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Defining a new digital workplace with Microsoft integrations in Jira


Jira and Microsoft: How to benefit from Microsoft integrations in Jira

There are many digital tools in place to structure your digital workplace. But using too many of them increases cognitive load and makes project management disruptive. Let’s approach the topic holistically and find out how to benefit from integrating Microsoft 365 in Jira.

Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) and the Office suite (such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, Forms) are widely used throughout enterprises of all sizes. At the moment there are 300 million licensed business users and 145 million daily active Microsoft Teams users (as of Q3 2021). Microsoft 365 is available in a variety of subscription plans aimed at different needs and market segments. That is why many companies manage their productivity and day-to-day work with Microsoft Office apps.

Microsoft’s Power BI is a business intelligence solution with powerful analytics and visualization capabilities, providing users with features that makes it easier to better interpret and understand data from various aspects of business operations. Project management is one of the most important processes in many organizations. The project management system generates a lot of valuable data such as project pace, number of hours spent on projects, team performance and so on. 

Jira is an issue tracking and project management tool, as you might be aware of, as we are posting this article in the Atlassian Community :-) Jira is used by over 180,000 customers in 190 countries. Jira Software, Jira Core, and Jira Service Management are extremely powerful on their own, but you can continue to extend them with additional features. If you have a use case in mind, there’s probably a third-party app that provides the functionality.

Jira and Microsoft: Why should you integrate Jira and Microsoft products?

Companies working with both, Microsoft 365 and Jira, benefit from the strong communication and organizational aspect of Microsoft 365, and the planning power of Jira. With an integration, you can involve all your team members, no matter in which tool they prefer to work, and all team members can access the information they need.

There are quite a few third-party integrations that connect Jira and Microsoft 365 without complex configurations, programming, and additional tech skills. The integrations are available at the Atlassian Marketplace. Many of them are designed for Cloud users and available for all Jira projects like Jira Software, Jira Core, and Jira Service Management. In this article, we want to have a look at two leading apps that integrate Microsoft 365 and Jira on a deep level.

Alpha Serve's "Power BI Connector for Jira" for smooth data analytics

Atlassian’s Jira is arguably one of the most versatile agile project management software with bug and issue tracking capabilities. There’s no doubt that a platform like this generates a lot of IT development and project data that will be valuable for decision-making for any company. 

Bundling all of this data into business intelligence software allows you to transform and visualize the data in order to generate actionable insights. A business intelligence solution like Power BI will generate an instant dashboard so you can easily analyze Jira data. 

To integrate Jira with Power BI, you have several options to explore. For instance, you could use the Jira API. But this is a complex and potentially expensive approach. An easier way to connect both platforms is by using a third-party addon such as the Power BI Сonnector for Jira plugin. 

Power BI Connector for Jira is a third-party addon from Alpha Serve that allows you to add Jira to Power BI as one of your main data sources. This way you can enjoy the full data analytics and visualization capabilities of Power BI to analyze Jira data. With this tool, you can seamlessly export data from Jira to Power BI with no coding experience and full control over the data for export by using custom data fields provided by this connector. In this demo you can see how easy is to use Power BI Connector for Jira. You can also merge Jira data with other sources and analyze them together. Check out the key features of Alpha Serve's integration:

  • Create multiple data sources and make use of them effectively.
  • Use basic filters to determine the data that will be added for analytics purposes.
  • Create complete and informative reports in Power BI based on data tables and fields exported from Jira.
  • Add Tempo Accounts with archived status to the import results.
  • Use Jira Query Language to filter issues and identify specific data to add to your data pool.

You can download Alpha Serve's Power BI Connector for Jira from the Atlassian Marketplace; purchase the plugin right away or sign up for a 30-day free trial to get a feel of the product before making a purchase. The Cloud version of the connector is free for small teams with 10 users or less. Check out further set-up instructions here in this video.

👨‍💻 Use case: Software development

Challenge: Managers and members of the software development team need a way to track activities on their projects and to avoid the high risk of losing track due to constantly updated changes and requests. Therefore it is important to prioritize tasks across the software development team and plan accordingly. 

Solution: Use Power BI Connector to build complex and clear reports for the software development team. You can combine data from Jira Work Management, Jira Software, Jira Service Management. 

