Careers at Atlassian
Atlassian’s mission is to provide high-volume low-cost enterprise software solutions for software developers and project managers to “help teams all over the planet advance humanity through the power of software”.
Atlassian provides high-volume low-cost enterprise software solutions with minimal turnaround time. These products are cross compatible, allowing users to tag on features as required.
- Track and Support – Atlassian provides an integrated software development tool, called JIRA Software, that allows software developers to plan, distribute, and track tasks and report on developer performance using user-set performance indicators. The JIRA Software series also includes the JIRA Service Desk, which provides for a feedback channel between the client and its customers, and the JIRA Core, which provides project management capabilities for business projects, including Human Resources, Legal, Marketing, and others.
- Collaborate – Atlassian provides a collaboration tool, called Confluence, that allows developers to create, organize, and manage project materials and collaborate on the same platform. It also has a private chat tool called HipChat.
- Code – Atlassian provides a series of tools that are specific to software development. It has a Git-based Distributed Version Control System, called BitBucket, that can manage multiple versions of the same software.
- Code Quality – Atlassian also has a series of products that help developers manage code quality – SourceTree, a visual Mercurial and Git client for visualizing and managing repositories, Bamboo, a build, test, and deploy server for continuous delivery, Clover, a code testing software, Fisheye, a code change tracking software, and Crucible, a code review software that works across SVN, Git, Mercurial, CVS, and Perforce.
- Add-Ons – Atlassian also provides a number of other add-ons for its key products, most notably for the JIRA and Confluence product series.
Atlassian was founded in 2001 in Australia by Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes. The pair met while on the same co-op scholarship at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, financing their new startup with a $10,000 credit card debt. From inception, the pair decided that they would not spend revenue on a sales team, relying instead on word-of-mouth and other marketing channels.
Over the next few years, the pair came up with their now-famous 5 principles:
- Open company, no bullshit
- Play, as a team
- Build with heart and balance
- Be the change you seek
- Don't #@!% the customer
Their first software, JIRA, was released in April 2002. Atlassian had a revenue of $1 million in its first year – this quickly grew to almost $15 million in 2005-2006. The pair were named Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneurs of the Year for Australia in that year. That year also marked the company’s expansion into a US office – in San Francisco’s Mission District.
Turning down multiple approaches from prospective investors and buyers in its initial years, the company got its first external venture financing in July 2010 from Accel Partners, to the tune of $60 million.
Atlassian restructured in 2014, setting up a group holding company, Atlassian Corporation Plc, in the UK with a registered address in London – this restructuring did not affect operations, which were still held out of the headquarters in Sydney.
On 10 December 2015, Atlassian was listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange in an initial public offering at $21 per share, putting the market capitalization of the company at $4.37 billion.
Benefits at Atlassian
Business model of Atlassian
Atlassian has a mass market business model, with a multi-sided market; most of its consumer segments represent specific business functions and not industries – this means that its offerings can be used in different ways across different functions in the same organization. The company has taken advantage of this by building software ecosystems for various business segments, each representing a particular business function.
- Software (JIRA Software, BitBucket, Bamboo, Confluence, HipChat) – The company’s key offering, the JIRA Software, is aimed at streamlining software development. A number of the other offerings of the company, such as Bamboo and BitBucket, are targeted specifically at coders and software developers.
- IT (JIRA Software, IRA Service Desk, Confluence, HipChat) – The JIRA suite, including JIRA Service Desk and JIRA Software, allows IT teams to quickly respond to their organisation’s needs by maintaining effective feedback channels (through the Service Desk) and allowing for efficient and managed workflows (through the Software).
- Marketing (JIRA Core, Confluence, HipChat) – The company’s project management tools, including JIRA Core and Confluence, allow marketing teams to keep track of data and marketing material.
- Finance (JIRA Core, Confluence, HipChat) – JIRA Core is used by some of the largest financial institutions globally to manage financial processes such as procurement and financial reporting.
- Operations (JIRA Core, Confluence, HipChat) – JIRA Core allows operations managers to keep track of tasks, personnel, and deadlines. Confluence allows managers to set and communicate policies and operations documents.
- Human Resources (JIRA Core, Confluence, HipChat) – The Atlassian software suites, including JIRA Core and Confluence, can assist HR managers from recruitment and onboarding to personnel management.
