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“Why we're building apps for cloud” - A Marketplace vendor partner perspective

We’ve been hard at work simplifying and demystifying the migration process for customers ready to move to the cloud. The Atlassian Cloud Migration Center is full of useful information, FAQs, and step-by-step guides to make sure your move to cloud is successful. In the first part of our cloud app series, we talked about what you need to know about apps when migrating to cloud (which apps are must-haves, what functionality now comes natively in cloud, which apps does your team rely on the most).

In the second part of our cloud app content series, I recently sat down to talk with Appfire’s Head of Marketing, Holly Wright, to learn a bit about the Marketplace vendor perspective on building for cloud.


Appfire is a recognizable name in the Atlassian Ecosystem, but you are an umbrella company with many brands. Can you tell us a bit about your company and all the brands you represent?

[Holly] - Appfire has been part of the Atlassian ecosystem for about as long as the ecosystem has been around, and we now have 60 apps from 3 different product companies. Bob Swift focuses on helping customers build efficiency and insight with automation and business intelligence apps. Wittified helps Atlassian administrators build trust and scale their teams with project and team administration at scale apps. And Feed Three, the first socially conscious brand in the ecosystem, focuses on helping customers improve customer service and support through a new Jira Service Desk cloud app.


Your company's focus for the last two years has been “Cloud First”. Can you tell me a little bit about why you decided to make that the focus for the year? What’s the potential you see with building for cloud.

[Holly]  - We've been investing in developing apps for cloud for the last 5 years, and made "Cloud First" an official company-wide initiative in 2017. We’ve consistently seen really strong performance on cloud versions of our best-selling server and data center apps — like Advanced Tables for Confluence, the Atlassian Command Line Interface (CLI) family of products, and Announcer for Confluence Cloud. And we’ve found that people who try our apps on cloud become paying customers at a noticeably higher rate than server customers. We believe that is due in part to the ease of getting started in cloud. 

For us, being "Cloud First" means that we're committed to launching new apps on cloud first before potentially bringing them over to server or data center. And it means that we’re investing heavily to bring all our server and data center apps to cloud, where possible. To support this goal, we’ve been training our developers internally and acquired two highly experienced cloud experts from the Atlassian ecosystem to join our team earlier this year. Since they came onboard, we’ve been able to leverage their expertise and accelerate our cloud app development. In fact, we just released a cloud version of a long-time server customer favorite — Graphviz Diagrams for Confluence — and we’ve been really happy to see the immediate interest in it!


You’ve been working on a few new cloud apps this year. Can you tell me about those apps and what opportunities you saw when developing them?

[Holly] -  Sure! We recently launched the first app under our new Feed Three brand: Smart Queues for Jira Service Desk Cloud. It’s a really powerful and elegantly built app that makes it easier for Jira Service Desk agents to sort, filter, and search within their queues, and it cuts down on busy work for admins, like creating and managing endless custom queues. The app has gained a good bit of momentum this year and we’re excited to keep gathering feedback from customers on how it’s helping them work. We’ve also been investing in R&D for some additional new cloud apps that I can’t share just yet… but stay tuned!


What have you been hearing from your customers about cloud apps? Are there certain server apps customers have been requesting?

[Holly] - We recently surveyed a subset of our server customers and received nearly 1,000 responses. We were excited to learn that about 1/3 of our customers had already deployed some cloud instances or were in the process of moving to cloud. And almost 50% of our server customers told us that they have an interest in moving to cloud — with 15% already seriously considering migrating. These results validated our corporate “Cloud First” initiative and made us even more confident in the investments we’re making.

We’ve been hearing from customers that there’s a demand to bring just about all of our server apps to cloud. We have 60 apps in our portfolio, so we’ve focused first on a combination of top-selling Jira and Confluence apps and apps that we consider to have a lot of potential because so many people who try them out end up buying them. 

In addition to our recent Graphviz Diagrams for Confluence release, I’m excited to share that we’re getting very close to launching cloud versions of two other Confluence customer favorites in the coming months: Markdown for Confluence and HTML for Confluence. And we’re in active development for cloud versions of Create on Transition for Jira, Update on Transition for Jira, Agile Board Template Builder for Jira, and Clone Plus for Jira — some of our top-selling products across the portfolio.

Beyond getting existing server apps ready for cloud, we also want to make sure our customers have a good experience with our cloud apps, so we’ve focused on building a dedicated product experience team to make our apps easier, and more fun to use.


Is there anything you think Atlassian customers should know about cloud apps?

[Holly] - Yes! We love cloud because it’s proven to be the fastest way for customers to get started using Atlassian tools. It’s easier to set up, lower cost, and you don’t need your own hardware. We’re working hard to make sure new customers and existing server customers who are considering migrating have access to the apps and functionality they need to be successful using Atlassian cloud. 

If you’re an Atlassian customer considering a move to cloud, I highly recommend letting your app vendors know about your plans via their support portals. We at Appfire (and I think most vendors would agree) love to hear from our customers and are always on the lookout for people who might be willing to provide feedback on cloud apps that are in progress. Drop us a note and let us know what your cloud plans are!


What’s next on your roadmap in regards to cloud?

[Holly] - We have turned the majority of our team’s focus toward cloud app development and cloud release preparation. In addition to the apps I mentioned before, we anticipate going to market with a mix of additional server-to-cloud app releases and new app launches throughout 2020. We welcome feedback on our cloud roadmap from any customers, evaluators, partners, and app vendors, so we can continue to focus on bringing the most sought-after apps and experiences to cloud as soon as possible. This is a top priority across all teams at Appfire. We’re all in on cloud!


If you’re considering moving to cloud, make sure to visit the Cloud Migration Center for more best practices, guides, and resources. Check out the next article in our cloud app series on “Evaluating Jira Cloud with BI tools”. 



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