You can create complete and informative reports for software development teams based on aligned Jira Cloud data. Also, you're able to expand filtering options from basic to advanced JQL choices. By that, team performance can be improved based on real-time data.

👩‍💼 Use case: Project management

Challenge: In project management, it is important to make sense of project data through understandable dashboards and reports to track project KPIs. Oftentimes, multiple sources of data with no coding skills need to be combined.

Solution: With the connector for Power BI and Jira, you can generate detailed visualization in a way that makes it easier to monitor performance and make data-driven decisions.

With Power Query supported by Power BI Connector for Jira, simply combine Jira with other data sources. You have the ability to unify multiple data sources into one dashboard without special knowledge or coding skills. Plan the budget and restructure working resources based on metrics and analytics. There will be no room for errors or speculations, as you work with a consolidated reporting platform for accurate results. You will get a clearer understanding of the team's performance and get an overview of the project execution based on data available in Jira and other sources.

yasoon's full-scale integration "Microsoft 365 for Jira"

Let's have a look at the integration "Microsoft 365 for Jira" by yasoon (the company I work for 😊). Usually, teams work with Microsoft 365 and Jira to different extents across departments. This oftentimes leads to fragmented information flows and makes it hard to communicate transparently. However, it is not important to establish one tool for all, but rather to allow all teams to stay in their home turf and to provide an app that connects these tools. 

With yasoon’s integration Microsoft 365 for Jira, there is an app that allows for this connection and provides Microsoft 365 integrations in Jira and Jira functionality in Microsoft 365 tools. The aim is to make cross-collaboration and communication between tools convenient and simple to use. The app harnesses the power of Microsoft Outlook, Teams and To Do with deep integrations to Jira – altogether for seamless teamwork. Let’s have a look at the key features:

  • Turn emails into Jira issues: Create issues with content from your emails. Take over email attachments and text formatting like lists, colors and tables.
  • Work with emails in Jira: Read and send emails connected to your Outlook account. Enable your team to stay in the loop; future email replies will be automatically shown in Jira, too.
  • Chat with your team in Jira: Get the conversation started without leaving Jira. Start multiple Microsoft Teams chats or channel conversations right in your Jira issue. All replies instantly appear in both Teams and Jira.
  • Create support tickets within Microsoft Teams: Let customers raise support tickets right in Microsoft Teams with the integrated Jira Service Management portal. They can see the status of their tickets in a Teams tab, too.
  • Schedule Outlook meetings in Jira: See if your customer or colleague is available for a meeting right away. Send Outlook calendar invites directly from Jira, including a unique Microsoft Teams link. Chats from Microsoft Teams meetings are shown in the Jira issue. 
  • Add personal tasks in Jira: Open Microsoft To Do right in the issue to add personal tasks easily. All tasks will be pushed to your chosen To Do list instantly.

👩‍💻 Use case: IT project management

As you can imagine, the key features for this integration can benefit you in various use cases. Especially interdisciplinary teams can improve their project management. Find out how it works in this short demo video: Demo: Microsoft 365 for Jira – IT project management use case - YouTube

🎫 Use case: IT service management

Also, yasoon aims to support teams working in IT service management. Here’s how you can improve ticketing with JSM and Microsoft 365 in a short demo video: Demo: Microsoft 365 for Jira – IT service management use case (JSM) - YouTube

Side note: If you have an individual use case in mind, don’t hesitate to book a demo and get in touch with us.

With the integration, you build a strong connection between Microsoft 365 and Jira and create a seamless process with one full-scale app to connect your daily tools. Involve all your team members no matter in which tool they prefer to work. By that you can reduce cognitive load and improve communication with the whole team through cross-tool conversations in real-time. At the same time, everything is clearly documented: Link Outlook emails and Microsoft Teams discussions to Jira issues to find them later and understand decisions retrospectively. Jira admins can set up the integration quickly and intuitively, no onboarding to new tools or programs is needed, as everything is already in place.

Jira and Microsoft: To sum it up - an integration is worth it

With a Microsoft integration for Jira, you can involve all your team members, no matter in which tool they prefer to work, and all team members can access the information they need.

The presented integrations aim to simplify processes and reduce time spent tool switching between Microsoft 365 and Jira. Depending on your team preferences and workflow organization, you can choose the one that fits your needs best. If you have any questions or input, feel free to reach out and discuss with us.

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