Atlassian launches Jira Ops an incidence response tool for IT ops teams

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Jira Ops offers one platform for coordinating responses to major IT incidents

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Today, Atlassian announced its adding Jira Ops, an IT incident response tool, to its suite. The tool offers one platform where all information, updates and responses to an incident can be tracked.

It also provides capabilities such as automatic alerting of the appropriate employees, creating a timeline of response actions, and pooling all communications about the incident in one place. A detailed record of the event will be preserved that can afterwards be analysed and offer a blueprint for how to respond to similar events in future.

"Incidents can have a real impact, not just in dollar terms but also in the reputation of your company and you as a person," said Atlassian CEO and co-founder, Scott Farquhar, speaking at the Atlassian Summit 2018 in Barcelona. "Downtime associated with an incident is estimated to cost a trillion euros a year - that's billions of dollars every year." It's these type of major incidents Jira Ops has been developed to help mitigate.

As an example of such an incident, Sid Suri, Head of IT Strategy at Atlassian, offers the launch of YouTube TV in the US, and the promise to viewers of being able to live stream the World Cup.

However, during the semifinal between England and Croatia, the company suddenly faced an outage of 60 minutes, to the great consternation of thousands of football fans.

"If you are a retailer and your payment gateway is down on your e-commerce site for 20 minutes - for those 20 minutes, you're not accepting orders," said Suri. "Or, if you're a bank, and your mobile app is down, people can't log in. The frustration you might see from it, the cost is just immeasurable."

This is an area that is only going to become increasingly important, as practically every company pivots to a software-driven enterprise.

"Tackling major incidents, keeping them from happening by jumping on problems quickly before they snowball and before they hit customers, or fixing them once they have hit customers is essentially a huge problem and a huge challenge that IT and development teams have to rise up to meet, over the coming years," Suri explained. 

This is the latest of Atlassian tools aimed at IT operations teams, signalling a shift from the target audience of some of their core products, aimed more at development teams.  

"A couple of years ago, we made a pretty strategic decision, right from the top, to significantly invest in products targeted towards IT buyers, and essentially help tackle some of their most pressing needs," Suri told Computerworld UK. "We've already got a presence in IT because IT is an adjacent market to development, so there's a lot of interlock between those two teams."

The launch of Ops follows other IT-targeted tools including Jira Service Desk or Service Management, Confluence for documentation and project management, and a Jira Software Cell.

But what does Jira Ops offer users over more traditional incident handling methods? "I think more traditional solutions were built around slower-moving, less-critical incidents," said Suri, giving examples such as the email server being down. Today, these happen on a much more critical scale. 

Many teams already use Atlassian tools in the handling of incidents. "Each of these point solutions still has a part to play, but you're left dealing with a patchwork of solutions and no clear process," said Farquhar. "We thought, there must be a better way."

"Jira Ops essentially folds all of these systems together," said Suri. "It gives teams one central place to go to coordinate the response."

Within Jira Ops, an automated alerting system is initiated as soon as an anomaly is detected. Slack channels will be automatically opened where teams can discuss the incidents - for IT and dev teams, and for marketing teams that have to deal with the PR fallout. 

A major integration boosting the operational efficiencies of the tool is Slack. Snippets of text within Slack in conversations between teams can be highlighted and right clicked to immediately transpose it into the timeline of the incident collated by Jira Ops, meaning that anyone arriving late on the scene can quickly scan the timeline without needing extensive briefing.

The timeline is preserved for posterity and can inform future incidence response plans. "There's two things you're looking at, in that post-incident review - a) What went wrong, and b) How good was our response," said Suri. In addition, Jira Ops will of course seamlessly integrate with already existing Atlassian products like Jira Service Desk.

The launch of Jira Ops signals Atlassian's greater investment in the streamlining of IT operations. 

"We felt there was a missing piece, in the middle, between development and service, and that's operations," said Suri. "This is, like I say, a giant market and a market that really is being underserved for the more modern needs of software-powered everything."

"We feel that end-to-end solution is something nobody else in the market has, today, and something that is going to be a huge part of what an IT team is challenged with doing. The strategy is driven by the fact that we believe every business is dependent on software-powered systems, and that every business is becoming a software-powered business," Suri explained.

Atlassian acquires OpsGenie 

Atlassian also announced that the company will be acquiring OpsGenie, the incident management platform for towards dev and ops teams. 

"With Jira Ops, we provide a complete incident management lifecycle - well almost. We think there is one critical piece missing," said Farquhar. "That's why today we're proud to announce that Atlassian is acquiring OpsGenie."

As Berkay Mollamustafaoglu, CEO of OpsGenie, explained: "We founded OpsGenie with the mission to help teams resolve incidents faster, with a relentless focus on improving the lives of IT professionals everywhere.

"We've been working with Atlassian for many years now, and built integrations with many of the Atlassian projects you use today," said Mollamustafaoglu, noting StatusPage, Bitcucket and Jira Service Desk. "And now, Jira Ops." 

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