So one question we get very often is if it's possible to integrate non-Atlassian software and ITSM tools with Jira (and Bitbucket)? Well, the short answer is yes, yes it is! You may want to use some integration tools to optimise this though, so just read on to find out more...
The ideal situation
Before we go any further, let's describe the ideal situation: A customer creates a request for a new feature or a bug report through a help desk application and it is automatically mirrored in the development team’s planning tool. Using that tool, the product owner sees the new request or bug instantly while they are managing their backlog. At that point, the PO can consider planning the feature implementation or bug fix in an upcoming release. A developer is then assigned to work on the issue. During the process, the developer updates the issue in the team's planning tool and this information is automatically synchronised with the original help desk ticket. In this way, the help desk can easily (even automatically) keep the customer up to date on the status of their request.
In an ideal world, you'd want to have all users work in the same tool so information and reporting are visible across all teams. But what if that's not an option? For example, we often see companies that are owned by larger organisations, and because they share the help desk system across all subsidiaries, they are forced to use a specific help desk tool, while at the same time, development teams are free to choose their own tools... Sometimes a particular tool is required to support specific work processes.
Let's take a look at Task Top
Task Top allows teams across the organisation that all use different tools to work together without spending so much time on manual or e-mail updates. Updates just happen in whatever tool they use, in real time.
To give a concrete idea of what is possible, let's look into a scenario in which an organisation makes use of Micro Focus (HPE) ALM, Atlassian Jira, and ServiceNow. Integrating these tools would maximise the productivity of support engineers, developers and testers across their defect reporting and resolution process, while also enabling visibility and traceability across the value stream.
Help Desk/Developer alignment
We'll start taking a closer look at how help desk incidents are submitted and resolved by developers. The incident: a customer has reported that resetting passwords on the website no longer works. The operations team creates a new incident in Service Now.
Based on the type of ticket and the status that has been created, a Jira Software issue of type Bug is automatically created, having the same information stored in it as the Service Now ticket.
The assigned developer picks up the bug, adds extra information to it, including some comments and attachments, and moves it to the status Ready for testing.
When we go back to Service Now, we can see that the information provided in the incident is automatically added to the ticket in Service Now. The following image shows the status change, the lowering of the priority, the added comments and a reference to the linked Jira issue.
The next step in our process is that the task is ready to be checked by a tester.
In our scenario, the testers use Micro Focus (previously know as HP Quaility Center) to test bug fixes. Because the Jira bug has been moved to the status Ready for testing, a new task in Micro Focus has been created. The tester picks it up, verifies the validity of the fix and marks the task as resolved.
Back in Jira Software we can see the issue has moved to the status Done and that the comments added by the tester in Micro Focus, are added to the Jira Software issue.
Back in Service Now, we can see the status has been updated, that a fix is visible and that all comments and attachments added in both Jira Software and Micro Focus are now visible.
In this example, we've only covered Jira Software, Micro Focus and Service Now but Task Top offers integrations with systems like Git, Salesforce, TFS and many more. Check out which products and versions are currently compatible here.
How Does it Work?
Task Top works as an enterprise service bus, it's the middleware software that can integrate with various applications based on your needs. In short, you can plugin one or multiple connectors, which in turn connect the applications you're using. Via a GUI you can easily configure how these applications should be mapped.
The example below shows how Service Now fields are mapped to Jira Software.
If you can use a single tool suite across all teams, by all means, do it! You will make reporting easy, increase visibility across your teams and maximise collaboration and effectivity. When it's not possible however, search for ready-made tooling that can connect your applications. In any case, you should really avoid building a connection yourself! The problem with self-made connectors is that they quickly become outdated and require regular and time-consuming maintenance. What also happens often is that the knowledge surrounding your custom connector is poorly documented and 'belongs' to a very small group of people.
Of course, tool connectors such as Task Top are not cheap. You need to install them, host them and purchase a license. But if you start calculating the costs of all your users updating each other through the mail and the costs in productivity loss due to poor data visibility and interconnectivity, you will see that you still have a lot of profit left over.
If you're reviewing your current tools or thinking about making the switch, see how much money you can actually save right here: Jira Service Desk vs Service Now comparison.