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Digital Workplace Summit 2016 Close-Up – Get to know our gold partner eazyBI

Novem­ber is get­ting clo­ser and so is the Digi­tal Work­place Sum­mit by Communardo. The­re­fore we would like to intro­duce our gold part­ner eazyBI.

For those who don’t know, What is eazyBI?

eazyBI is a power­ful repLogo easyBI Gold-Partner Digital Workplace Summit DWSCorting and visua­liza­t­ion add-on for JIRA Ser­ver and JIRA Cloud. It makes com­plex reporting with mul­ti­ple cal­cu­la­ted and com­bi­ned values finally pos­si­ble from wit­hin JIRA. With eazyBI you can import, visua­lize, and ana­lyze data from JIRA Soft­ware, JIRA Ser­vice Desk, Tempo Time­s­heets, Zephyr and other popu­lar add-ons.

When was eazyBI founded?

It was five years ago, back in 2011. I star­ted this com­pany and built the initial ver­sion of eazyBI all by myself. The ideas was to make busi­ness intel­li­gence (BI) for small and medium busi­nes­ses afforda­ble and easy-to-use.

What was wrong with existing BI systems?

Not so long ago BI sys­tems had to be built around data sour­ces and data wareh­ou­ses. Those solu­ti­ons were often very expen­sive, very com­plex, and usually requi­red a team of deve­l­o­pers to set them up and imple­ment. A spe­cial skill-set was requi­red to pre­pare usa­ble reports and dash­boards for the com­pany.

Small and medium busi­ness owners were left with slow and inef­fi­ci­ent data­base solu­ti­ons, spreads­heets, and sta­tic charts.

How did you decide to create a plugin for JIRA?

Actually eazyBI did not start as a plugin for JIRA. It was built as a multi-pur­pose BI tool that can import data from many data sour­ces: SQL data­ba­ses, REST API, CSV and Excel files, and many popu­lar web app­li­ca­ti­ons like JIRA, Base­camp, Highrise, Fresh­Books, Har­vest, Zen­desk.

I have been using JIRA in various soft­ware deve­lop­ment pro­jects since 2005. As a CTO in a large IT ser­vices com­pany, I nee­ded regu­lar JIRA pro­ject and issue sta­tus reports. Back then I used various reporting and BI tools to build these reports myself, but JIRA ver­si­ons kept chan­ging. The initial setup and main­ten­ance of those reporting tools became very com­plex, time con­su­ming, and error-prone.

Many JIRA users spend hours to down­load issues from JIRA, create com­plex reports in Excel, and then paste report screen­shots in Power­Point or publish online. One of our cust­o­m­ers told us that she used to spend a full day every month to pre­pare JIRA reports in Excel.

There was a real need for a stan­dar­di­zed JIRA reporting and BI solu­tion. The inte­gra­tion with Atlas­sian JIRA was a natu­ral and logi­cal choice.

BI Tool easyBI Gold-Partner Digital Workplace Summit DWSC

How did the integration go?

eazyBI was initi­ally imple­men­ted as a hosted SaaS (Soft­ware as a Ser­vice) solu­tion on eazybi.com, sup­porting REST API data import from JIRA. It quickly got noti­ced, but JIRA Ser­ver users wan­ted to install and use eazyBI on their own ser­vers, so we had to package eazyBI as an add-on.

Because eazyBI was not inten­ded as a JIRA add-on, it was built using “Ruby on Rails”. JIRA, on the other hand, is built using Java, making both sys­tems very dif­fi­cult to com­bine. Finally I found a way to package eazyBI as a JIRA Java plugin using JRuby which is a Ruby imple­men­ta­tion on Java Vir­tual Machine.

The initial packa­ging of eazyBI as a JIRA plugin was a very dif­fi­cult chal­lenge. But by the end of 2012, eazyBI was finally packa­ged and released as a JIRA plugin on Atlas­sian Mar­ket­place. Now we reap the bene­fits of having one sin­gle eazyBI source code base. We can deploy eazyBI as a cloud hosted ser­vice, an installable JIRA plugin, or as a stan­da­lone Pri­vate eazyBI solu­tion. This gives eazyBI a fle­xi­bi­lity that reaches way bey­ond Atlas­sian eco­sys­tem.

Was it worth it?

