Headquarters in Scottsdale, AZ, USA
Number of Users
One platform, zero friction: How Nextiva uses Atlassian cloud to scale and deliver
Nextiva, a leading business communications company, delivers one of the best cloud phone systems on the market, along with award-winning service. In addition to receiving dozens of accolades, including a record four Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service in one year, the company maintains a 94% customer satisfaction rating, and 90% of customers say they would recommend Nextiva to others – a direct result of putting service and support at the core of their culture.
Customers choose Nextiva because of this commitment to providing top-notch service and addressing a common problem with VoIP technology: the amount of time and money that’s typically required to manage multiple communication platforms across multiple teams. Nextiva is on a mission to solve this problem by “building the future of how business and technology work together. One platform, one workspace, zero friction.”
The company almost doubled its workforce in three years, and it was taking more time, effort, and resources to manage their internal tools. Plus, switching back and forth between systems hindered employee productivity and made it increasingly difficult to deliver the exceptional service expected from them. To stay competitive and maintain superior performance and reliability for their customers, they needed mature development and service solutions for themselves.
Since building a centralized, integrated, cloud-based ecosystem, Nextiva has significantly improved their team’s efficiency and system performance, while saving at least 100 hours and between $50,000-100,000 in software costs each year. With greater speed and savings, the team finally has the freedom to focus on delivering value for customers instead of managing internal processes and technology – a key advancement that will help them continue to scale while maintaining their stellar service.
Centralizing to calm the chaos
When Senior Atlassian Solutions Specialist Josh Costella joined Nextiva in late 2017, he was excited about the company’s rapid growth. “Growth at the rate we were experiencing is astonishing,” he recalls. “You’re just trying to hang on and get as much done as quickly as possible, force your way into the market, and get a stronghold while the business and innovation move quickly around you.”
To harness their momentum and maximize collaboration to deliver forward-thinking solutions faster, Nextiva invested in agile transformation while building out teams around the world. Going agile – especially across distributed teams – posed all sorts of new challenges: How can we align our toolset with our agile practices to support collaboration, communication, flexibility, and continuous improvement? And how do we ensure our global teams have a consistent, fully supported experience as if we were all under the same roof?
Nextiva’s staff had tools at their disposal, but they didn’t have one solution that fully met everyone’s needs. The Technology department had access to Confluence and Jira Software Server (self-hosted on AWS), but there were performance and security concerns because the hardware and software weren’t regularly maintained. Consequently, employees opted to use email, scattered documents, and other tools of their choice. This made it difficult to keep information organized and easily accessible.
When Josh joined the team, James Charles, Nextiva’s VP of Software Engineering, tasked him with solving these problems by unifying everyone on a central, integrated platform where teams could communicate with each other, document information, and manage projects. The VP was a proponent of Atlassian, and Josh had extensive experience as an Atlassian consultant and admin. Couple their collective history with the fact that Confluence and Jira Software were already in place (albeit underutilized) at Nextiva, and the choice was simple.
We are saving at least $50,000-100,000 per year by moving to Atlassian cloud.”
Senior Atlassian Solutions Specialist
A wall-to-wall DevOps and ITSM solution
For the next four months, Josh worked diligently with his team to set up and onboard the entire organization to Atlassian. They began by consolidating documentation and knowledge sharing onto Confluence, and helping IT move from Rally to Jira Software for project management and issue tracking.
“The biggest challenges with Rally were that we didn’t have an admin, and there wasn’t a lot of rhyme or reason to how it was organized. We needed a better structure for spreading the work around, reporting, and tracking teams and progress,” Josh explains. To address these challenges, he worked with his department and Atlassian to bring Development and IT Operations’ systems and teams together.
Adopting DevOps practices and tools often leads to better collaboration, speed, savings, stability, and other significant benefits. It can also create new challenges, such as more meetings, manual updates, and context switching. To maximize the pros and minimize the cons, Nextiva integrated Bitbucket with Jira Software, so developers can not only store and deploy code, but also assign tickets to others and view comments without leaving Bitbucket. Senior DevOps Engineer Kyle Gengler says, “Being able to build out workflows in Jira and then see how those issues tie in to what’s happening in Bitbucket has been huge. One of the biggest benefits for me is having actual commits with the Jira issue in the commit message.”
Seeing the potential for Atlassian to benefit other teams, Josh partnered with Atlassian Solutions Specialist Catherine White and Senior Project Manager Jen Lang to combine Jira Software with Opsgenie and Jira Service Management for more structured, streamlined incident and change management processes. Now, whenever an employee submits an incident to Support, the requestor must designate the severity of the incident and the components affected. Based on that information, Opsgenie automatically alerts the right IT Operations staff by cross-referencing the team’s schedule and notifying on-call employees. Team members can also escalate tickets to Management if a faster response is needed to ensure service level agreements are met.
