Enhancing status reporting - a case study

Organisations are using tools to track progress of projects and for managing their operations. Many companies find it useful to understand what is happening and to automatically respond to certain events. A simple example might be that every hundred incomplete customer purchases require a case review.

Atlassian's approach to status management is their tool JIRA

There are so many ways of keeping track of progress and it is important to keep realistic expectations of JIRA but we made it work for our client.

Many companies can't be expected to have the in-house capability to write applications to interact with third party vendor API's.

Even fewer solutions providers can get on top of new technology so quickly and work with key stakeholders to deliver the right solution.

JIRA was originally a tool used to record software defects but through enhancement and customisation JIRA has been reoriented towards agile project management and issue tracking. Useful features entail significant customisable functionality to allow you to manage workflows and meaningful categories and information.

Many plugins exist for JIRA meaning you can install functionality not written by Atlassian and use it to save time. One caveat with plugins is there is no guarantee they will work when JIRA is upgraded.

An API is an Application Programmable Interface and is written by third party vendors when their customers start wanting niche functionality not wanted by other customers. Niche functionality is unprofitable, and vendors decide to allow their customers to enhance their own business processes by writing code against their system in a controlled way. It is little surprise that more successful applications tend to allow bespoke customisation through an API or similar.

Significant functionality has been exposed through JIRA's API and with that comes a lot of opportunity and complexity. The one major advantage developing against their API versus using a plugin is better protection against future changes and can develop the system functionality much closer to what the client needs.

Even small organisations have multiple systems manage their operations by having systems talk to each other. In addition to an Enterprise Data Warehouse, organisations need systems to interact.

About the project for our client

Our client decided to build their own trade surveillance system which analysed trading activity by their clients to identify potential rogue trading and chose JIRA ServiceDesk for their team to manage cases.

We were tasked with the following;

  • Setting up new screens and project data in JIRA.
  • Writing new .Net/C# applications to send data to JIRA and back to the Enterprise Data Warehouse.
  • Create new reports in SSRS to attach to these JIRA cases.
  • Keep track of this data to avoid storing the same information more than once.
  • Pull user data from JIRA back into the Enterprise Data Warehouse to allow for powerful reporting for end users.
  • Save reports in JIRA as Excel spreadsheets and raw text files.
  • Integrated these applications with the client's designated batch control application - Dollar Universe.

About the result

The client has been able to get a lot of extra value from their existing data warehouse, new surveillance system and extending the functionality of JIRA. We found this an interesting piece of work.