Tag Archives: JIRA

Any Organization, Any Industry – The Vegas Casino Story

Every industry has it’s own unique issues within their collaboration story. And the story doesn’t end when your organization buys an enterprise collaboration platform like IBM Connections.

Why? Because, no doubt, you use many tools in your work day to organize and share data, keep track of clients and leads, manage issues or a git repository, etc. Think about it – all these tools to get things done and collaborate with data, processes, and people in your organization, and all of it in different systems that don’t talk with each other. Collaboration? Hmm – more like two steps forward, one step backward given all those silo’d systems!

Maybe you have a fragmented email culture as well – which creates churn, politics, and other linear work models and inefficiencies. Perhaps all your silo’d tools prevent cross-enterprise engagement and lead to miscommunications and confusions?

IBM Connections “Integrated” by AppFusions – a platform to bring all your systems together in unlimited contextual communities – is the solution to your problems.  It’s time to stop wasting time, bouncing all over the place! It’s time to work smarter and faster, drive attention to key content in context, and reduce data and process duplication efforts. It’s time to streamline your workflow. Finally, a collaboration solution that “just works” – 24/7 for you.

In the spirit of this month’s IBM InterConnect in Las Vegas (see you there!), let’s think about IBM Connections “Integrated” – in a real-life scenario … Meet Vincent, a Las Vegas native.

Photo: www.westgatedestinations.com
Photo: www.westgatedestinations.com

Hello, I am Vincent.

I run a large Vegas casino hotel with high rotating traffic, which results in a very high volume of documentation – from employee data to guest information to incident reporting to housekeeping management records… yeah, it’s A LOT.

For years, given the diversity of our workforce, data was tracked via our central Facilities office that doubled as HR. They use a number of systems to get their job done. Over time, however, Facilities began to balk at the enormous amount of documentation, the many incident and record tracking systems, and the different levels of expertise required for HR.

HR was spun-out as a separate department, but we decided to move all our data records into Dropbox, categorized by different types. We also deployed JIRA ServiceDesk for incident tracking, and records associated with incidents were attached to the logged incidents. This helped a great deal, but still, it’s a never ending chase.

The HR spin-out was a good thing, but it brought to light other issues, of lacking real-time community communications, relationship development, and ongoing collaboration. While the data tracking and records issues were solved partly, we ended up with more systems and no central place for the many types of communities the casino needed (internally and externally)…

Enter IBM Connections integrated with Dropbox and JIRA ServiceDesk. We are thrilled with the new system since now everyone is looking at other ways to improve our work processes via integrations into the IBM Connections system. The good thing is everyone is aligned, in one home – the silo’d system is gone.  

The journey is just beginning – we hope to also build communities within Connections for our external customers that are regulars. By connecting with those customers closer, we can grow our relationships and they will come back more often. We are also excited about the IBM Connections integration with Salesforce – it’s about time we had access to our CRM within our HR and Account Management communities!

Thanks for reading! Vincent’s Vegas casino story is one of hundreds … unsure how your industry or organization would benefit from IBM Connections “Integrated?” Contact us at info@appfusions.com, and we’ll help you connect the dots!

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Again, if you like what you find here, please join the conversation through our comment fields!

Rock on,

The AppFusions team

Post by Rosalie Plofchan, Marketing Manager of AppFusions

Why IBM Connections + “Pink” + AppSpokes are perfect for each other

One of the biggest stories at last week’s IBM Connect is IBM Connections Pink. According to its creator at IBM, Pink is not an IBM Connections’ release, but a vision.

There were several sessions on Pink. I went to one led by CTO and Director of IBM Collaborations Solutions Software Development, Jason Gary, and another by Pink’s lead architect and developer, Andre Hagemeier.

Here is why I think Pink and AppSpokes are made for each other. (AppSpokes in AppFusions’ growing family of deep integration solutions for IBM Connections cloud and on-premise systems – PDF brief here).

First of all both emphasize an exceptional user experience as the #1 objective.

People are at the heart of the digital workplace – past, current and future.

IBM Connections “Pink” promises to provide a customizable UI for IBM Connections using “Muse” (another technology built for IBM Connections) for customer experiences, which allows for tenant-specific javascript code to be injected into IBM Connections. UI customization can be added to the App Registry, a central repository for all types of IBM Connections’ platform extensions (including IBM Verse extensions).

AppSpokes’ extensibility solutions, by AppFusions, also have been created with an end-to-end emphasis of the user experience in mind. Though the AppFusions’ team are firm believers of the API economy, we are also pragmatic.