Yes, defi­ni­tely! Atlas­sian tur­ned out to be a very suc­cess­ful chan­nel for us. eazyBI became one of the Top 10 third party JIRA plug­ins in only six months.

In 2013, when Atlas­sian released the Atlas­sian Con­nect frame­work for JIRA Cloud, eazyBI became the first Atlas­sian Con­nect add-on on Atlas­sian Mar­ket­place because we alre­ady had our own SaaS plat­form.

In 2014 eazyBI was awar­ded as the Top Gros­sing Atlas­sian Con­nect Add-on.

You mentioned other eazyBI tools beside JIRA Add-ons

Yes, eazyBI is avail­able not only as an Add-on for JIRA Cloud and JIRA Ser­ver, but also as an eazyBI Cloud and eazyBI Pri­vate Ser­ver, sup­porting addi­tio­nal data import sour­ces like Base­camp, Highrise, Zen­desk, Har­vest, Fresh­Books, CSV and Excel files, Goo­gle Sheets, REST API, SQL, and others.

The Pri­vate eazyBI Ser­ver also sup­ports custom inte­gra­ti­ons with other web app­li­ca­ti­ons and data wareh­ou­ses. Many cust­o­m­ers have embed­ded eazyBI as a reporting and dash­boar­ding tool for their in-house custom built sys­tems. One of our part­ners has built a new eazyBI based pro­duct flex.bi – a cust­o­mi­zed reporting and dash­boar­ding solu­tion for Han­sa­World busi­ness manage­ment sys­tem.

What are the main benefits of using eazyBI?

eazyBI helps crea­ting custom ad-hoc reports and charts from JIRA data more easily. Cust­o­m­ers can create sim­ple com­mon JIRA reports them­sel­ves. At the same time, if there are more com­plex needs, eazyBI also pro­vi­des many advan­ced set­tings, cal­cu­la­ti­ons, and exten­sion points to satisfy most deman­ding users.

It is pos­si­ble to per­form a real time ana­ly­sis and data dis­co­very by dril­ling through the details of eazyBI reports and charts. You can’t do that in sta­tic Power­Point sli­des or Excel charts.

With eazyBI com­pa­nies can fully auto­mate collec­tion and publis­hing of main KPIs (Key Per­for­mance Indi­ca­tors). This can save hund­reds of work hours a year by adding live data reporting, visua­liza­t­ion, and ana­ly­sis tools right inside JIRA dash­boards and Con­flu­ence pages. Some eazyBI users even dis­play eazyBI dash­boards on large moni­tors in their offices to keep ever­yone up-to-date with pro­ject sta­tu­ses and main busi­ness KPIs.

Many eazyBI users don’t know that they can use eazyBI for other data ana­ly­sis needs as well. JIRA cust­o­m­ers typi­cally dis­co­ver eazyBI as a JIRA reporting tool, but eazyBI sup­ports other data sour­ces as well. In the eazyBI for JIRA add-on, cust­o­m­ers can import data from any REST API or SQL data­base source and com­bine that data with JIRA data.

Because eazyBI was not inten­ded as a JIRA add-on, our tech­no­logy stack is dif­fe­rent. This gives eazyBI cer­tain advan­ta­ges, inclu­ding secu­rity, sta­bi­lity, speed of deve­lop­ment, cross-plat­form infra­struc­ture and com­pa­ti­bi­lity with dif­fe­rent sys­tems and app­li­ca­ti­ons. There are only few plugin deve­l­o­pers who are using Ruby and Ruby-on-Rails in their add-on deve­lop­ment.

Are you still building eazyBI alone?

gold partner digital workplace summit dwsc easybi
No, not any­more. I hired our first deve­l­oper about one year after laun­ching eazyBI. Now there are ten of us in the team. We are all working remo­tely from 6 dif­fe­rent cities and towns in Lat­via, we don’t have an office. To com­mu­ni­cate effi­ci­ently we use chat, screen sharing, weekly remote mee­tings, and all-team on-site mee­tings about once per month.

A few times a year we all tra­vel toge­ther to con­fe­ren­ces and events. Whe­ne­ver pos­si­ble, we rent large apart­ments and stay toge­ther. This way we get to know each other bet­ter, making these busi­ness trips as great team-buil­ding events as well.

 


Meet Communardo and eazyBI at Digital Workplace Summit 2016 in Dresden

Confluence & JIRA Community Day

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