Hubspot + Atlassian

How to create a high-performing hub for teamwork, transparency, and communication

HubSpot’s team relies on Confluence to communicate and collaborate. But as the number of employees and pages grew, so did challenges with discoverability and performance. By hiring a Wiki Product & Knowledge Manager, migrating to Data Center, and integrating apps, HubSpot found invaluable solutions to support their fast-moving, transparent culture.

HubSpot — a growth platform for small to midsize businesses — was founded to make marketing and sales more human. Instead of pushing disruptive, impersonal ads and emails, their solutions help businesses pull in new customers through relevant, helpful content.

HubSpot lives by this mission internally as well, building a culture of transparency for their 2,600+ worldwide employees — a culture that’s powered by the relevant, helpful content their employees publish on Confluence.

By migrating from Confluence Server to Data Center and enhancing the platform with several apps, HubSpot has developed a high-performing, easy-to-use hub that fuels their communication, collaboration, and transparency.

Dedicating time and resources to HubSpot’s hub

Since HubSpot rolled out Confluence, the global organization uses it as the primary information source. Executives use Confluence for important announcements like business updates and new offices. Marketing uses it for project planning. Product uses it for documentation. Sales and Support use it as a knowledge base. HR People Operations uses it for communicating new benefits and recruiting strategies while Business Enablement uses it for documentation. Ciaira Castorena, Wiki Product & Knowledge Manager, explains, “If there’s something you need to know or want others to know, it goes [on Confluence].”

But as the number of employees and Confluence pages grew, it became harder to find the right information when needed. Plus, load times were slower during peak hours, and sometimes there were unexpected outages.

HubSpotters count on Confluence to stay informed and get their work done, so the company’s leadership invested in infrastructure and talent to support their employees’ success. They recruited a Wiki Product & Knowledge Manager who could be fully dedicated to managing Confluence content, solve their challenges, and plan ahead for growth. With an extensive background in collaboration software and community management, Ciaira was the perfect person for the job.

Confluence has enabled… anyone in the company equal opportunity to participate, ask questions, and use their voice towards building a company our employees’ grandkids can be proud of.

Katie Burke

Chief People Officer

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How to create a high-performing hub for teamwork, transparency, and communication

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Excited about the possibilities of this new opportunity, Ciaira embraced her greenfield role, rolled up her sleeves, and got to work. She began with two main goals: learn Confluence inside and out, and better understand how HubSpotters around the world use it. “I started digging into the instance and interviewing people across the company,” she explains. “I even went to our Dublin office to have their people weigh in because I knew everyone uses Confluence differently.”

After gathering research and uncovering pain points, Ciaira began formulating her plan of attack. First orders of business: minimize downtime and make content easier to find.

If there’s something you need to know or want others to know, it goes [on Confluence].

Ciaira Castorena

Wiki Product & Knowledge Manager

Collaboration for smooth upgrades and migrations

To address downtime, Ciaira began working with HubSpot’s System Operations team on system maintenance and upgrades. Matt Krohn, a Systems Engineer she often partners with, echoes that their collaboration helps ensure everything runs smoothly: “It’s nice to be able to chat with Ciaira when we’re testing an upgrade so she can say, ‘Oh this looks great!’ or ‘Hmm, it looks like this thing is broken.’”

One of the larger projects Ciaira and Matt collaborated on was HubSpot’s migration from Confluence Server to Data Center. Ciaira recommended to leadership that the company migrate from Server to Data Center to improve performance in the short-term while laying the groundwork for long-term growth. Once the project was approved, she reached out to Matt to begin the planning process.

The stakes were high, so they worked together from the beginning to minimize issues. “I don’t like flying by the seat of my pants when upgrading Confluence because it’s the highest-visibility tool we use,” Matt says. “If Confluence goes down, executives know immediately because they read and write with it all the time.”

Matt’s first task was to learn more about Data Center and understand the requirements for migration. After doing some research, he realized HubSpot should migrate their database management system first. Matt explains, “As long as we were doing this major overhaul with Confluence, we decided we might as well finally migrate our database from MySQL to Postgres. It was not easy, but we made it happen.”

With Postgres implementation complete, Matt and Ciaira turned their attention to Data Center. They collaborated for months to complete a full proof of concept and extensive testing. The preparation paid off, and the migration to Data Center went off without a hitch. In fact, Ciaira notes it was a non-event from the average HubSpotter’s perspective. Since then, there has been no unexpected downtime, even when popular posts go viral internally. Plus, HubSpot’s engineers can easily add new nodes to their clusters in AWS.

“I can just spin up a new node using our automation tools, migrate everything to the new one, then drop off the old one. It’s lovely on my side,” Matt reports. Ciaira adds, “I’ve gotten way fewer reports of error messages related to server connections, and content now loads faster.” With benefits for Confluence managers and users, the migration has been a big win and will continue to pay off as HubSpot grows.

Confluence: The key to HubSpot’s transparent culture

Since the migration, Ciaira has been focusing on making content easier to find and customizing Confluence with apps from the Atlassian Marketplace. From implementing archiving and analytics to adding more polish and personalization, each change is driven by HubSpot’s commitment to transparency and information sharing. "A transparent work environment leads to greater trust and alignment and for a global organization, that's paramount to our success," said Chief People Officer Katie Burke. "Confluence has enabled us to create a platform for continued transparency allowing anyone in the company equal opportunity to participate, ask questions, and use their voice towards building a company our employees’ grandkids can be proud of."

The significant improvements Ciaira and her team have made to Confluence are only the beginning. Looking forward, Ciaira wants to improve how employees stay informed and connected by building and facilitating usage of Confluence templates, creating a training program, exploring additional customizations, and empowering people to contribute even more.

“The bulk of my past projects were about shoring up our foundations and solving pain points to set us up for success later on,” says Ciaira. “Now, I’m going to focus on using our increasingly stabilized environment to expand capabilities and create an even more refined user experience worthy of the enterprise. We're about to get to the really fun stuff!”

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