AppFusions’ CEO, Ellen Feaheny, said it very simply: “APIs are not enough!” in her IBM Connect 2017 session, “Confront the Madness! All Your Tools and Systems of Record Integrated Natively in IBM Connections“. AppSpokes integrations provide a natively integrated user experience – and all the underlying integration “connectivity” technology – so everything “Just works!” in cloud or on-premise IBM Connections environments.

IBMConnectionsIntegrated


Second, both the Pink and AppSpokes teams realize that HOW YOU BUILD software is at least as important as WHAT YOU BUILD.
IBMConnectionsPinkTechnologiesAgain, AppSpokes is aligned with Pink: rapid agile development, open source technology, micro-service based architecture, multi-tenant services, single code base for cloud and on-premise environments, and containerized deployments are just a few examples of our shared vision and practices.

If you listened to the Pink sessions and the AppFusions’ sessions at IBM Connect 2017, you will agree that the people behind the visions and the work efforts too are risk-takers that are leading the tribes (as Seth Godin so poignantly describes!)


Last but not least, both Pink and AppSpokes are ultimately about strategy. That is, the customer platform experience strategy, not just IBM’s or AppFusions’ strategy.

PinkHow
Strategy – people first. Build the HOW with the WHO.

Both believe extensibility is a core part of a lasting strategy for digital collaboration in the enterprises. Both embrace open ecosystems with partners in mind.


IBMConnectionsPinkAtAglance
It’s a foundational strategy with “the people’s experience” at the heart.

With the motto of “Everything is an API”, Pink will allow both “Integrate In” and “Integrate Out” between your external applications and your enterprise social network.

The goal of AppSpokes is to power your IBM Connections environment, enabling powerful enterprise collaboration desktop with ready solutions, packaged yet extensible for easy deployments and enablement,UI-rich integrations, SSO, and capabilities through community and profile apps, activity streams, embedded experiences, menu items, macros and much more in IBM Connections (and soon IBM Verse).

AppSpokes implements “integrate in and out” designs – bringing your external applications inside IBM Connections so you can work from one platform, with unlimited contextual communities. For example, in the JIRA in IBM Connections integration, not only can you create, comment, and transition a JIRA issue in-context within your IBM Connections community, you can also link back to IBM Connections from your JIRA issue or task, among other.


At the closing session of IBM Connect 2017, composer Eric Whitacre showed us how the collaboration of thousands of singers across the globe can create the most beautiful music that lifts our spirit, touches our heart, and changes our view.

Like that! Let’s apply that viral tribe building joyful notion to IBM Connections’ extensibility, growth, and delight!

IBM Connect was a fabulous conference – the beginning of a new era – this year. The AppFusions’ team greatly looks forward to our continued work with the IBM Connections’ team, IBM partners, and of course and NOT least: IBM customers, to bring the richest and best experiences – IBM Connections (Pink) “Integrated” – to you!

EricWhitacre
Eric Whitacre conducting his virtual choir – a bold, unique, and beautiful “tribe” that he and his team created.

 

Accelerate access to your JIRA 6.1 with Google Apps SSO Authenticator for JIRA

Earlier this month, Atlassian released JIRA 6.1, the very latest in their increasingly slick and easy to use project and issue tracking system. The latest release introduces an improved workflow editor as well as improved search.
Love Candy!
JIRA 6.1 is all about making change happen faster, for everyone in the organization.

For users of Google Apps, what better way of increasing productivity for all than automating the JIRA sign-in process using your existing Google Apps account. Minutes saved are minutes accumulated are minutes earned!

AppFusions’ Google Apps SSO Authenticator for JIRA simplifies user management. It automatically assigns users to groups and optionally automates JIRA user creation.

Find out more in this video:

Try it now by grabbing an evaluation.

If you find this useful, why not improve your Atlassian Confluence sign-in process too with Google Apps SSO Authenticator for Confluence. More details can be found in this video:

Try it now by grabbing an evaluation.

 


The AppFusions team provides tough-problem expert-level product development and consulting servicesOur portfolio of solutions is a prime example of our expertise, aside from much other community involvement. Nonetheless, we are only at the beginning of our journey.

Please reach out any time. We know we can help you – it is our relentless obsession and passion!

Atlassian Stash Powers Enterprise Application Developers with DVCS Git

Jens Schumacher, Group Product Managerm Atlassian Development Tools

I have written about Atlassian on this blog (see for example: Atlassian Makes Significant Moves into the Enterprise Market). In this post, I focus on Atlassian Stash. It provides Git repository management for Enterprise teams behind the firewall.

