Number of employees
Infobip – a billion dollar company: Scale like a startup, standardize like an enterprise with Atlassian Data Center
By adapting their cloud communications platform to meet ever-changing consumer preferences, technologies, and compliance requirements in 200-plus countries, Infobip has reached over five billion people and the ultra-rare “unicorn valuation” of $1 billion. Accommodating so many variations and keeping up with such exponential growth would be enough to make most teams dizzy. But with Atlassian Data Center and more modern DevOps and ITSM practices, Infobip has steadily increased deployment velocity, decreased resolution times from days to minutes, and helped two-thirds of the world’s population communicate with confidence.
Rapidly changing customer demands, regulations, and technology are pushing businesses to adapt faster and more frequently than ever before. Add in a huge event like the COVID-19 pandemic and the velocity of change goes from brisk to breakneck, sometimes overnight.
Agile transformations have helped many businesses adopt more flexible processes so they can keep up. But to thrive in the face of adversity – not just survive – they must modernize their mindset and technology too.
Companies like Infobip are great role models for this type of enterprise agility – and they have a billion-dollar-plus valuation to prove it. Over five billion people around the world use Infobip’s cloud communications platform, either directly or through a service provider. (Infobip has direct connections with over 650 carriers worldwide.) The platform powers messaging for over 750 banks and some of the world’s leading bluechip enterprises, social networks, tech companies, and aggregators, as well as some of the most-used communication systems in the world, including Viber and WhatsApp.
Infobip has achieved its impressive reach by adapting to consumer preferences, technologies, and compliance requirements in every country they serve. When a customer in Japan says, “We want our users to be able to send messages to 17 different countries, and they need to auto-delete after one hour,” Infobip replies, “No problem.” When another customer in Ghana says, “We want our users to be able to send USSD messages [a precursor to SMS] anywhere, including to Europe where there are GDPR requirements for data privacy,” Infobip responds, “You got it.”
Accommodating all of these requests and keeping up with such exponential growth would be enough to make most teams dizzy. But with Atlassian Data Center solutions and more modern DevOps and ITSM practices, Infobip has standardized like an enterprise while maintaining the speed of a startup. Since centralizing onto Atlassian for product development, incident management, and change management, the team has steadily increased deployment velocity while decreasing resolution times from days to minutes. Now, Infobip has the infrastructure they need to sustain their aggressive growth and provide the infrastructure their customers need, better and faster than before.
In the beginning, it could take three days to close an alert. Now, the average is three minutes before they see the alert, close it, and start working on the issue.”
Site Reliability Manager
Growing pains spark the need for a more integrated solution
When Infobip started in a small Croatian town in 2006, their focus was on helping local businesses authenticate customer identities using SMS. Keeping track of tasks, projects, and issues was fairly easy at the time, but as they expanded to the rest of Europe, then to Asia and Africa, then to Latin America and the U.S., they began to suffer the distinct sting of growing pains. To continue their impressive growth more efficiently, and maintain compliance in so many industries and locales, Infobip needed to centralize their systems and workflows.
The team chose to standardize onto Atlassian Server in 2012 because of its reputation as the go-to, integrated system for product, project, and IT service management. After implementing Jira Software and Bitbucket for development and continuous deployment, Infobip added Jira Service Management for internal ticketing, plus Confluence as a knowledge hub for both technical and non-technical teams. Departments across the organization started using it to track objectives and key results, team activities, documentation, best practices, questions for executive leaders, and more.
Since its initial rollout, engineers have expanded their use of Jira Software to portfolio management in addition to product development. “We are not just thinking about a feature, epic, and user stories, but also about the portfolio so we can prioritize what’s important,” says Damir Prusac, VP of Engineering. Today, Product Development relies on Jira Software to shape the product strategy and translate it into requirements. Engineering then uses the same solution to develop, test, and support the products built from those requirements, deploying from Bitbucket each time.
Bitbucket also comes in handy for compliance. “The first question auditors ask is how you track changes,” says Renato Klarić, Site Reliability Manager. “Jira and Bitbucket are linked to show details and where the change is in production. It’s traceable, so they know what we’re doing and when we’re deploying.”
With billions of people using their product every day, there is no room for risk. The team relies on SonarQube testing to proactively spot bugs and vulnerabilities, plus canary testing to validate new releases before rollout. With in-depth testing at several stages of the product life cycle, Infobip can feel confident about product quality and compliance.
The number of deployments constantly increases as the organization grows. And keeping deployments per developer high helps us stay agile.”
