How Atlassian enhanced collaboration through G Suite and Jamboard Credit: GoogleSupplied Art
Business Management

How Atlassian enhanced collaboration through G Suite and Jamboard

Atlassian has joined forces with Google to roll out G Suite and Jamboard technologies in the pursuit of improved creativity and collaboration.

The Australian software giant - which houses around 3200 full-time employees and roughly 800 contractors - was motivated by a desire to improve content relevance internally, while minimising the loss of “in-development whiteboard content”.

“Our mission is to unleash the potential of every team, and we do this by making products that help teams to function more effectively,” said Harvey Jones, workplace collaboration lead at Atlassian. "We enable them to communicate, share, and find information to track projects and activities.”

Striking a partnership with Google comes as Atlassian seeks expansion beyond the provider’s traditional focus on teams in information technology and software development.

“We are looking to become the tool of choice for a much broader array of teams within customer and prospect organisations," added Jones, while referencing that collaboration and creativity is “baked into the business”.

To complete tasks such as mapping user flows for new product features, Jones said Atlassian “relies heavily” on physical whiteboards, with around 2.1 square metres of whiteboard space per staff member alone in Sydney.

According to Jones, these whiteboards are used "day in, day out” which has created capacity and management issues for the wider business.

“We have had to provide stickers for some employees to write comments such as 'do not delete by [a certain date]' or 'this content is owned by [employee name] - please check with them before deleting the content’,” he explained.

Adding a further layer of complexity for the software specialists, Jones said the glass-fronted whiteboards with white backgrounds are difficult to photograph, complicating the capture of content created in collaboration sessions as a result.

Read more: Atlassian acquires AgileCraft in $166M deal

Expansion plans

Other contributing factors in the decision to align with Google originate from the vendor’s acquisition of Trello in 2017, a New York-based project collaboration software maker.

Initially, collaborating with Trello proved problematic for the Nasdaq-listed business, due to the fact that many of its staff worked remotely, creating challenges around uniting both teams during brain-storming sessions.

To combat this, Jones said Atlassian experimented with an unnamed projector-based digital whiteboarding product, which failed to live up to expectations.

Read more: Atlassian to be anchor tenant for Sydney tech precinct

Step forward Jamboard, a collaborative, digital whiteboarding solution from Google.

“The product is part of and integrated with G Suite, our platform for collaboration,” Jones added. “In addition, it delivers a rich experience that solves our problem of bringing remote workers into conversations. Further, the product's pricing was competitive.”

Specifically, Jamboard digital whiteboards feature 55-inch, 4K displays, styluses, erasers, and wall mounts, alongside a portable stand and single cable to enable businesses to move the product between locations.

Other functionalities include allowing users to sketch ideas whiteboard-style while pulling assets and information from the web, as well as from G Suite products such as Docs, Sheets, and Drive.

Read more: Google signed up one million G Suite customers in 2018

"Some of our senior leaders are very keen on the Jamboard,” Jones said. “They like the rich collaborative experience and value it delivers.”

As a result of rapid market expansion - and acquisitions - about half of Atlassian’s staff are distributed across North and South America, in addition to India, Japan, Turkey and the Philippines.

The business purchased Jamboards for locations throughout the United States, including New York City, Austin, Mountain View, and San Francisco, which houses 13 alone.

“The product has been really well received and the feedback has been excellent,” Jones added. “Thanks to Jamboard, our content is now more relevant and more valuable, as it has had input from more people.

“In addition, if staff miscalculate how much space they need on a Jamboard for text, diagrams, or other content, they can simply shrink that content and move it into a corner.”

Alongside Jamboard, Atlassian leverages the wider G Suite portfolio in the form of Calendar to schedule appointments and Gmail to provide email capability - employees also use Drive for file storage and synchronisation and Sheets to capture and visualise data.

“With support from Google products, we are poised to build on our initial success by adding value to more teams within customers and prospects,” Jones added.

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