Leveraging Jira To Deliver For Customers Across Three Continents

Leveraging Jira To Deliver For Customers Across Three Continents

Leveraging Jira To Deliver For Customers Across Three Continents

Scaling a company globally, with increasingly complex operations and a rapidly expanding customer base, is one of the most difficult challenges a management team can face.  To this end, it’s the firms that continue to deliver for customers while scaling-up that set themselves apart and become world-beaters. Options currently operates across three continents, with our clients, including leading hedge funds, asset managers and global investment banks, continuing to scale globally also. They demand an exceptional product (or a platform in Options’ case) that’s matched by exceptional customer service and we have to deliver, 24×7 and at a global scale.

A glance at the 2014 news stories on the Options website offers some perspective as to the many geographically diverse customer deployments and projects we faced last year. We built-out data centers in TY3 (Tokyo), Aurora and NJ5 (New York), opened new offices in Belfast, London and Chicago, and continued to service more than 150 clients globally, with offices ranging in longitude from Cape Town to Stockholm and in latitude from Auckland to Maui.

Operations at this scale is difficult but at Options, we believe it boils down to two things:
(i) great communication and teamwork, and
(ii) great systems.

In terms of global communication and teamwork, a couple of previous blogs have offered some insight into both our daily ops call and our use of Microsoft Lync. The third tool at the core of Options’ worldwide operation is our globally integrated delivery management system built on Jira from Atlassian.

Jira from Atlassian is an online collaboration tool to help IT departments, computer programmers and other professionals work together. Jira is primarily geared towards software development with default issue types such as ‘Bug’ and ‘Enhancement’ giving away its roots. Interestingly though, while Jira has been built with software development in mind the product is so flexible and configurable that it can meet almost any tracking and management requirement.

Over the past 2 years we have implemented an end-to-end management information system using Jira. This system, which we have leveraged with multiple add-ons to bolster the standard Jira functionality, has been truly transformative and can now be found within almost every business function in Options. From pre-sales and sales, including lead, opportunity management and RFPs, to marketing and support, from engineering and delivery management, to business as usual client account management, we now track almost everything through Jira and are always adding new processes.

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The benefits of Jira don’t just stop at collaboration. Our ability to create touch points between the business and engineering groups and implement workflows to ensure defined processes, with required sign-offs, has improved the clarity and visibility of information throughout the company. It has resulted in better decisions, faster reactions and more efficient allocation of resources.

A great example of a typical implementation of Jira is how we use it for financial governance. Using Jira we link the items from our core finance system to Jira and from there we define approval workflows, linking items such as purchase orders, payables, receivables and invoicing. The result is a one-stop shop for Options management to review and understand core functions like cash flow, costs of customer deployments, new sales and product development.

We have also recently added client engagement into Jira, bringing our clients the same functionality and benefits we have enjoyed, allowing us to better communicate and engage clients in terms of support and project management.

Jira has also proved crucial to Options’ 24×7 follow-the-sun delivery model, allowing people to collaborate and communicate in separate time zones and deliver projects of significant complexity. Simply put, it enables us to deliver for our clients every hour, of every day.

– Roger Rooney

MD for Operations, Options

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