I spoke with Jens Schumacher, Atlassian’s Group Product Manager for developer tools. These tools include: Bamboo, Crucible, Fisheye, and Stash. Bamboo provides continuous integration and release management. Crucible supports code review and Fisheye allows you to search out source code artifacts of various source code management flavors and browse commits, files, revisions, or related people. It also integrates seamlessly with JIRA.

Enter Stash! Stash incorporates the latest and greatest technologies in DVCS source code management and Git, allowing you to create and manage repositories, set up fine-grained permissions, and collaborate on code in a secure, fast and enterprise-grade manner.

Jens continued, providing me more background on the development of Stash.

Stash is the latest in Atlassian’s developer tools suite and was released in the Spring of 2012. Atlassian’s existing developer tools are already quite popular in development houses, but still the developers wanted more. They wanted to be able to host code in their own repository behind the firewall.

More – engineers are always pushing the envelope: they wanted Git support, a massively popular and growing DVCS approach used in code development and management these days.

To cleanly meet this need in both a tool and extensibility, Atlassian decided to build Stash from scratch including a ground up extensible API approach, rather than on top of their existing tools.

Stash incorporates code review into the development workflow so the new code gets properly reviewed before it is merged with the existing source code.

To facilitate development, Stash allows developers to set up branches, where code changes can be made in isolation and reviewed before being integrated with the mainline. This separation makes development of new features less complex.

You can easily have new code reviewed while incorporating automated testing tools as well. Stash facilitates the merging of reviewed code into the core source code. This concept of a separate workflow for development is popular with open source efforts and Atlassian has now taken a leading industry position with the Stash offering, enabling this capability inside the firewall.

Integration efforts with Stash are already supported in a number of ways.

  • Per Jens, 80% of the Fortune 500, as well as many many smaller firms, use Atlassian JIRA for issue tracking.Stash is fully integrated with JIRA so you can link code in Stash to a JIRA ticket and track the progress of changes.
  • Stash also natively integrates with enterprise user directory systems, such as Active Directory or LDAP, to make deployment easier within the enterprise.In addition, again, Stash was built with an extensive REST API to make information within Stash easily integrate-able with other tools.

Jens gave me a simple use case. Their customers often want to migrate content from one repository to another or from the cloud to within the firewall. Stash can automate aspects of this common process to simplify the effort.

In the future, Stash will be enhanced with more branch permission capabilities to better ensure that all code gets reviewed before it is merged into the core source code. They are also working hard on scalability requirements to better serve their many large customers. Currently, Stash supports up to 500 user licenses. Finally, they are working on adding enhanced collaboration capabilities for code review.

Jens noted that Atlassian has a massive ecosystem. This is helpful as there already are a number of add-ons for Stash. For example, there is a badge add-on to acknowledge developers’ efforts and skills. Another is a chart add-on to provide statistics. AppFusions built a Stash commenting add-on for Atlassian’s annual CodeGeist competition. Also, add-ons are available to help with different workflows that organizations have in place.

On top of all that, Atlassian’s very popular SourceTree DVCS client further removes DVCS source code tool complexity, and is used to support and guide the process of adding new workflows with proper controls within branching efforts, among other.

Customer response has been very positive since the release of Stash earlier this year. The timing was right for the release, as developers were ready for it.

Jens’ team is now providing new releases every 7 – 9 weeks, with many of the new capabilities coming from customer input.

New needs are always arising in enterprise software development efforts, and many organizations and third party developers want to tackle these needs. Stash provides enhanced support for these efforts.

Alfresco Continues to Enhance Its Content Management Offering, Enabling More Integration Touchpoints

Alfresco provides open source enterprise content management serving a variety of use cases. I covered them earlier in the year (see: Alfresco Brings its Open Source Document Management to the Cloud). Recently I spoke with Jeff Potts, their Chief Community Officer, to get an update and to go into their integration strategy in more depth.

Jeff Potts, Chief Community Officer, Alfresco

As Chief Community Officer, Jeff leads the Alfresco community. This includes partners, employees, developers, customers, and anyone else with an interest in Alfresco.  Indeed this is a large order, with over 200K downloads, and growing, of their content management server software to date – so that’s a large community.

Jeff focuses on the health of the community and makes sure it has the right tools, tutorials, forums, blog aggregation, wikis, and whatever else is useful to support collaboration and continue its growth. He also conducts outreach to other relevant communities to expand its awareness and participation.

The Alfresco open source offering is built on a repository for files of all types: documents, audio, video, images, and other types. Expanded access is made possible through its API using CMIS, an industry standard that is also used by other tools such as SharePoint and Documentum. CMIS uses “Web services and Web 2.0 interfaces to enable information sharing across content management repositories from different vendors.”

