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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

17. Oktober 2016

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