Atlassian debuts unified admin controls to combat SaaS application sprawl

Collaboration and application development software provider Atlassian Corp. Plc. announced a series of key updates today, including new unified administration controls, new smart links, and a new subscription service for products including Trello, Confluence and Jira Work Management.

In addition, Atlassian said Atlas, a new teamwork directory service announced in April, will become generally available from next month.

Atlassian unveiled the updates at its first-ever Atlassian Presents: Work Life event, where it explained that the rapid pace of digital transformation over the past couple of years has led to many companies struggling to deal with software-as-a-service sprawl.

In a presentation, Atlassian Head of Product for Work Management Erika Trautman said that in order to deal with the resulting chaos, many companies are looking for a one size fits all solution for work management. Ideally, such a solution would include both admin controls and a single set of workflows. However, Trautman said this is really just a pipe dream, and that most solutions ultimately prove to be inflexible. As a result, teams just go out and use whatever tools they can find, she said, leaving companies to deal with the same kind of sprawl.

This leads to problems, such as admins struggling to understand if end users are working with properly licensed software, and security teams unsure if security policies have been applied consistently across all of the products an organization uses. “We believe that instead of relying on one work management tool to rule them all, what we need to do is create a system that allows teams to adopt the tools that are right for them, but to connect them so that they can be aligned, and they can be autonomous,” Trautman said.

This is what Atlassian is trying to achieve. To that end, Trautman said the company has announced a Unified Admin Experience integrating user and access management across its cloud product portfolio. This includes streamlining admin processes to remove redundant steps, and simplified audits, compliance checks and security reviews, she added.

Those improvements come along with a new subscription bundle called “Together” that combines Trello, Confluence, Jira Work Management and Atlas, with a price tag of $11 per month per user, for enterprises with more than 5,000 staff. Atlassian said the pricing will provide enterprises with the flexibility to offer their employees its full suite of tools the moment they’re needed. The Together bundle is currently available in beta, with general availability set for next year, the company said.

As for Smart Links, this refers to embedded links that can help users to access information across Atlassian and also compatible third-party applications. They will give users the ability to bring info and documents from myriad sources into Atlassian’s apps. Using Smart Links, team members can find and insert content, create and edit work items, and access information from all of Atlassian’s tools, without leaving their current tab. Atlassian said the Smart Links feature is available from today in Confluence, Google Docs, Figma and Trello.

Last but not least was the announcement that Atlas is ready for prime time. While in beta, thousands of customers have benefited from Atlas’s capabilities, which include richer integrations across Atlassian’s tools, and more flexible reporting.

When Atlas hits general availability in October, users will gain access to a free Atlas for Jira Cloud application. This will enable team members using Jira to view the current status and most recent updates in linked projects in Atlas. There will also be an update to Atlas’s projects and goals directories, making it easier for teams to produce rollup reports with filters for status, contributor, tags, teams, owners and reporting lines.

Meanwhile, for teams that use objectives and key results metrics, a new goal scoring capability in Atlas will allow them to assign a projected score based on their level of confidence that a team will meet its goals by the specified deadline.

Images: Atlassian

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