Many organizations count on both Atlassian and Microsoft solutions to collaborate and deliver innovative products or services. And that’s all fine and dandy until resources like team members, their expertise, materials, budgets, and equipment become scattered across these siloed platforms. 

In the long run, siloed resource management platforms can hurt both project quality and business operations. 

Unfortunately, this also means that you’ll end up facing the difficult choice of either migrating from one platform to another, thus facing a tsunami of user resistance (not to mention migration risks), or allowing the systems to co-exist, leaving a sprawling digital divide between Microsoft and Atlassian teams. Fortunately, there’s now a third option where everyone lives (and works!) happily ever after. Read on to learn how siloed work platforms can hurt your business, plus the three key factors for successful enterprise resource management across Microsoft and Atlassian teams without sacrificing either platform.  

How do siloed work platforms emerge? 

As much as we’d love to use one unified system to manage resources like team members, their skills and knowledge, project materials, budgets, and equipment, sometimes organizations find themselves dealing with multiple, siloed work systems. 

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There are two common ways software siloes emerge. First, in the absence of a unified software strategy or clear governance, individual teams may deploy their own software solution for needs like project management or knowledge sharing, which is good news for productivity, but bad news for cohesive resource management. Second, businesses may acquire or merge with teams that use different software solutions. With about $3.8 trillion of global merger and acquisition (M&A) deals happening just last year, it’s no wonder companies without a solid M&A IT integration playbook end up operating on multiple platforms. 

When multiple teams and platforms set off different workflows, resources often get lost in the mix. Transforming multiple platforms into a unified resource management system can be difficult, as it requires a lot of time and effort. You may even face user resistance from teams forced to adapt to a new system, as well as potential migration risks

So, sometimes, the smartest choice is not migration. It’s integration. 

Why are siloed platforms unforgiving towards agile projects?

Projects are nothing without resources, and the growth of a business depends on how efficiently its platforms cater to resource management. 

Take the Great Pyramid of Giza, for example. It’s an engineering marvel made possible by the efficient management of crucial resources like countless skilled laborers, millions of stone blocks, and construction techniques that are still being debated. What’s not up for debate is that the successful coming together of these resources and the subsequent completion of the Pyramids built Egypt, rather than the other way around, as noted by Zahi Hawass, the famed Egyptologist. 

In modern workplaces, resources form the backbone of projects. When managed according to the iron triangle of project management, these resources drive business productivity and profitability. 

Inverting the iron triangle to accommodate agile projects (source).

But this approach is only valid for waterfall project development, where resources and time are left flexible to accommodate a fixed project scope. For agile projects, where the scope changes according to evolving requirements, inverting the iron triangle is logical. This way, agile teams can react quickly and accomplish deliverables valuable to current market demands.  

However, the inverted agile iron triangle is unsuitable for complex, resource-intensive agile projects. Usually, resources are scattered across siloed work platforms like Microsoft and Atlassian. For example, DevOps teams may use Atlassian, while Sales and Marketing teams are still dependent upon the Microsoft ecosystem. 

And without real-time sharing of resources (e.g., latest project information and marketing collateral), both teams suffer from disjointed collaboration and missed opportunities. 

What are the consequences of a siloed system?

So, what’s the worst that could happen when your enterprise resource management systems are siloed? 

The most immediate effect is a lack of resource visibility. Imagine overseeing a project and realizing that a key stakeholder is away on leave? Or maybe there’s a sudden case of budget cuts threatening to throw a wrench in your project? Poor resource visibility and utilization will only jeopardize project quality.

According to McKinsey research, 83 percent of senior executives surveyed believed that strategic resource management spurs business growth. And in an agile environment where instantaneous response to market changes and fast delivery of value to customers are crucial, improper resource management causes an organization to achieve neither. In the long run, business objectives will not be met. 

So, wouldn’t complex agile projects and business operations be completed efficiently with an enterprise resource management system that transverses platforms, teams, and workflows?

Integrated, collaborative, and transparent resource management is the way to go

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To successfully manage resources and accommodate complex agile project development, an enterprise resource management system must be integrated, collaborative, and transparent. 

Integration

An integrated enterprise resource management system allows different platforms to come together, whether through APIs or connector apps. This capability ensures that project resources across various platforms are synced together seamlessly into a single source of truth (SSOT). With it, organizations can execute next-level project planning and progress monitoring across Microsoft and Atlassian teams. For example, scheduling inter-team events can be effortless when an Outlook calendar is shared in Confluence. The best part is that this feature ensures that new platform adoption, potential migration risks, and staff frustration are no longer a problem.  

Collaboration

The State of Software Happiness Report 2019 by G2 found that mismatched software has driven more than one in eight employees to quit a job. This emphasizes the need for a collaborative enterprise resource management system, also known as a shared virtual workspace. Different teams can access the SSOT in the shared virtual workspace and collaborate on projects together using a platform everyone is familiar with. Most importantly, confidence afforded by a familiar work platform will drive team members to share their knowledge and expertise.

Transparency

No one likes thread-bumping or waiting for project updates, but they’re the norm for multi-platform deployments. This is why transparency in an enterprise resource management system is critical: teams must have unfiltered access to the latest work updates, regardless of the platform on which the update was made. Transparency lifts the veil of how resources are shuffled and expended across different platforms. Real-time project updates (e.g., seeing Confluence comment threads and space activity in SharePoint site) are visible to everyone and teams can track and respond to project progress quickly. Fast-acting teams deliver innovative and competitive products. 


Tools like yasoon’s Outlook Calendars for Confluence and Communardo’s SharePoint Connector for Confluence can help to connect and control resources better between Microsoft and Atlassian platforms. This way, everyone – from individual teams to interconnected departments – can do their best work from an all-encompassing enterprise resource management system.

Ultimately, efficient teamwork, successful project delivery, and impressive business performance can be achieved. That said, remember that rolling out this kind of system is not the endgame, but rather a continuous journey revolving around company-wide initiatives.   

This is a guest post by Communardo and yasoon, makers of apps for productive digital workplaces. Learn more about them and their offerings in the Atlassian Marketplace.

3 key success factors for enterprise resource management