open v closed platform illo

Lately, an increasing number of businesses has been partnering with best-in-breed platforms to power their tech stacks. Rather than offering just one software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution, platforms act as a foundation for a diverse set of connected capabilities.

By outsourcing security, compliance, and data management to external partners, organizations can build on a reliable digital foundation and focus their time and energy on what truly matters: their businesses. However, with myriad platform solutions available to companies – and with even more options expected to hit the market in the next five years – it can be difficult to know which solution is the right one for your business.

Similar to buying a house, selecting and adopting a platform for your business can be a time-consuming and costly ordeal. Considering the upfront investment, you want to make sure that the solution you choose is both open and extensible – scaling alongside your company long-term and facilitating its growth – while still meeting your unique needs today.

Choosing a platform that allows you to stay flexible as you scale

The “open vs. closed” debate has been taking place for years now, with clear benefits to both. Open platforms’ accessible and documented application programming interface (API) makes it easy for customers and third-party developers to build upon the solution as needed. On the other hand, closed platforms can only be customized or extended by a developer with proprietary knowledge and tools. Their closed nature makes it harder for customers to integrate at will with third-party partners, but their solutions can be more prescriptive when it comes to specific use cases.

In the past, choosing between an open or closed platform often came down to a company’s preference. But now, the accelerating rate of transformation in both technology and business makes open platforms the most logical option, allowing businesses to adopt automation into their workflows, extend their capabilities, and customize their solutions.

The limitations of a closed system

Closed platforms have their upsides: since they are fully controlled by a single provider, they can often release updates on a regular cadence and tackle niche use cases straight out of the box. However, since others can’t add on specialized features or integrations to the solution, the use cases for a closed platform are limited to its developers’ original vision and their roadmap for its future.

For any company at an enterprise level, this lack of flexibility presents challenges. Within a closed system, employees are limited in how they carry out tasks and projects, restricted to the solution’s existing methods. In reality, however, employees’ workflows and work management needs vary drastically from team to team – or even individual to individual. And when teams can’t use their organization’s existing platform to carry out their work, they either turn to unapproved shadow IT software – potentially creating information silos and security risks – or have their productivity hindered.

The benefits of extensibility in an open platform

Thanks to their open APIs, open platforms are endlessly extensible, allowing businesses to easily connect third-party solutions to their existing platforms. This allows individual teams to customize their workflows and extend their platform’s functionalities as needed, all while establishing a streamlined flow of information across an organization.

Not only does an open platform support endless customization, but it also helps ensure that an organization’s chosen platform can scale with it as it grows. It’s hard for a company to know exactly what it will need in one year – let alone five or 10 – but by working with an open platform, they can alter and extend their solutions to fit their needs as they scale.

Embracing the age of hyperautomation with an open platform

Powerful, no-code automation now available to all Jira Cloud customers

Open platforms are also well-positioned to help companies not only weather, but also embrace the age of hyperautomation, a business approach that uses robotic process automation, machine learning, and no- or low-code tools to automate business processes. Already used across industries, hyperautomation can process invoices for accountants, classify email requests for customer service teams, and build lead lists for marketers.

According to Gartner, hyperautomation is set to become “a condition of survival” for companies in the coming years, with the market for hyperautomation technologies expected to grow to nearly $600 billion by 2022.

By allowing other tools to connect to and build on their software, open platforms make it easy to automate tasks and processes across diverse tools and teams. By leveraging no-code automation, enterprises can sync data between apps, automate communication across teams, and mine data for insights. These process improvements can help teams become more agile and iterate quicker on products – behaviors that have been linked with weathering crises better and driving innovation.

Embracing an open and extensible platform with Atlassian

Since Atlassian was first launched, our goal has been to build an open and extensible platform for customers. We know that software isn’t one-size-fits-all, so organizations and teams need unique solutions that can grow and adapt with them.

“Atlassian’s products are very powerful and configurable,” says Mike Tria, Head of Platform Engineering at Atlassian. “Our platform that sits under those products exposes a rich set of APIs, workflows, and customizations. These capabilities allow a broad set of third-party developers to enhance the experience of our products to tailor it to each customer, which ensures that our customers are able to work in the ways that they work best without being forced into a cookie-cutter workflow.”

Not only do Atlassian’s products feature highly configurable settings, but they’ve also built out multiple ways for you to extend their features beyond the products’ original limits.

Build out custom functionalities with apps from the Atlassian Marketplace

No two companies or teams are the same, and Atlassian’s Marketplace makes it easy for individuals to customize Atlassian tools. The Atlassian Marketplace is the largest enterprise app marketplace that exists today, with over 5,400 apps currently available from over 1,600 third-party partners. These plug-and-play options allow you to adapt your Atlassian Cloud products to suit your unique needs.

Explore Atlassian’s native integrations and partnerships

Aside from thousands of apps that can be added to your Atlassian Cloud products, Atlassian also has hundreds of native integrations with best-in-class technology companies, including Slack, AWS, Microsoft, and Google. These integrations allow you to automate actions easily across tools within your workflow – allowing you to get work done where and how you want.

Build your own tools with Forge

Forge powers next-generation app development for Atlassian cloud

Can’t find the functionality you need within Atlassian’s Marketplace or integrations? Create it yourself on Forge, Atlassian’s app development platform. Forge allows you to build apps on our platform, with enterprise-grade security, compliance, and scalability ensured by our team. We also take care of all infrastructure and storage needs, allowing developers to build out new tools without having to host them. Those who would rather outsource the work can partner with a developer within Atlassian’s community of over 25,000 developers to build the perfect solution for their needs.

Learn more about Atlassian’s open platform

In a world of distributed work and ever-increasing competition, teams need to be empowered with tools that work for them. Connect people, tools, and information in endless ways with Atlassian’s open platform, powering your business with the flexibility the future demands. Click below to discover how Atlassian’s platform can help your business scale.

Open vs. closed platforms: how to choose a foundation for your enterprise