- Legal (JIRA Core, Confluence, HipChat) – JIRA Core allows legal teams to create and manage legal materials including contracts and policies – these materials can be disseminated via Confluence.
Atlassian offers the following value propositions: Customisation, Price, Cost Reduction, Risk Reduction, and Convenience.
- Customisation – Atlassian recognizes that each business has different requirements and allows each business the freedom of choosing which of its products it wants in whichever combination it wants – the integrated nature of the products affords consumers this flexibility. This possibility of customization is furthered by the Atlassian Marketplace, where over 1,700 add-ons for the key products may be purchased to add additional features.
- Price – Atlassian works on a high-volume low-cost model. It spends far less than its competitors on sales and marketing, selling directly to consumers via its website. This allows it to charge far less for the same offering.
- Cost and Risk Reduction – By giving managers the ability to manage and further streamline their workflows, Atlassian provides a cost reduction to its clients by eliminating work-hours spend on unnecessary administrative tasks. In the same vein, the ability to manage workflows reduces the risk of mistakes or oversight in management.
- Convenience – By offering an integrated solution, Atlassian allows its clients to perform multiple functions on the same integrated platform.
Atlassian’s only sales channel is direct online sales through its website. It does not have a sales team and spends only 15% to 20% of its revenue on sales and marketing. Compare this to a common figure of over 100% of revenue as marketing costs spent by tech companies within the first few years of an IPO.
Atlassian relies mainly on self-service – its website has a range of self-help material including product guides and live training. It also relies on community, through a community Q&A forum where clients can post questions which can be answered by other clients or by Atlassian staff, and through maintaining an experts program through which independent expert partners can sign up to assist Atlassian clients while showcasing their own products or services.
For personal assistance, Atlassian offers, at a fee, enterprise support services that provide technical account management through direct access to senior engineers in the company.
Atlassian’s key activity is the creation and maintenance of an integrated platform for customers to use for a variety of business functions.
Atlassian maintains an ecosystem of partners that create and sell add-ons for its services and that provide expert assistance to its clients. Some examples of partners include Adaptavist, Comalatech, and Zivra, all of which also serve Fortune 1000 companies.
Atlassian’s key resource is its people – it has over 1,400 employers in 6 offices in 5 different countries and spends over half of its expenses on R&D.
Atlassian, unlike most other tech companies, spends only 15% to 20% of its revenue on sales and marketing. Its other key cost driver is research and development, at 40% to 45%. General and administrative expenses take up around 18% of total revenue.
Atlassian earns from subscription, maintenance, and perpetual license fees:
|Revenue Stream||Amount in FY 2015 ($’000)||Proportion*|
*Figures are rounded and thus do not tally
info: Mike holds a Bachelor of Commerce in information systems from the University of New South Wales. He serves as an adjunct professor at his alma mater’s School of Computer Science and Engineering and is an active angel investor, serving as a non-executive director of Tyro, an Australian bank.
info: Scott holds a Bachelor of Science in business information technology from the University of New South Wales. He is an active angel investor, contributing to the funds StartMate and Blackbird Ventures.
info: Jay holds a bachelor's degree in political and environmental science from the University of Washington. He started in Plumtree Software, eventually overseeing the company’s expansion in the European and Asian markets. When Plumtree was acquired by BEA Systems, he became BEA’s VP of marketing. He joined Atlassian as the VP of sales and marketing in 2008 following Oracle’s acquisition of BEA Systems.
info: Murray holds a Masters in Business Administration from Golden Gate University and a Bachelor of Arts in business economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is currently a director of Citrix Systems and a number of other private companies. He was the Executive VP and CFO of Dolby Laboratories and served previously in the same role at LiveOps Inc. and Postini Inc. Prior to these roles he served in various finance-related roles in Adobe Systems Inc from 1996 to 2006.
info: Tom holds a Doctor of Law degree (JD) from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law and a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to this appointment, he was an SVP and General Counsel at BigFix Inc. after spending 7 years as a lawyer at Cooley LLP.
info: Sri holds an M.S. in Computer Science from Clemson and a management degree from Stanford Business School. He was the SVP of engineering and CTO at Groupon Inc. Prior to this he was the VP of R&D at VMware, an SVP at Ning Inc, and also served in various roles at Sun Microsystems.
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