There are several applications that Alfresco has added on top of their repository. Share is a main one and it allows for users to share documents, calendars, links to support collaboration. In addition to collaboration and content management, use cases for Alfresco include records management and digital asset management.

Alfresco provides an on-premise Enterprise version of their software that is offered with support subscriptions. There is also a free community version available through the LGPLv3 open source license.  This year they have added a multi-tenant SaaS offering. This relieves clients of any hosting responsibilities so they can focus on organizing and using their content, not supporting the backend. Both the on-premise and SaaS version (cloud) have the same software and user interface.

With the cloud version, users can share content within the same domain since it is a multi-tenant offering. The cloud version also has a few less features at the moment, as basic document management is the primary use case. So the calendar, blogs, and wikis are not enabled at the moment. There are plans to make them also available in the cloud version in the future.

Next we discussed the Alfresco’s integration strategy.

Alfresco’s goal is to make Alfresco as open and available as possible. They want any interested developer to be able to work in the tools they are comfortable with to connect to the repository and create integrations. To enable this availability they have built APIs for both the on-premise and cloud versions.  While CMIS covers such functions as create, read, update, delete, Alfresco wanted a richer experience, so they added additional features to the API specific to Alfresco such as rating and comments.

AppFusions has worked with Alfresco to create integrations with Atlassian’s JIRA issues tracking tool and Confluence wiki. Both integrations are plugin and play, and provide seamless integration with Alfresco document management capabilities.

  • Alfresco in JIRA

    The JIRA integration allows Alfresco documents to be accessed, previewed, linked, edited, and downloaded – all from inside JIRA. Here’s a video.

  • The Confluence integration allows users to embed and access Alfresco file lists. Users can also preview, embed, print, download Alfresco files from Confluence.
    Alfresco in Confluence, v3.0 – List Macro

    Finally, when you edit an Alfresco document in Confluence, you are able to edit it in your favorite local Office application (MS Office, Apache Open Office, NeoOffice), and when done – the file is auto-magically saved back to Alfresco. Here’s a video.

AppFusions also has a Alfresco to Crowd authenticator, allowing for SSO (single sign-on) and user management of Atlassian and Alfresco via Crowd.

Collectively, these integrations really bring powerful platforms and brands, together. Best of worlds!

Alfresco has also recently released support for iOS and Andriod to enable developers to build mobile app integrations.  They are also expanding CMIS client-side libraries to better work with what Alfresco offers.

Alfresco has its third annual user conference, DevCon, coming up in November. This year the European version will be in Berlin, November 6 and 7. The US version will be in San Jose November 14-15.

The conferences will include technical workshops by Alfresco engineers and partners, case examples by users, and keynotes by the Alfresco leadership team. Both conferences will be preceded by a day of workshops for those new to Alfresco so they can more thoroughly engage with the event.

Jeff sees the use of the cloud continuing to expand and I would certainly agree. Alfresco will continue to offer more capabilities through the cloud. As CMIS becomes more widely used, they will make more CMIS-related tools available.

Alfresco is certainly moving in the right direction, hitting three of the main themes in the application marketplace with its expanding capabilities in social, mobile, and the cloud.

 

iRise Provides Functional Application Simulations to Accelerate Software Development

Visualizations through iRise give users the ability to create visual, interactive prototypes of new software projects that look and act just like the real thing, before a single line of code is written. This can be a major help in application development. I have written a bit about iRise before (see AppFusions’ Integrations of iRise® Visualization with Atlassian JIRA, Confluence).

Recently, I spoke with Pete Indelicato, Senior Product Manager at iRise, to get a broader overview of their capabilities and an update on their latest moves. Pete primary responsibility is understanding customer needs and defining solutions to meet those needs.  He then works closely with the iRise team of engineers to build out the solutions, as well as marketing for sales enablement.

Pete Indelicato, Sr. Product Manager at iRise

Most recently, Pete has been focused on “platform capabilities” based on APIs that let partners and customers leverage and extend the iRise platform.  He also manages the relationships with their integration partners, like AppFusions.

These extensions, like the Jira and Confluence integrations, allow the iRise platform to better fit into customers’ various processes and ecosystems, and the APIs lets other organizations contribute to and customize the capabilities of the iRise platform. iRise is in the middle of creating a new set of APIs focused on events and analytics.

I asked Pete for a brief overview of their Enterprise offering and how iRise helps their customers.  He began by saying that while communication is key to successful software development, many teams still rely on static documents, pictures and low fidelity click-through prototypes to communicate requirements, interaction design, and more.

