Internet & Software
Headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany
Number of Users
Germany’s Software AG strengthens security and fosters innovation with Atlassian Cloud products
Software AG’s rapid growth was overextending their on-premise tools, increasing costs, and complicating security and compliance. Like many European businesses, they weren’t sure whether a cloud deployment would meet the EU’s (and their own) stringent requirements. But by partnering with Atlassian and Brainbits to implement Jira Software, Jira Software Management, and Confluence Cloud, Software AG is proving it’s possible to lead in both innovation and security.
No matter how many advantages there are to working on the cloud, there’s often one major concern, especially for European businesses: security and compliance. While the resources required to meet data privacy and sovereignty requirements are considerable, the consequences of security threats and regulator intervention – not only financial, but also reputational and organizational – are even higher. It’s easy to see why security and compliance can seem like hurdles for cloud migrations and a hindrance to innovation.
However, where many companies see these challenges as obstacles, Software AG saw opportunity. By shifting to a cloud-first approach and adopting Atlassian Cloud products with the help of Solution Partner Brainbits, the Germany-based software pioneer has helped over 5,000 employees innovate while strengthening security and compliance across 70 worldwide locations.
Speed, security, and scalability prompt a push to the cloud
Software AG supports enterprises in their digital transformation every day. From integrations and APIs, to analytics and Internet of Things networks, their technology helps customers thrive in today’s crowded technology landscape. To ensure their own company could thrive as they grew, the team re-evaluated their internal tooling as well. Many of Software AG’s on-premise systems were no longer meeting their needs. Speed and availability were suffering, costs were rising, and it was becoming increasingly complex to maintain security and compliance. These pain points would only worsen as the company continued scaling.
With encouragement from their new CIO, Michael Sonne, Software AG decided it was time to shift to a cloud-first approach. Just as they started planning this transition, a ransomware attack accelerated their efforts. “Our cloud-first approach was set in 2021. We said, ‘We’re no longer going to accept on-prem solutions',” says Enterprise IT Architect Tim Brutscher. “The conversations about moving to the cloud were already in progress, and that incident was the final trigger to push us to do it.”
In Germany, we have to be both innovative and compliant with strict regulatory standards. With Atlassian Cloud, we can do both.”
Enterprise IT Architect
Trusting Atlassian Cloud Enterprise for a fast, flexible, secure solution
With newfound urgency, Software AG began researching new cloud solutions for project management, collaboration, and service management. The company had been using a combination of Plan.io, Microsoft Project, Excel, and OTRS, all of which were on-premise solutions. The lack of integration between the tools impaired efficiency and visibility.
Software AG’s R&D team had been using and enjoying Jira Software and Confluence for their department’s initiatives, so Tim and his IT colleagues started considering these tools, along with Jira Service Management Cloud and Confluence Cloud, for other teams across the company.
Their research showed that the Atlassian Cloud Enterprise plan not only met Software AG’s stringent data residency, security, and feature requirements, but also offered flexibility, an extensive collection of Marketplace apps to fuel their productivity, and multiple instances.
“Creating multiple instances without any additional costs allows you to segregate data for security reasons and accommodate multiple use cases with the same solution, which is totally in line with our idea of harmonizing our application landscape,” Tim says. “From a functional and technical perspective, splitting use cases is also helpful to reduce the overall complexity of single instances. This is particularly useful for reducing side effects if you have to change instance-wide settings or when a scenario makes use of many apps.”
Energized by the promise of Atlassian Cloud products, Software AG was ready to put their cloud ambitions into action.
Atlassian Access is a crucial component in ensuring enterprise-wide, regulated access management in the cloud. It’s a significant advantage over our previous on-premise instances as we are able to apply security policies in a simplified way.”
Enterprise IT Architect
A prime partnership for strategic planning, testing, and training
After meeting Brainbits at an Atlassian event in 2019, Software AG reconnected with their team to explore the possibility of working together. “We didn’t have the knowledge about cloud implementations and migrations, so we decided to work with Brainbits as an external partner,” says Radoslav Danchev, VP of Collaboration, Workplace, and Support. Together, the teams decided to approach the project iteratively. After collecting requirements from each department, Brainbits helped Software AG develop a proof of concept using the simplest workflows possible, test them with real users, gather feedback, and make improvements before launching.
Throughout each step, Brainbits reframed conversations around practices rather than specific products. “We focused on methods and processes over tools. The first question is always how we can reach a goal, not about how to do something within a tool,” explains Patrick Schuh, Owner and Managing Director of Brainbits.
As Software AG neared launch, they collaborated with Brainbits on training as well. “We worked with Brainbits to make sure we had enough training materials and that our main stakeholders and users were well prepared,” Tim says. This proactive communication and education were key ingredients to the team’s success.
Starting simple, then scaling fast
Since going live with their Atlassian Cloud ecosystem, Software AG has created over 200 projects in Jira Software, laid the foundation for enterprise service management with Jira Service Management, and started testing Confluence as their central knowledge base. They especially appreciate the simplicity and added security of using Atlassian Access for identity and access management.
Advanced Roadmaps and automations within Jira Software have become IT favorites. With Advanced Roadmaps, the team can plan and track projects quickly, easily, and flexibly. They also save time on small-but-important tasks (such as risk calculations for changes, notifying specific groups when a status changes, and cloning project templates) with native automations and apps like Deep Clone.
In addition, the team has simplified and increased security by cordoning off confidential projects to a separate instance and by leveraging Atlassian Access. Tim says, “With Atlassian Access integrated with our Azure Active Directory, we get a comprehensive overview of which cloud instances each user has access to. Access is a crucial component in ensuring enterprise-wide, regulated access management in the cloud. It’s a significant advantage over our previous on-premise instances as we are able to apply security policies in a simplified way.”
What’s even more exciting about these invaluable improvements is that they are just a taste of what’s in store for Software AG. “We are just at the beginning of our journey with Atlassian. We’re trying to keep things as simple as possible at first. However, there is high demand for automations coming from the business. Atlassian is a strategic partner for us, so it will always be the first place to investigate new capabilities.” Tim says. Radoslav adds, “We also see Jira Service Management becoming the one place for service automations and requests.”
Together, these cloud tools are not only helping Software AG improve productivity and security today, but also equipping the company to scale even faster and more confidently in the future.
Many people think innovation and compliance are contradictory. But we have to do both of them. We drive innovation by being compliant and showing that we can adhere to regulations.”
VP of Collaboration, Workplace, and Support
Innovation and compliance with Atlassian Cloud
Despite common perceptions, Software AG is proving innovation and compliance can coexist. In fact, the team has bolstered both by migrating to the cloud. “Many people think innovation and compliance are contradictory. But we have to do both of them. We drive innovation by being compliant and showing that we can adhere to regulations,” Radoslav says.
Offloading maintenance to a central, cloud-based platform has enabled the team to save time and resources for more valuable work. Automatic updates have also helped ensure Software AG always has the latest functionality and security patches, without requiring time or effort on their part. Tim says, “New functionality is auto-populated and deployed. I'm a fan of the 'use it, discover it, get familiar with it' approach.”
While Software AG initially believed that the cloud couldn’t meet their needs, Tim is glad they put their trust in Atlassian and seized the opportunity. "In Germany, we have to be both innovative and compliant with strict regulatory standards. With Atlassian Cloud, we can do both,” he says. “We trust Atlassian to take care of security, availability, and scalability, freeing up time for us to focus on more strategic topics. Moving to the cloud has been a chance to improve today and prepare for our future."