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Making the travel industry more collaborative with Confluence

About Amadeus

Amadeus is a major European IT service provider for the global travel and tourism industry. When you book a flight or check into the airport, odds are that Amadeus is on the other side of that service.

These services are produced by over 15,000 Amadeus employees (6,000 of which are developers), who need an efficient development environment to collaborate. The Atlassian suite - Jira, Confluence, Bitbucket and Hipchat - are the tools used to build this collaborative platform and conduct Amadeus’ daily work. Confluence is a base of the Amadeus’ internal corporate culture of sharing across all teams, providing an efficient collaborative service to create content.

Confluence, along with the rest of the Atlassian suite, was originally deployed to support the R&D community at Amadeus, but the adoption of this tool quickly spread to other departments and teams. Today, Confluence gathers all Amadeus employees on a single Data Center deployment instance, allowing different departments (R&D, Maintenance, Operation, HR, etc.) to work together. Confluence became the foundation of the Amadeus’s internal collaboration.

The numbers that need to be sustained on Confluence are impressive; the Amadeus’ service supports today more than 12,000 users with over 7,000 spaces for more than 8,000 pages created per day. While it probably goes without saying, Confluence is mission-critical to the success of Amadeus.


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With great adoption comes great responsibility

Confluence became the collaborative link between all departments’ teams, especially as it stores key documentation needed for Amadeus’ daily activities. Yet it likewise bared the responsibility of being a mission critical tool. The tool needed to be managed with production constraints to reduce the operational impacts for Amadeus employees.

In order to ensure that Confluence remained the tool which Amadeus employees could rely on, several key points were implemented to ensure its stability:

  • Advanced monitoring, based on technical and functional logs, was set up to prevent service disruption. Data mining on logs is used to detected patterns before a service disruption occurs.
  • Strict functional and performance testing campaigns were carried out to ensure services would not be degraded by new releases.
  • Automation to reduce the timeframe needed to migrate Confluence to a new version.

While the Amadeus team is on a whole self-sufficient in managing the day-to-day stability of Confluence, Atlassian tools are likewise built for innovation. When the team wants to consider adding a new Marketplace app to the instance, they don’t have to guess whether the new introduction will cause technical or functional problems for their users. Instead, Amadeus relies on Valiantys’ expertise to validate the changes they want to make in Confluence before applying them to their system.

Making Confluence’s apps work for everyone

As Confluence is a highly customizable tool, it can be adapted to fit the needs of every team. However, given the choice of marketplace apps - over 3,000 and counting - and the different ideas for how each team would like to use the tool, management of the apps quickly became an important topic at Amadeus - especially considering the instance to support 12,000 Amadeus users from different departments.

«When we deploy a new app, we want it to be beneficial for our entire community. For example, when you deploy an app for the development community, the app will be available for all. Departments such as HR will probably not use this feature and they certainly do not want to be affected by it. Many app cannot be set up only at space level,” says Antoine. “This is why it is so important that we get it right when it comes to which apps we allow into our system. We want people to propose new apps and allow the communities to discuss if it is relevant for all. This is key - if we see different use cases from different communities for the same tool, that becomes the deciding factor as to whether we buy the app.»

Today, Amadeus has about ten apps integrated on their Confluence. One of these apps which works well with their current processes is Comala Workflows. As everyone in the Amadeus community needed a strong workflow to validate their documentation, the decision to incorporate Comala Workflows was an easy choice.

Navigating the Marketplace

Amadeus quickly found that in order to implement apps in Confluence successfully, there was a strong need to have external validation from an experienced partner. As an Atlassian Platinum Solution Partner, Valiantys proved to be a vital part of the need definition and implementation.

«My first step is to send an email to Valiantys to get advice on the relevant apps to fit our needs inside Amadeus - they are truly with us throughout the entire process. We ask if they have feedback on apps from other customers and if there are any potentially known technical impacts. Their ability to provide expert consulting is key to our processes», says Antoine.

When consulting on which apps should be integrated into their instance, Valiantys takes the needs of their processes into account to find the best solution. Each time a new app is under consideration, Valiantys will provide coaching or even organize a demo directly between the Amadeus and the app vendor. Valiantys also facilitates networking within the Atlassian ecosystem by introducing other clients to Amadeus who have previously used the app in question.

«We do our best to pick the right editor and app regarding their needs. If we are not sure that an app will work with their system - even if it seems to fit their surface level needs - we don't try to push it. We remain transparent and focus on providing quality service based on collaboration» says Flora Rubio, Enterprise Account Manager at Valiantys.

As Valiantys has 11 offices located across Europe and North America, the international Amadeus teams have access to local consultants when they need guidance.

«Valiantys is all about a pragmatic approach, open and constructive conversations about tools, and a genuine team spirit. Their recommendations helped us make the right decisions, the ones that make sense for our company.»

Julien E., Director of Software Engineering, Amadeus

Building a sharing corporate culture

Today Confluence is an easy to use tool for everybody at Amadeus, allowing them to create proper documentation and communications. Beyond just the editing tools within Confluence itself, the social network layer aspect of Confluence (commenting, sharing pages, and creating internal blog posts, etc.) has facilitated the effectiveness of their internal communications.

«It's not only a tool to store documentation, but it provides an easy way to communicate and share information,” says Antoine. “There has been an evolution of a sharing culture and improvement of communication at Amadeus, and Confluence has certainly been part of that evolution.»

What's next

Amadeus is a global company, with several offices in North America, Europe and Asia. Amadeus has its eyes on stability, so their future is likely to include optimizing Data Center to further secure their 24 hours a day service. As Confluence has become mission critical, they look forward to Atlassian taking their Data Center service further. The zero-downtime upgrade feature is notably significant, as outages which used to be necessary to upgrade the platform will become a thing of the past.