technology gives its take on the announcements that were made at the conference. For this installment of our interview-style blog, let's cover Halp, ProForma, ThinkTilt, Mindville, and Chartio...
I have one more thing in Point A that I want to discuss, which is— it's weird to me because it was an acquisition but it's still under the banner of Point A—and that was Halp, H-A-L-P like Jim Halpert. So what do you see out of that, Nick, what's your take on Halp?
It seems like Halp went through that alpha and beta phase of Point A behind the curtain. Maybe it was the guinea pig for Point A as an acquisition. Still, it's conversational ticketing for Jira Service Management for that ITSM team trying to intake service requests and tickets from all avenues across other platforms. So it ties in your Slack bots. It also ties in Microsoft Teams, it operates as an app for those two chat platforms and operates as a bot within those chat channels that you can have across all of your Slack channels or Team channels, plus you can use emojis. So you type a simple message within one of the channels like, "Hey, I broke my laptop or its performance is slowing down." And you slap a ticket emoji on that and the Halp bot will come along and create a ticket, maybe within a dedicated support channel within Slack or Teams.
And then your agents can operate out of a dedicated channel within those platforms so they can see all those tickets rolling. And then, we integrate it with Jira Service Management. That way, those tickets are created straight in your JSM projects and you can operate out of that process that you've defined up in JSM, but it's really easy to use, really easy to integrate between the three. It's been around for a little while, and I think it was a great acquisition for them to pull in, create another dedicated avenue for intaking issues into those JSM projects.
Yeah, 100%, especially with a distributed workforce, everybody working from home, when people do or don't come back to the office. At Isos, we live in Slack, we're a distributed company and it's just the lifeblood of how we get things done. So yeah, I love that.
ProForma & ThinkTilt
But speaking of acquisitions, Atlassian made a few announcements there. They highlighted a few of their acquisitions. One of them that they highlighted was their most current acquisition, which is a company called ThinkTilt with their flagship product, ProForma. And so Rodney, what are your thoughts about ProForma?
So it's funny. You always use these apps if you've been using Jira for a while that you're like, "Oh, I wish this was part of the core product." And for me, ProForma is one of those. It fills a gap, and I've recommended it to a lot of clients over the years since we were first introduced to it. It has a lot of different use cases. One of the exciting use cases that sometimes people realize they can use it for, and sometimes they don't, is near and dear to the hearts of peer administrators: it's the consolidation of custom fields. So you have a system over time, you're going to have a lot of custom field load, especially, if, let's say, you have a system in government or finance or healthcare, which is form heavy.
And so you think, "Oh, I need these custom fields for this form. I need these for this one." And all of a sudden, now you've got 3,000 custom fields, and your Jira is a dog. So whether you're migrating or just trying to use some consolidation, you realize, "I don't need all of these fields available. I need a form to capture these." And the great thing about ProForma is you can go, "Okay, these are fields that are actually backed by the first order, Jira custom fields. And these are fields that are containing the tiles in the form." And so it takes away that bloat level and makes it to so you see performance increases. Custom bloat is something I look at whenever I'm going in to do a merge migration, especially when we're combining two Data Center instances or a couple of Server instances into a Data Center instance.
Now, with more than migration to the cloud, this is additionally something I've looked at because ProForma also works in the cloud, so I'm moving up. That's a great chance to reduce that custom field bloat as you move up. And this is one of the ones that I was excited to see in there because, like I said, this is something I've recommended to our clients.
Yeah. It's a must have. And Rodney, I think you hit it on the head where there are so many apps and I think they're starting to see this, where it's like, "Man, why isn't that just part of the product?" And Atlassian is starting to do that, which is excellent.
Insight & Mindville
Speaking of which, Nick, this one's been out there for a little bit, but it's the Mindville acquisition and their flagship product, Insight. So what do you see there?
Yeah. In my view, people are probably already familiar with Mindville as asset and configuration management. It operates as an asset database behind the scenes. And now it's tied in with the Jira Service Management premium tier within Cloud. So if you have those licenses, that premium tier, this is just going to come out of the box for you. Atlassian is in that transition period where they're still tying it into the product natively. They're still coming out with a lot of that core functionality around importing assets and things like that, and connecting it to other cloud service providers like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud, so that you can sync assets across all those platforms. But we see this in a lot of Jira Service Management implementations that we do.
People always have hardware assets or software assets that they want to track and have their container for. And there are two popular use cases that I see the most when it comes to Jira Service Management tying assets into it. One being hardware and being able to provision out hardware for your employees, and two, being able to support hardware that your employees already have. We can push these assets and objects into custom fields within Jira and then have them surface all the way out in that customer portal in the forms. That way you have that dedicated dropdown of assets and we can make it subjective.