On top of improving incident management, Jen and Catherine leveraged Jira Service Management with the Automation plugin (now a built-in feature) to make Nextiva’s change management process more efficient. Within a single workflow, employees can select an issue type and one of four change types. The change ticket is then automatically routed through different parts of the workflow based on specified requirements, validators, and conditions. Slack messages are also triggered to the right parties if a ticket exceeds the maximum change time so a team member can address it quickly. Josh calls Jen and Catherine’s solution “one of the most elegant workflows I’ve ever seen.”
We’ve also been able to improve our level of security with the integration of our SAML/SSO provider (Okta) and Atlassian Access.”
Senior Atlassian Solutions Specialist
A smooth cloud migration brings security and savings
As Atlassian usage expanded throughout Nextiva, Josh’s team started planning ahead to accommodate current growth and future scaling. “We knew that to virtually double our infrastructure and performance needs, we would also be doubling the cost and effort,” he recalls. “We were faced with a choice: Scale ourselves by moving to Data Center, which would incur higher costs and effort, or depend on Atlassian for all of our hosting needs and have peace of mind moving forward. We chose the latter.”
For the next few months, Josh, Catherine, and their teams prepared for the cloud migration by cleaning up their workspaces and plugins, rewriting scripts, and putting new processes in place to set themselves up for success post-launch. The transition also presented the perfect time to implement Atlassian Access and Okta for single sign-on, easier user provisioning, and enhanced security.
Thanks to their pre-migration cleanup and testing, the migration was completed in less than 24 hours. Josh says, “Our CTO, Phil Steitz, said, out of the four cloud migrations he’s seen, this one went the smoothest.”
Nextiva has been pleasantly surprised by the system performance improvements since consolidating technology and moving to the cloud. “There’s definitely more peace of mind around the stability and performance of all our tools,” Catherine says. “For example, we have some fairly complex EazyBI reports with significant resource-intensive calculations, which caused timeouts. We haven’t experienced a timeout since migrating.”
As they hoped, making the switch to Atlassian cloud has unleashed Nextiva’s ability to scale while saving time and money. DevOps Manager Chris Haley says,“One of the biggest wins for our team is that, by moving to Atlassian cloud, we don’t have to maintain our own servers anymore. That has freed up our time so that we can focus on improving our own software instead of babysitting on-premise infrastructure.” Josh adds that software costs are way down as well because they’re only paying for what they need. “We are saving at least $50,000-100,000 per year by moving to Atlassian cloud.”
Being able to build out workflows in Jira and then see how those issues tie in to what’s happening in Bitbucket has been huge. One of the biggest benefits for me is having actual commits with the Jira issue in the commit message.”
Senior DevOps Engineer
One platform, zero friction
Now that Nextiva has consolidated from disparate tools on a variety of deployments to an end-to-end Atlassian cloud platform, the company has the same advantage they provide their customers: one platform, zero friction.
Their unified, stable ecosystem of Atlassian solutions has opened up new ways to track their work and progress, share knowledge, and collaborate across teams and departments. And with so much flexibility to customize the solutions to their exact needs, Nextiva has not only increased teamwork, transparency, security, and performance today, but also laid a foundation to scale with ease in the future.
Best of all, Nextiva has doubled their infrastructure and unlocked these improvements while freeing up time, budget, and brainpower to focus on their mission: delivering world-class communications solutions and amazing customer service. “One of Nextiva’s core values is ‘Simplicity.’ The Atlassian suite of products and their powerful integrations help us ensure we always adhere to that value,” Josh says. “We have no shortage of processes and procedures throughout Nextiva, and these tools allow us to maintain simplicity so the company can focus on delivering value for our customers instead of managing processes.”
Diverse teams unlock new efficiencies
After seeing the improvements that Development and IT experienced, departments across Nextiva started using Atlassian to unlock new efficiencies and deliver even better service within their own teams.
Confluence was one of the first solutions to spread across the organization. “Confluence went from a tool used just by the Technology organization to an enterprise tool used by the entire company. It’s given us a centralized place for all teams and departments to document, track, and collaborate within and across Nextiva,” says Catherine.
Jira Software serves as the unifying plane that provides overarching visibility. Teams are using it for everything from managing internal support and events, to employee travel, to education and training requests. Plus, all of Support (inside and outside of Technology), Operations, HR, Customer Solutions Engineering, Design, and Administration turn to Jira Service Management and its integrations with other Atlassian tools for quickly submitting, tracking, and resolving service requests.
“With Atlassian’s integrations and automation, our team spends less time switching back and forth between applications,” Information Technology Infrastructure Manager Max Hurst says. “It’s also nice that we’re able to share the same platform as the rest of the organization so that we can work more efficiently.” Catherine adds, “It’s been really helpful to have all of the integrations and have everything work together fairly seamlessly. It just makes everyone’s lives easier.”