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For this month's partner spotlight, we're featuring TNG Technology Consulting! We caught up with some of their Senior Consultants: Matthias Bertsch, Eckhard Maaß, and Johannes Kästle about getting started on Marketplace, and the road ahead.
Atlassian: How was your company started?
TNG: The company was founded in January 2001, aiming to create an optimal corporate structure for highly-qualified specialists with a focus on information technology. To achieve this goal, the founders combined results from operational research with characteristics of established corporate role models, as well as their own ideas. The result is a value-based consulting partnership focused on high-end information technology.
We have been using Atlassian products internally since 2004 and supporting our customers with a dedicated Atlassian Team since 2007. In addition to self-developed apps, TNG also offers services for Confluence, Jira, Bitbucket and other Atlassian tools. We help our clients with the introduction and installation of these services, as well as with custom-made solutions, training, and support. In addition to our Atlassian Team, we also offer services in the following areas: Agile Software Development, DevOps & Cloud, and Artificial Intelligence in which we combine state-of-the-art tools with innovative ideas. The outstanding achievements of our colleagues are reflected in the CASE Employer Ranking 2022 for the brightest employees, in which TNG ranked 1st place in the field of Consulting. We believe in teamwork, fast communication, as well as close cooperation with our customers.
Atlassian: What's your role at your company?
Matthias: As a team responsible for a product in an otherwise project-oriented consulting company, we have a rather special role as we are confronted with topics that other teams in the company typically do not have to think about.
In general, we are responsible for all topics concerning the Atlassian Apps that TNG offers in the Atlassian Marketplace. This is not only the development but also includes other topics such as marketing and responding to support requests from customers.
Atlassian: What's your favorite thing about working there? What’s your favorite team ritual?
Johannes: The best thing about working at TNG is the freedom that every employee has. For example, every employee has a “Techday” twice a month where they can openly choose what kind of training they want to attend and which new technologies to learn about. Of course, this also comes with the responsibility of choosing the best training for yourself. Such a high degree of freedom is also part of our daily work, where the team is responsible for deciding which apps to develop.
We think that this approach keeps all of us happy and motivated.
As a Munich-based company, we use the traditional “Weißwurstfrühstück” as a team ritual. Once a month, we meet with the team in the morning and have breakfast together with Weißwürste and Brezn.
Atlassian: How does your team come up with ideas for new apps?
Eckhard: Ideas typically evolve from internal use cases or our clients' needs. As an Atlassian partner, we constantly see how our clients use the Atlassian products and which challenges they tackle. This is a great source of inspiration. By solving these challenges with apps that we subsequently also offer in the Atlassian Marketplace, we create value not only for our direct clients but also for other people that might face the same or a similar challenge.
Atlassian: Think back to when you were developing your flagship app – did you see yourself here now? What do you think has been the secret to your success so far?
Eckhard: Let us share some thoughts about Multivote & Enterprise Survey for Confluence: It isn't only our flagship, but also an app with quite a history! The first lines of code can be traced to over a decade ago. It started off with a really simple tool that satisfied an internal need to make quick polls in Confluence. It also created a running gag within TNG – on every occasion where this app could fit there was someone asking, “Have you already heard of Multivote?”. At that point, nobody foresaw what the future would hold, even though we provided this app to our Atlassian consulting customers as well.
After some time, a need for a more sophisticated tool arose internally. At TNG, we try to listen to the needs and inputs of all consultants and so we organize retreats on a regular basis to talk about how to improve the company, and it also serves as an opportunity to get to know each other better. Such events come with a bunch of questions that need to be answered by each colleague, such as how to get to the venue, what dietary requirements you have, and so on. We also wanted to have the app integrated into Confluence, as it is a central part of our communication structure at TNG. As there was no tool available that fit our needs, we created “Enterprise Survey“ and merged it with Multivote.
Atlassian: Tell us about your most popular app. Why do customers love it?
Matthias: Our most popular app is Multivote & Enterprise Survey for Confluence.
Organizing and managing meetings, workshops, or events for colleagues and customers can be a time-consuming hassle. Here our app comes in and simplifies all of the above by offering an easy way to create, manage and use dynamic surveys. It offers two macros: Multivote and Survey. With Multivote, you can make fast decisions for your team. With Survey, you can create complex questionnaires directly in Confluence.
Planning our next team event with Multivote in Confluence Cloud
Why do customers love it? It's a fast, easy, efficient, and dynamic way to get input from your team.
We also made further changes when we migrated the app to the Cloud as a Forge app. Multivote needed to be re-implemented from scratch as it was not possible to migrate the Data Center version. With Enterprise Survey, we could reuse many parts. However, we gave it a great facelift and worked on its usability! We are pretty proud of the outcome and also see adoption in the Cloud, which we didn't expect, but obviously hoped for!
There is no real secret to the app. We combine the high standard of software development at TNG with a focus on the real-world needs of Atlassian users to provide solid software that is useful. Which is often easier said than done ;-)
Atlassian: Do you have any new apps or projects you want us to know about?
Johannes: We are eager on bringing our most popular apps to the Cloud using Forge. In the last year, we released Custom Content for Jira, Bar Charts for Jira, and Multivote & Enterprise Survey for Confluence.
Currently, we are working on rebuilding the Workflow Enhancer for Jira Cloud. The Workflow Enhancer is an old app from the early Jira days that allows users to add so-called “Universal Conditions”, “Universal Validators” and “Post Functions”, where you can put in arbitrary expressions to check on the transitioned issue. This requires some experience with writing expressions but allows for powerful and flexible transition rules.
Another spotlight we would like to give is the Next Generation Translator for Confluence. During Covid, TNG expanded internationally to Austria, Estonia, Hungary, Bulgaria, and even Australia. This forced us to provide English versions of our apps (previously offered in German). Thus, we have written an integration for Confluence with a self-hosted AI-based translation backend that allows you to translate every Confluence page with one click. Since then, we extended the app to also support other backends such as DeepL and more languages, and we also got it approved for Data Center.