Licence management is a sizeable challenge for one of Atlassian’s biggest client

About Ubisoft

Formed in Carentoire, Brittany, in 1986, Ubisoft is today one of the world’s leading companies in video game creation, publishing and distribution.

With over 10,000 employees working across six continents, Ubisoft boasts a diverse portfolio of renowned brands including Assassin’s Creed, Rainbow Six, Far Cry, Watch Dogs and Just Dance.

70 Jira installations and high quality targets for gaming

Ubisoft introduced Jira in 2007, initially in response to a need for optimised game quality management. The software has since become a real quality control platform, with a quick roll-out to production studios to facilitate collaborative working on projects and support game quality upstream.

Since it was implemented, Jira has won over some 8,000 employees, and on the basis of this experience, Ubisoft has deployed two other Atlassian products: Confluence and Bitbucket.

Ubisoft has 70 Jira installations running on several servers, with teams in Montreal, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Sydney, Osaka, Casablanca, Abu Dhabi, Puna and several cities in Europe, China and Japan.

Eric Lemay, Jira Application Administrator, explains that Jira architecture offers numerous advantages. These include «granular delegation of access rights and simplified maintenance by Ubisoft’s Jira team, which consists of six highly specialised people working on Jira full time.»

Jira is now used by staff in all teams and departments, from games production to purchasing, production of associated services, the Jira team itself and the teams that develop internal tools. Eric explains that all the teams converted to Jira very quickly with no real need for the internal Jira team to convince them: they simply advocated «freedom of use” and inspired “a willingness to boost collaboration through Jira».

The games production teams, which manage the production pipeline and project and task management, are the most active Jira users. Eric confirms that «the production teams are constantly looking to innovate and use the software as much as possible.» Within each production team, a support team manages a service platform with Jira Service Desk to manage all production-related requests centrally, responding as quickly as possible.

Speedy adoption across the board

The software’s intuitive interface is a significant advantage, and has helped drive adoption among users.

«In most of our teams, people develop an understanding of Jira by themselves. Our job is mainly about providing technical support and helping them to adapt the software to suit particular projects,” explains Eric. Ubisoft’s Jira team has developed internal standards so that employees can start a project very quickly and manage it in Jira “the way the team wants.»

After a few years of using Jira, users still comment that it saves a significant amount of time. «Jira allows them to focus on the work itself, rather than on managing it», Eric comments.

Employees are particularly positive about two points:

  • Jira makes it possible to use Agile working methods across projects on a day-to-day basis.
  • The ability to manage several projects independently in a single tool, with the added benefit of joint reporting. «With Jira, all data for all projects is held centrally, and it’s very useful to be able to run productivity calculations, analyse what is and isn’t working and adapt processes for all projects, either separately or in bulk», comments Eric.

On the administrative side, the team of Jira specialists is particularly keen on the software due to its:

  • Flexibility: «It’s very rare that you see Jira’s limitations - you can always find a solution or a workaround to get to where you want.»
  • Innovations: «What’s impressive about Jira is its adaptability – it’s always at the cutting edge.»
  • Ecosystem: «The Jira community is incredible and gives you access to numerous resources. There’s always someone who has done what you’re trying to do, somewhere around the world.»

Getting Jira licenses under control

Ubisoft is one of Jira’s biggest users, and a real expert in the software. It is one of a few Atlassian clients with a dedicated, highly qualified team of six people. With this level of in-house expertise, Ubisoft does not require any help configuring Jira to meet its needs. But with over 8,000 users, three products, 70 installations and numerous add-ons (including Jira Agile, Structure, Script runner and others), license management is a real issue.

Valiantys supports Ubisoft in managing this, helping employees save valuable time with central management of Jira licenses and add-ons, as well as consolidated management of renewal dates.

«The Valiantys teams’ experience in license management and their expertise in Atlassian products are very important for us – this means we can focus on our own work» explains Eric.

Valiantys, a facilitator in the global Jira community

Another aspect of Valiantys’ expertise the team has benefitted from, Eric continues, is its role as a facilitator within the Atlassian community. «In fact, thanks to Valiantys and its Atlassian network, we were able to form the Atlassian User Group (AUG) in Montreal a few months ago», he enthuses.

As a Jira expert, Ubisoft was keen to share its vast experience. Following its attendance at a community meeting 18 months previously, Ubisoft’s Jira team realised it had a lot of information, experiences and innovations to share.

The Montreal AUG, set up by Ubisoft, is growing quickly and is close to joining the biggest groups within the Atlassian ecosystem. According to Eric, «it was thanks to close cooperation with Valiantys, their contacts and the advertising they did that we were able to set up the AUG».

Finally, he notes the quality of the relationship with Valiantys as a key feature of the collaboration. «The answers we get are always quick and clear. If there’s something we need, Valiantys always has a solution to offer or someone we can contact. We’re extremely satisfied with our interaction with them.»

What's next?

Ubisoft’s Jira team is always at the cutting edge of new Atlassian developments. Its aim in the coming months is to continue to increase use and adapt future Jira innovations to better suit the needs of Ubisoft’s projects, teams, business areas and productions.