What Atlassian's Success Teaches us on Agile Business Fundamentals

Is anyone surprised that a SaaS company that provides agile project management tools to software developers, marketers, and enterprises is about to IPO at a $3.3 Billion valuation on revenues of $320M? I'm talking about Atlassian of course and if you've been leading agile practices you know them for their tools like Jira and Confluence that help teams manage agile programs and collaborate across teams. What you might not have know is how strong of a business Atlassian is even when you compare them against large SaaS providers like Salesforce and Workday that target much larger markets.

How Businesses Can Be Successful with Agile Practices

Atlassian's financial benchmarks are truly impressive. Now assuming they run their business with agile practices and their own collaboration tools - one can see the financial benefits of running an agile business and targeting an agile culture -
  • When you build a simple to use tool, it sells itself - "Atlassian has spent between 0.04% and 2% of their revenue on customer acquisition in the last three years. These metrics are simply unheard of." It is one of three enterprise-grade technologies that is sold without salespeople calling you - the other two are from Apple.

  • It doesn't take a lot of R&D $s to target a Minimally Viable Product -  "Atlassian spends frugally in research and development, investing only single-digit percentages of revenue over the last three years, substantially less than the typical SaaS company"

  • Agile is for everyone and there is no excuse to be managing your projects with spreadsheets! - Atlassian has 48,000 customers paying on average $5500/year and with only 864 customers paying more than $50K/year.  

  • Agile tools and practices is not sufficient without agile culture and happy people - They have a 4.2 rating on Glassdoor where 88% would recommend a friend working there and were listed as the best place to work in Australia for two years in a row. "They’ve ingrained the engineering mindset in their culture" and "every time a product question is asked by a customer, Atlassian engineers see it as a challenge to fix" are part of the Atlassian Culture.

Digital Transformation Start with Agile Practices

Of all the things I've read the last couple of weeks, it is this quote that really stands out

"All companies fit into one of two buckets: either becoming a software company or being disrupted by one. Every industry is being fundamentally altered by software" - Cannon-Brooks, co-CEO of Atlassian.

 More enterprises have to learn from the best.


  1. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog, I will keep visiting this blog very often.

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  2. Makes for great reading. Wonderful insights.


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About Isaac Sacolick

Isaac Sacolick is President of StarCIO, a technology leadership company that guides organizations on building digital transformation core competencies. He is the author of Digital Trailblazer and the Amazon bestseller Driving Digital and speaks about agile planning, devops, data science, product management, and other digital transformation best practices. Sacolick is a recognized top social CIO, a digital transformation influencer, and has over 900 articles published at InfoWorld, CIO.com, his blog Social, Agile, and Transformation, and other sites. You can find him sharing new insights @NYIke on Twitter, his Driving Digital Standup YouTube channel, or during the Coffee with Digital Trailblazers.