VP of Engineering
Scaling DevOps with new practices and partnerships
In recent years, Engineering has been focused on increasing knowledge sharing and reducing administrative burden. “Before, we were one team, but there was a separation between hardware and software, and frontend and backend,” says Renato. “We had to do a lot of back and forth between those teams, which was a blocker for the speed and agile development we needed.”
To overcome these challenges, Infobip separated the large Engineering department into multiple teams by their function – monitoring, infrastructure, automation, continuous improvement and development, etc. – so they could work faster and focus more. They also collaborated with Solution Partner venITure to introduce LeSS, a framework specifically created for multiple teams who work together on a single product, to scale Infobip’s Scrum practice and provide more transparency to leadership. With this framework, each team now has the freedom to choose their own processes and set up their own workflows in Jira Software and Bitbucket. Leaders then standardize these workflows at a higher level so engineers can collaborate across teams and work more efficiently at scale.
Streamlining their workflows and adopting modern DevOps practices is already paying off, while laying the groundwork to continue their pace of progress in the future. Damir says, “The number of deployments constantly increases as the organization grows. And keeping deployments per developer high helps us stay agile.”
We try to integrate all of our teams and services while still being compliant. Atlassian helps us in this process of bringing everything and everyone together.”
VP of Engineering
Fewer incidents and faster resolution with Jira Service Management
As Engineering has revamped their processes to scale product development, Support has been doing the same for ITSM. Years ago, Infobip had a network operations center (NOC) monitoring their infrastructure for peace of mind, but all the alerts were overwhelming and frustrating. Renato recalls, “We could have 25,000 alerts, and you would have to go through each one to see what’s happening. Only one tells you what’s really wrong, and the rest were consequences.”
To reduce alert fatigue and response time while boosting team morale, Infobip integrated Jira Service Management into their Atlassian solution. Incident management through Opsgenie proved to be a sanity-saver for monitoring and on-call alerts. “Before, it was complex to figure out who to call when we or a client detected an issue, and it took time to manually call the right person. Jira Service Management helps us get the right people online at the right time,” Renato says.
Whenever Support or the NOC reports an incident, an alert is triggered in Jira Service Management, and the on-call engineer is notified. Team members then start a new thread in a special incident management Slack channel to troubleshoot the issue together and coordinate client communication with Support.
Once the incident is resolved, the team conducts a post-incident review, documents their findings and any changes in Confluence, and links the incident to Jira Software tickets for subsequent tasks if needed. Tasks related to changes are labeled and tracked in Jira Software, and pull requests in Bitbucket are linked to Jira Software for more context about the change. Engineers can deploy basic configuration changes without approval, while more significant changes require additional levels of review by architects.
With more structured incident and change management processes, along with better systems to support them, Infobip has seen the time to detect, engage, and fix issues all decrease. “In the beginning, it could take three days to close an alert. Now, the average is three minutes before they see the alert, close it, and start working on the issue,” Renato says. “We’re also seeing fewer incidents and improved fix times with older products.”
Upgrading and integrating in the name of stability and efficiency
“We don’t do it if it doesn’t help our customers”
Now that Infobip is being used by two-thirds of the world’s population in almost 200 countries, leveraging Atlassian Data Center to standardize and scale has proven to be a necessity, not just a luxury.
“Each landscape is very dynamic. We need to accommodate a lot of different setups so our customers have the freedom to choose how they want to deliver messages. It’s very tricky if you don’t do it in an automated way,” Damir says. “There are also lots of privacy and security requirements in each country and region, like GDPR. It takes a lot of infrastructure and engagement with our customers to accommodate all these different needs.”
venITure has played a key role in helping Infobip adapt, and they continue to collaborate on ways to take Infobip’s processes and platform to the next level. “venITure has been the perfect partner for us. It’s not just about the licenses, it’s about consulting and building new channels to the marketplace,” says Damir.
venITure Partner Kristijan Luburic adds that the two companies are currently working together to launch an Atlassian Marketplace app that integrates Jira Service Management Cloud with the Infobip API, so customers can use any channel Infobip serves (WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram, etc.) to communicate with their users in more ways.
And for Infobip, that’s what it’s all about: building meaningful customer relationships by making it easy to engage with people in the channels of their choice. “Everything we do is about serving our customers. We don’t do it if it doesn’t help our customers,” Damir says. “It’s about improving processes across the organization...We try to integrate all of our teams and services while still being compliant. Atlassian helps us in this process of bringing everything and everyone together.”