JIRA Service Desk Review

Transparency of the system helps both internal and external persons involved


What is our primary use case?

Optimizing the IT and support departments to handle tickets without "going under" in the amount of work that they are doing by organizing the most important and urgent things first.

How has it helped my organization?

JIRA SD releases pressure on the IT department and generates statistics. It also makes the department more transparent and helps the employees. JIRA SD also helps for much better feedback on the work being done. All colleagues can see what is happening. When the customer calls, everybody can see what is happening and the feedback via email when a ticket is modified makes sure the customer is informed and does not start calling. This releases pressure too.

What is most valuable?

Transparency of the system helps both internal and external persons involved. Statistics allow us to deploy resources where needed. It shows problem zones and where more capacity is needed or more training. JIRA SD also makes employees better as it helps them to feel more important when it comes to customer satisfaction.

What needs improvement?

In general, JIRA has no relation to customers or financials. Therefore, marketplace add-ons are needed to make it work for customer-facing systems.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No, it is running very stable, but only when you have a test system to try out things. As it is designed for developers, it is hard to convince developers to tamper with the production system.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Yes, a plain vanilla installation will only last for less than 100 users. Handling more requires better hardware and configurations.

How is customer service and technical support?

Atlassian only has a very expensive enterprise support contract (>$100K) or email/JIRA-Ticket support. That support is included when you buy the license. After a year, you only pay for this support and not the license anymore. It is 50% of the new license costs and called a "renewal".

I would suggest to always buy licenses through an Atlassian partner, so you can also rely on their expertise. This way you have two support contacts and does not cost you anything more, such a partner will also come to the location, which Atlassian will never do (Atlassian only does email (JIRA-Ticket support). Phone calls to Atlassian will always be sales support advising to file a JIRA support ticket. Tech support is mostly concentrated in Australia, so there is always a time zone delay for the tickets you raise.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We previously used CRM systems, like Vtiger CRM and SugarCRM. These are not intended for a development department.

How was the initial setup?

Setup (install) is straightforward, but needs tweaking when you are a heavy user.

Setup of the projects is made easier, but there is a lot more you can do beyond initial setup. The automations will really help the company by delegating work the way your company operates.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented with the aid of the vendor and external consultants.

What was our ROI?

It is hard to calculate costs you do not make.

It is also hard to calculate growing efficiency. 

I can see that JIRA avoids chaos and makes the whole company work more efficient as all feature requests and internal/external requests are all visible in the JIRA tickets and the Confluence wiki system.

It made money the first year already.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Costs are about $50 per user per year. JIRA is sold in user tiers of 25, 50, 100, 250, 500, 2000, 10,000, and unlimited users. It is bad when you have 51 users then the price is based on that 100 user tier. Users at 100 will be the most cost effective. 

JIRA Service Desk has different pricing as it is based on agents. On average, the price is about $300 per agent.

Do not forget to calculate add-on costs. These cost a percentage of the JIRA purchasing costs and are based on the number of JIRA users.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Not really, as it was much better than Bugzilla which we used before.

What other advice do I have?

Buying a software solution is only a half part of the solution (or even less). You need to optimize usage of the software by hiring professionals who will help you to make the most of the software, especially in the beginning. 

Repeat hiring of external consultancy every couple of years as knowledge fades out (people get different tasks to do). You should optimize your software infrastructure and re-evaluate it every three to four years to make optimal use of your infrastructure as the outside world changes very fast. Requirements also change.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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