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In my previous blog, I shared a list of capabilities that enterprises need to build to ensure that their Atlassian ecosystem implementation is successful. There, I had talked about domain knowledge, system architecture understanding, data migration expertise, customization capabilities, among other things. 

Over the past several years, we have helped several SMBs and large enterprises with their Atlassian implementation. During my discussions with clients, I frequently get this question from senior management about what capabilities they should build inhouse and what they should outsource. This blog is a summary of my response to various clients' contexts. It also covers some practice tips and best practices for SMBs and large enterprises to help them ensure that their Atlassian implementation delivers real value. 

The first step is to find out what capabilities you will need just one time or occasionally. For example, consider installation and initial setup, Custom Plugin development for a specific integration, Data Migration, Data Merge, etc. It does not make sense to invest time and energy to build these capabilities in-house as you will not have enough opportunities to keep such resources challenged enough and utilize them.

Strategies for SMB & Large Enterprises While Bringing in Atlassian 

In a competitive world of software collaboration and development tools, the options that Atlassian offers for streamlining the development process and integrating solutions across the enterprise are wide-ranging. 

As a leading enterprise software company that provides an array of products for software developers, project managers, and customer service executives, Atlassian provides access to the latest and most advanced technology, allowing you to launch products with ease and maintain their capabilities over time. 

For organizations, it is important to understand that skills or competence required also depends on the Adoption Lifecycle Stage.  

New Atlassian Adoption

• Knowledge of migrating data from legacy tools and systems 

• Integration know-how

• Familiarity with Business Process Mapping

• Knowledge of the different deployment modes - Atlassian Data Center, Atlassian Cloud, and Atlassian Server. 

Extending existing Atlassian tools 

• Knowledge of integrating existing tools with new tools/cloud

• Merging of JIRA or JSD or Confluence instances

• Bringing new function/division on to the Atlassian ecosystem

Optimizing the usage of existing Atlassian ecosystem

• Making cross-functional interventions such as discovering where constraints are, analyzing what needs to be done and rolling out the necessary changes

• Keeping the lights on

• Knowledge of Atlassian Administration & Infrastructure Support

• Familiarity and experience with Atlassian Implementation Support

• Understanding of extending custom developments

Organizations also need to adopt the right strategies while bringing in Atlassian tools into their business and their size. Let us see what makes business sense, given the unique context of your organization. 

For instance:  

Small to Midsize Companies

For small to midsize organizations, instance sizes are comparatively smaller and less complex. Team size is also small, and there are limited change requests on an ongoing basis. There is a low impact due to the slower turnaround time for change requests.Therefore, it is not worthwhile to build teams in-house but to outsource all Atlassian tool implementation activities (discovery, define, do) to partners.

Also, if data security and compliance are not too much of a concern, it is best for small teams to start with Atlassian Cloud so that they don’t have to worry about infrastructure and support aspects of managing these tools.

Mid to Large Size companies

For mid to large size organizations, instance sizes are larger and more complex due to the number of large and varied teams. The impact of system unavailability or turnaround of support teams is usually high. Since large numbers of teams have to be supported, the number of change requests are also higher.Therefore, it makes sense to build an internal team for Atlassian or DevOps capabilities.

However, building internal teams does not mean you no longer require external help. Enterprises can continue to seek Atlassian Partner Expertise for high complexity. It should be based on the situational needs at various stages of their lifecycle and what capabilities they have in-house. Depending on the experience, expertise, and bandwidth of the internal teams, you need to decide if you need an external partner to help you unearth your cross-functional bottlenecks and make recommendations on addressing those or you would like to discover them on your own.

For large enterprises, building their own team can provide far greater value. Here are some recommendations for large enterprises trying to build internal teams for Atlassian capabilities:

• Large organizations can build their Atlassian ecosystem based on their specific needs. They can choose to take a strategic approach and build in-house capabilities for all upstream activities in the area of Operational Excellence, specifically ALM, DevOps, Value Stream Mapping, etc.

• They can also take a cost-centric approach to keep operational costs low by building internal teams for repeatable operational activities and engaging partners like Addteq to manage activities that are complex and beyond their capabilities. 

• For interventions like upgrade/migration, extending your current Atlassian tool ecosystem, new custom development, and new initiatives, make sure to engage an expert partner to operationalize and support your tool implementation. 

• Sometimes, issues are complex (or political). You don’t want to disturb the relationships between teams by discovering something unpleasant. Depending on the experience, expertise, and bandwidth of these teams, you need to decide if you need an external partner to help you unearth your cross-functional bottlenecks and make recommendations on addressing those or you would like to discover them on your own. 

• An external partner can help you perform in-depth audits of your existing processes and generate evidence of possible organizational constraints. This can help you overcome them in time. 

With a partner, you can focus on your core competency while outsourcing all complex tool implementation and support activities to experts who will either build a dedicated team (onsite or offsite) or a shared team (offsite) – depending on your requirements. In fact, it is the right mix of these two extreme approaches that usually work for large enterprises as they slowly build capabilities without putting their software releases at risk. 

Conclusion

With an array of tools, plug-ins, add-ons, Atlassian has, over the years, become a leader in its field. Especially with the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a growing interest in tools and technologies that can help companies enhance communication and collaboration between the teams and Atlassian tools offer that. The versatility and integration options that Atlassian offers, along with the constant software enhancements, enables organizations to streamline processes across the delivery lifecycle. 

Using the latest Atlassian tools has become a global norm - the question is whether to build Atlassian tool capabilities in-house or outsource it to an Atlassian partner for implementation. Before you make the decision, make sure to understand the needs of your organization, the challenges with improper implementations, the benefits of building the ecosystem on your own, and the capabilities you would need to achieve maximum ROI from the tools.

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