Life In An All-Business App Store

Developers love Australian enterprise software company Atlassian for its first and most popular product, JIRA, used across many applications being developed by teams around the world. It’s a product that has grown beyond its developer focus, with Atlassian claiming that over a third of its users come from businesses units outside of software development, including sales, marketing, and HR. Key customers include NASA, Twitter, and Tesla.

Digging into Atlassian’s app marketplace reveals that great software isn’t just being created by big brand developer outfits or tech companies, but by small shops and teams of developers around the world. 

Servicing B2B businesses and clients through this marketplace, they’re part of a thriving app economy – real developers, real products and real payouts. I recently spoke to two development companies that are Atlassian vendors, Tempo and Zephyr, about their experiences in a B2B app store.  They reveal an interesting story often neglected by the excitement of B2C. 

Tempo


Tempo Logo

Tempo is one of the top-selling add-on vendors in the Atlassian ecosystem, offering a number of products that extend JIRA to help business teams collaborate, plan, track, and work more efficiently together. From tracking annual leave budgets and time off, to timesheets within project management, Tempo helps teams execute. I recently spoke with Jessica VanderVeen, Tempo’s VP Marketing & Communication, to learn a bit about the company. She revealed Tempo emerged from a start-up innovation day and their time-tracking system, launched in 2009, was one of the first to enter the system.

Tempo decided to join Atlassian’s marketplace early on, attracted to their “strong values and efficient sales model.” VanderVeen adds that Atlassian has “really set a good example for developers in the ecoyststem.”

“Being part of a marketplace like Atlassian has enabled us to create a lucrative product, increase brand awareness and marketing. It’s meant that all sales work has been migrated, enabling us to focus on development, doing what we are good at.” 

It’s been a good move for Tempo. They’ve grown from one to four products with a team of over 75, with offices in Reykjavík, Iceland, and Montréal, Canada. Their over-7,000 customers include Dell, Netflix, Ebay and BMW. 

Tempo won two awards at last November’s Atlassian Summit: top-selling cloud add-on at the Atlassian Marketplace and most creative marketing campaign that was actually a great April Fool’s Day prank. Yet they are still intent on focusing on what they do best – developing. “We’re really interested in building cloud solutions,” says VanderVeen. “We have additional products that we’d like to launch, and we want to continue to expand on mobile offering.”

Zephyr


 Zephyr logo

Zephyr is provider of on-demand, real-time enterprise test management solutions, providing developers with a test management tool to allow software developers and testers to manage all of their testing before they release their products on the unsuspecting public.

I spoke to Samir Shah, founder and CEO of Zephyr, about their experiences in deciding to join forces with Atlassian:

“We got in touch with Atlassian in 2008, actually when they had just opened an office here in San Francisco. Customers were actually asking us, ‘Hey, what about an integration to JIRA?’ We didn’t know what JIRA was at that point in time (and) when we did our research, (we) found it was something called Atlassian and they had an office in San Francisco. We met with them and we integrated our product with them. This was a refreshing different way of working because here we are, a small company walking up to this company and saying, ‘Hey, we want to integrate.’ They are like, ‘Sure. What do you want? Here is the source code. Here is the API. How can we help you?’ We’re like ‘Wait a second. Nobody works this way.’ Well, Atlassian did and they’ve continued to do that. It was extremely appealing to us to go off and build our integration. It didn’t just stop there.”

Like Tempo, Zephyr had found the independent marketplace challenging but rewarding:                

 “It’s not easy marketing and selling and going and finding your customers and dealing with them one by one to make sales happen. (But) we are adding ten new customers every single day off of these platforms. This shrinks the world. This shrinks the world in such a huge way. There was no way I was going to be able to sell my software in the Maldives. I can’t even find the Maldives on a map, let alone set up a sales team in an office and try and sell software to 106 different countries. That’s this whole change that we are seeing right now. Software is no more the purview of these large organizations that build huge monolithic suites that you have to buy as a whole. At this point in time, you buy exactly what and how much you want.”

It certainly seems that Zephyr is giving customers what they want, having grown from 20 to 80 people in the company over four years. They now have over 7,000 customers and more than 1 million users around the globe. With their success, Atlassian also reaps the benefits of the marketplace and the relationships it continues to build with these dynamic development teams    

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