It's really cool because I can, as a logged-in user, hit that dropdown of devices in that form and the only ones that will appear are the laptops associated with my user and the laptops that I currently have on my desk right now. And I can say, "Okay, I'm having issues with my MacBook Air, let me select that asset." And then I can see the history of that asset entirely. You can see everything that's happened when it got updated last, what its operating system version is at, things like that. So really cool to push those to the Jira help desk portal forms.
And then the other use case is around configuration management. We've seen things even like teams utilizing it to map their Jira configuration within asset management. So you can have your whole Jira configuration. We all know that configuration and administration in Jira can be pretty complex at times. So to have a complete map of that in an asset tree hierarchy could be extremely helpful and tied into things like Opsgenie, etc.
So as those help desk customers start to open up incidents and changes against some of those business services that those help desk teams are supporting, whether that be on your main website or your AWS services that you're hosting, you can always select those within those forms and start opening up tickets against those specific services. And then that ties all the way over into DevOps, which I'm sure we'll talk about later.
We will. No, I'm glad you mentioned that asset management piece, but for me, as soon as you say asset management, people think, "Okay, I got it." And they put it in a box. It is a data modeling tool. So you get to model out whatever you want now, out-of-the-box configuration or assets and it works well. But think about all the other powerful things you can model, even logical things. Imagine taking your whole ELD app or Active Directory footprint in there. And now you have your entire organization of people modeled out. And so now you can ask interesting questions or show things on Jira issues like, "Hey, who's this person's boss, and how do I get ahold of them because they're asking for a $10,000 gaming laptop and it doesn't seem right to me?"
So anyhow, I love all that. I love that it's in there. And there are so many use cases. You just started thinking about what data I want to model; it doesn't have to be physical assets.
And then Tracy. And what I did learn from this conference is how to say this, "Chartio." But Chartio, so Atlassian has been slowly announcing that, but what do you see in that?
Reporting in Jira is challenging. And I teach the class on how to use all the reports inside of Jira, so it breaks my little heart. Sometimes it's just the data and the tool that's a mess, but you know what, Atlassian listens to their customers very closely. And so I'm very excited that they have stepped up their game because people want to see their data the way that they want to see it without necessarily reaching out to the marketplace and extending the functionality of Jira and learning a new tool. The thing about Chartio is their mission is very aligned to Atlassian's. They want to join teams on data and empower them, not just the data analysts of the world to have access to the data and meaningful insights and take action on them.
By the way, their product is straightforward to use. You don't need a lot of education to get in there and start gleaning some insights that will make a big difference. So I think it's the big win that these two came together and I'm excited to see what else they bring to reporting inside of Jira on top of what they're dabbling in.
I'm so glad to see a renewed focus because the out-of-the-box reporting is just proof of life of that, "Yeah. We can do reports." Right? So to see them ratchet it up and make a commitment is something I think everybody in the weeds has been like, "Thank you. It's about time."
To be continued ...
Read the whole series or watch the webinar:
- Part 1 - Point A, Jira Work Management, Trello
- Part 2 - Compass, Team Central, Jira Product Discovery
- Part 3 - Halp, ProForma, Think Tilt, Mindville
- Part 4 - JiraAlign, DevOps, Cloud, Forge, Data Center
- Part 5 - What features excited you the most?
- Part 6 - What were your favorite presentations?
Watch the webinar and get the slides here.
CEO, Isos Technology
Atlassian Solutions Engineer, Isos Technology
A Solutions Engineer for Isos Technology, Nick is based out of Arlington, VA. He has a technical background with software test automation, quality assurance, and CI/CD lifecycle. Nick has always been interested in innovative technologies, which led him to pursue two technical degrees from Penn State University. He is accredited in Atlassian tools with certifications in Jira Service Management, Agile with Jira, and he’s a Certified SAFe Program Consultant. Nick has a passion for technology and a knack for deconstructing the tools' concepts into easy-to-understand explanations.
Senior Atlassian Consultant, Isos Technology
Senior Atlassian Consultant, Isos Technology
Senior Atlassian Consultant, Isos Technology
Tracy Walton's consulting is a unique blend of her passion for leading teams, her product expertise, and 10 years of hands-on experience in agile software development in a variety of products and industries, including Digital Marketing, Customer Relationship Management, Subscription Billing, and Compensation Analysis. She is an Atlassian Certified Professional: Agile for Jira and Jira Software Administrator and holds additional certifications as a Scrum Master and Life Coach.