For today’s rich, interactive software, these types of communication tools are not enough. The iRise platform allows teams to define and develop software collaboratively while focusing on a high-fidelity iRise simulation as the key communication asset.

These simulations can be constructed in a few minutes by non-technical business analysts or user experience professionals, without writing a single line of code.  You simply have to drag and drop application components to build a simulation. Then you add functionality by drawing lines indicating the course of user interactivity and data flow. In the screenshot, you can see a sample iRise studio screen on a tablet and a smart.

The simulations can then be used to communicate with business and technical stakeholders to make sure the organization is building the right thing.  Then, using other platform capabilities (such as RM integrations and code generation), the latter stages of the software definition and development can benefit from the ultra-realistic iRise simulation.

Pete went over several use cases. First, requirements solicitation can be made more effective. It can be difficult to engage business people who provide requirements when you are limited to offering them a text summary of the design with some static screen shots or a low-fi prototype. With iRise, the designer can show their team how the application looks and, more importantly, works to gather much more effective feedback and reduce the number of iterations and rework.

This same principle operates for interaction designs. Interaction designers can experiment with multiple approaches to solving the same problem while gathering useful feedback from potential users without having to build the software.

Then downstream, communication between designers and implementors is facilitated through the use of simulations of the design that look and act like the designer’s vision. Meanwhile, many related tasks such as documentation and training development, and even selling, can get a critical jump start while the application is still being built based on the iRise simulations.

Pete said that the iRise simulations are the most realistic simulations you can create without writing code and that is one of the reasons they call them “simulations”, not “prototypes”. They not only look accurate (visual fidelity), but act accurate: the user interactions and the data/logic in the simulation are also high-fidelity.  This latter capability is particularly important for efficient software development.

In most cases, the simulations that their customers create are indistinguishable from the production product, developed through code, that comes out months later.

When you think about the level of engagement, quality of communication, and all the parallel activities that iRise simulations bring to the table, the advantage integrations and extensions into a variety of ecosystems becomes clear.

I next asked Pete about their application integration strategies.

He said that very few software engineering / development organizations have identical ecosystems (tools, processes, habits, etc.).  iRise could spend many many thousands of dollars trying to make a complex “one size fits all” product, but instead they are choosing to open their product to integration.  This strategy not only facilitates more efficient internal development of their iRise Connect products, but it allows customers like AT&T and partners like AppFusions to build additional extensions and integrations that help iRise fit in other ecosystems.

iRise Catalog in Confluence. Select Simulation to embed and collaborate around.

The simulations are built on web technologies (HTML, CSS3, etc.). That makes them easily embeddable into other web-based platforms like Confluence and JIRA.  Putting iRise simulations in context of the collaborative environments and other development assets (e.g. story cards) makes that blend of information an ultra-effective communication asset.  Then, when team members not familiar with iRise simulations start to see them embedded in streams and story cards, they will start asking “Where can I get one of those?!”

Pete offered specific use cases for the Confluence and JIRA integrations that AppFusions created. Developers often use the Confluence wiki to create requirements documents. You can embed iRise simulations right in the Confluence-based requirements documents (videolisting). For the JIRA integration,  the issue tracking tool, is often used for more granular requirements or specific issues. (video | listing.)

OCT 8 – 10, 2012 in Las Vegas, NV

Again, iRise simulations can make the communication and handling of these development related issues much more efficient and effective.

Visualize 2012 is this year’s version of iRise’s annual conference where they gather practitioners, customers, and thought leaders for three days of workshops, presentations and socializing.  The 2012 session will occur in Las Vegas, October 8-10.  Speakers include Graeme Hackland, the Lotus F1 Team’s IT/IS Director responsible for all the Team’s Information Systems and many members of the iRise team, including CEO, Emmet Keeffe. They will also be doing workshops on their iConnect capability covering all the ways to use their APIs.

Live preview of linked iRise Simulation in JIRA.

Pete said they are very excited about the potential of their APIs because every day, it seems, someone has a new, inventive idea about a new integration, report, extension, etc.  Of course, they build the APIs with specific use cases in mind, but without fail someone outside of iRise thinks of a way of using iRise APIs in ways they never thought of.  He added that it is a good day every time that happens!

Pete is thankful that innovative companies like AppFusions and SquareOne Solutions are willing to spend some time exploring the possibilities with them. As iRise moves forward it is continuing to expand the number and type of API calls to support further integrations. They are also making significant infrastructure changes to support their more rapid product development.