Fortune 500 business services company moves from Rally to Jira Software and Jira Align to improve agility and accelerate digital transformation.
This 70-year old Fortune 500 business services company expanded from a local payroll processing company to a global enterprise with an international workforce of 50.000+ serving millions of businesses in multiple ways, including payroll and HR services. Throughout this journey, efficient software development became increasingly strategic — both on the back-end, delivering the required services with the complexity of operating in 140 countries, and the front-end, moving into the cloud, providing more self-service for their customers while implementing and supporting a world-class UX, ease of use, continual updates, and new features, all in a heavily regulated environment.
Staying on top of the market while facing increasing competition and disruption from industry newcomers requires both agility and the ability to align strategy with execution flawlessly.
Interestingly enough, the initial need expressed to Valiantys was purely tactical — we met at a trade show, and the initial question was, “can you help us figure out if our Atlassian license expense is optimized?” This is a very common subject in large organizations, where the use of Jira and Confluence grew exponentially through many different teams, often in different countries. In this situation, license management becomes a serious headache, with multiples invoices across different departments, making it a challenge to analyze the real TCO of the Atlassian investments. At Valiantys, we are very familiar with these situations and are usually able to regroup, co-term, and streamline all your Atlassian and marketplace apps into one simple invoice per year, greatly simplifying our customers’ procurement process.
This inquiry got our attention. As we have deep technical expertise with Atlassian tools, we started a conversation about the management of their development teams. A quick audit revealed an interesting situation; lots of variation between teams (even if they were working on common projects), different tools (Jira, Rally), and significant challenges with aligning strategy and execution since bottom-up and lateral information was difficult to gather and share with the executive management.
The company quickly realized the benefits of a consistent team environment and a real tool to connect all teams. But some serious groundwork had to be done! Unifying all team environments meant replacing Rally by Jira and aligning Jira instances across the board, with 10.000 users in 5 different countries using different processes. This was a significant technical and change-management challenge. On top of all of this, the company could not stop developing their products during the migrations and consolidations, so the tool and associated process changes had to be super fast with no margin for error.
The second phase of the project was to first implement Jira Align for the most strategic and advanced Agile teams, and eventually the whole company.
The expected benefits were:
- Providing more transparency and visibility on the work being done
- Aligning all teams across the company using the Scaled Agile principles
- Implementing and tracking 5 strategic OKRs
- Ensuring customer value compared to competitors
- Accelerating the development of next-gen products
In one sentence, it meant providing visibility from Strategy to Execution.
Valiantys committed to helping the company, first with the migration from Rally to Jira and then with implementing Jira Align.
This meant migrating and unifying:
- 15.000 users in 9 business units in 9 countries (US, Canada, France, Netherlands, Switzerland,…)
- 1.000 teams
- 500 Jira projects
This migration and consolidation project, including transferring data from Rally to Jira, was completed at breakneck speed — in less than 4 months from the order signed to final delivery, over the summer of 2020. One of the keys to success was a very thorough analysis initially performed by Valiantys — with more than 50 meetings with stakeholders before beginning any change. Valiantys also leveraged their global presence for project bandwidth (with sometimes 15 consultants working simultaneously on the project) and having local Valiantys teams working with local customer teams under the project management supervision of the US teams of both companies. The training was also handled locally, in the local language, to facilitate change management.
The second phase of the project was the implementation of Jira Align. Completed with Atlassian’s technical support, it was successfully deployed on 3 programs, and more teams are being added at the moment. Supporting the agile transformation with Jira Align is strategic for the company. And with 1.500 teams working on 185 programs and 12 portfolios, it is really a long-term project aimed at totally transforming the way the company works.
Since the implementation of the new platform, the company has added nine business units across the globe to Jira, with approximately 15,000 employees currently using the platform. In the first few months, each of those teams has seen a productivity increase of 20-30%, allowing the business to tackle the goals they had set out to achieve earlier in the year.
In addition, the global team now shares a unified system. With no more silos or external systems, processes run more smoothly, employees are better informed, and executives are able to make more informed decisions about future directions for the business.
With increased visibility into reporting, leadership has a stronger understanding of the issues affecting the company on a day-to-day basis and is able to anticipate future requirements for process, people, or technology.
Last but not least, the developers (a scarce talent in today’s economy) are happier and feel they are in a best-in-class organization that cares for their needs and professional growth.
The leadership of the company knows that they need to continue to respond to change and must also continue the process of consolidating information wherever possible. Jira Align will therefore be rolled out for more teams, including those at the Program and Portfolio levels. They also plan to move away from CA Service Desk, their current ITSM platform, and will be implementing Jira Service Management in the near future.
They currently use 3,000 service desk agents and are looking to increase that number to 4,000 to better meet the needs of their customers and their internal technology needs.
As they continue to grow, the business will seek to increase the number of employees using Jira from around 15,000 to 23,000 by 2022.
In an effort to better prepare for the future, the company will be using Jira Software Roadmaps to outline its journey to the Atlassian cloud. The first application to move to the cloud will be Confluence, followed by Jira and Jira Service Management.