Why I work as an Atlassian evangelist but don’t invest in the company

I have been a full-time Atlassian system evangelist for more than twelve years gaining considerable experience and insight into the company’s key offerings.

Atlassian has a very powerful bundle of fully integrated products but there is trouble brewing in paradise.

Development on Atlassian’s first product suite (the “Server” platform) ground to a halt years ago, even bug fixing is spotty at best. Some rudimentary development did continue on the special purpose “Data Center” platform though.

Since 2015, Atlassian’s focus has been on the Cloud version of the suite, leaving existing customers increasingly exasperated. But the revenue stream continued to rise due to Atlassian’s unique model charging 50% of the license price for upgrades and maintenance.

Then, in the fall of 2000, Atlassian notified its customers, many of whom are large enterprises, that the Server platform would be discontinued Feb 2024. So that revenue stream will dry up.

But isn’t the Cloud strategy great? No, not as the primary option.

Cloud means fewer features and slower performance. Have I tried Cloud? Yes, several times. The performance penalty is excruciating and the loss of functionality has been devastating for those customers who spent years building on the platform. Other customers with modest requirements and low expectations focusing on simplicity might be happy with what Cloud offers, but it’s not for everybody.

As current Server customers, we are now left with the following options from Atlassian:

  • Migrating to Data Center (about double the current cost to preserve our current functionality and performance - still not knowing if Atlassian will continue to develop that platform),
  • Migrating to the Cloud (about double the cost per license seat, tons of migration, loss of everything else including user experience),
  • OR, we could vote with our feet and abandon Atlassian all together using Microsoft’s 365 product suite that we also license (who can honestly claim they don’t have and use these products already?). This is the preferred option for CFOs and many IT departments.

It could well be a bloodbath. So I’m NOT going to add TEAM to my portfolio anytime soon. Sorry for spoiling your party.


Do you believe the Atlassian suite is superior to Microsoft’s 365 suite? This senior freshman Fool would like to know.

It depends. For collaboration, definitely. I would prefer even the Cloud platform over anything Microsoft has come up with that I know, for issue handling, documentation but also for building entire management systems. However, Microsoft Loop might be worth exploring before making a final decision.

The problem is that your CFO may not want to cover the cost per license seat that Atlassian is charging, especially not in companies married to a Microsoft infrastructure, unless you have a very persuasive Atlassian sponsor.

Costs aside, Atlassian Cloud offerings are good at basic collaboration and are very easy to use. And Atlassian’s (on-prem) Data Center (~ Server) is fantastic at what it can do. Both offerings come with an app store filled with paid and free extensions. It’s Lego for grown-ups.

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Thanks for the quick informative response. TEAM will be added to my watch list.

Interesting perspective. I’ve been a “poweruser” of both the Atlassian “legacy” server product and the Cloud versions of JIRA and Confluence over the last 8 years. While I don’t have direct exposure to the cost side, I have had a much more positive experience with the Cloud suite than OP’s.

The server side product at my installation was first customized with hundreds of narrow use pattern adoptions, then its support was minimized to lights on-only, the configuration frozen and support basically eliminated (outsourced). The legacy product was basically slightly more useful than using custom MS Excel spreadsheets or Smartsheets. Not the product’s fault, really - the CIO’s decision to slash costs.

By contrast, the Cloud suite has had periodic new functionality drops/releases, bug fixes, etc and has slowly incrementally evolved; but it’s still the same foundation (JIRA is a huge, flat database of list items underneath a secured and possibly over-engineered set of user interface templates & workflow management processes.). I’ve seen very occasional performance problems, it’s usually very fast. What it’s still missing is a useful, higher level planning suite - they tried too hard to mimic MS Project IMO, which has always been a bad idea.

As OP mentioned O365, I’ve briefly scanned MS Planner within Teams. It’s ok if an org has fully bought into Teams and its Channel-based taxonomy; it’s a decent, basic task planner and Gantt-ish and backlog chart viewer but my experience with it was limited and short.

Similar to op’s, my reasons for not investing in TEAM are the increasing cost of supporting/enhancing the suite, which impacts its adoption among enterprises, competing against the wide array of cloud-based planning tools on the market now vs 10 years ago.

(anti-TLDR: JIRA itself was late to the agile planning game, beaten there by Rally - a much better for-Agile-purpose tool which sold itself to Computer Associates and then got sold again to Broadcom.)

I understand all of your concerns but saying that companies might choose Microsoft over Atlassian is a bit crazy - I have no idea what is the size of the companies you’re talking about, but I work as a Technical Project Manager in an agency that provides digital solutions and our clients are all international companies, every single one of them are migrating to the cloud especially because of their Jira projects.

These are huge and very international companies with massive amount of data, they cannot just switch to Microsoft and start over everything from scratch there - years of data would be lost. Valid points, but lacking the right perspective.

TLDR: None of the large-sized companies can afford to lose their Jira projects in any way.

As a web designer I’ve been forced to use Jira as a task/time management software and my perspective on why I believe Atlassian might start to suffer is that Jira has a very weak User Interface (UI) and lack of personal task management and time blocking features that are offered by their competitors like ClickUp. Its a very confusing UI for new users and has legacy layout informed by its self hosted desktop app built in the early 2000s. They make very few feature updates compared to Basecamp who is rolling out new features weekly.

I really dislike Jira and because of the reason stated above I’m adverse to investing in Jira. Unless anyone believes differently? I’d like to hear other opinions.