This is an interview post we recorded with John Roberts-Davies an Atlassian consultant from the UK who has been implementing solutions using Email This Issue for probably the longest amount of time we are aware of.
META-INF: Please introduce yourself and let us know who you are and what you do.
John Roberts-Davies: I work as an Atlassian Consultant and have been using Atlassian products for over a decade now. A few years ago, I became a consultant focusing on Atlassian products only because I like working with the Atlassian products.
META-INF: Which Atlassian products do you work with the most?
John: Jira and Confluence mainly. These are the most popular products at my customers.
META-INF: And when did you start to work with Email This Issue?
John: I’ve been working with your app since 2012 or 2013. It was a long time ago. At my job, we have started with your competitor but later we turned to Email This Issue and I never went back to the other product. I use your app every time I need to implement a solution involving email integration for a customer.
META-INF: What typical companies do you work for?
John: My background is with manufacturing companies; I've come from the operational side. I worked for Sony for a long time where I was the service manager of Sony Professional in Budapest at that time and travelled to Budapest every two months. Then I moved to other technology companies, and that's what I'm doing now, I keep working for tech companies as an Atlassian consultant. Typical size of the companies are about 200-300 employees.
META-INF: How many of your customers eventually start using Email This Issue and which platforms do they prefer?
John: Every company where I have been involved with the Atlassian suite, has used Email This Issue. They use all platforms; however, I have less hands-on experience with the app on Cloud at the moment. I'm evaluating migration from server to Cloud but my evaluation did not reveal any showstoppers.
META-INF: Glad to hear that! We have been working on an automated migration solution which will make life of our on-premise customers a lot easier. We’ll keep you informed! What typical use cases do you implement with our app?
John: I often implement solutions based on Jira Service Management. Particularly for companies working with external customers, JSM’s internal email integration is not sufficient. For them, I implement a more sophisticated solution with Email This Issue. The limitations in Jira come from the not enough control over the notifications and email processing. One very typical use is to process email differently depending on the sender or other attributes of the email. This is not possible with JSM at the moment, this is where your app really shines.
META-INF: What do you like most in our app?
John: With Email This Issue, it is possible to extract data from the email and drive the processing logic based on this data. Setting issue fields, triggering workflow transitions. We can tailor the email channel to the very need of the customer. In most cases, when it comes to email integration, I could implement the requirements with JETI, particularly with the not-so-new Next-Gen Mail Handlers.
META-INF: Let’s talk about your journey with Email This Issue. Why did you choose our app over the competing ones? What made you stick with it?
John: It was always the balance between flexibility of features and being able to empower admins. It is not ideal if I set up something and ongoing maintenance needs to be done by rocket scientists. Some of the competitor apps were overly complex. With Email This Issue, I can train admins or project admins to make changes to the configuration. It is highly customizable, there is no need to go into scripting for e.g.
META-INF: Do you really train your customers on configuring Email This Issue?
John: Yes, definitely! I train the admins, create documentation in Confluence for them. This is pretty useful for me because my customer comes back to me with the new requirements and not with every little change.
META-INF: This sounds amazing! How many admins do you typically train at your customers to configure JETI?
John: Typically, 3 people, it is safe because there is always someone available to make changes, not only one person.
META-INF: How exactly do you teach them? Do you start with the basics and gradually go to the more advanced topics?
John: I typically train them to adjust the solution I have implemented. I don't teach them how to build a new whole workflow because that's what I want to do with them.
META-INF: Training is very interesting because we were not aware of companies or Atlassian consultants providing them to their customers. The funny thing is that we are about to launch our own training program in a few weeks literally. Is it something of your interest?
John: Yes, definitely it is. Thank you for involving me. The funny thing is that admins or super admins are sometimes afraid to ask what they need because they think it cannot be done. Therefore, I really need to push and push them and ask questions like "What would make your working day completely revolutionary or different?". They normally say something like "It would be great if emails would be processed like this and that etc" And I always say, "Not possible? Let me have a look" and I come up with a solution, put together a workflow, add
like this and that etc" And I always say, "Not possible? Let me have a look" and I come up with a solution, put together a workflow, add some scripting and email channel with Email This Issue, that's what I really like. If I struggle with something, I know where to look for help, I get quality information from you guys, and this is really helpful.
META-INF: Have you implemented integration use cases with JETI?
John: Yes, I had one customer that used an external system to communicate with their customers. The workflow was interesting, and the result became super simple. Customers filled a form, uploaded a file etc in the external system that sends an email. The app decides if this is a relevant email or not. It extracts fields and depending how these fields are filled, script runner and automation run different rules. We decided to use email integration instead of integrating the system with Jira because of the simpllicity of emails.
META-INF: You mentioned Scriptrunner a few times. Did you know that Email This Issue in Server/DC can be integrated with ScriptRunner. Built on this integration, interesting use cases may be implemented for e.g. send our release notes emails to stakeholders when a version becomes Released.
John: This sounds amazing it will help me some a problem with Smart Attachments.
META-INF: Do you have any wishes in terms of features or fixes?
John: There is a problem with Microsoft as email provider in the cloud, namely the throttling. Feedback is not realiably if an email is sent or not due to Throttling limitations. It sometimes fails silently. Any help working with Microsoft in the Cloud would be helpful, particulary indicating the status of emails.
META-INF: Cool, this is already available in the Audit Log :-)
John: Yes, I have seen this, but I wonder if this can trigger OpsGenie as well?
META-INF: It can! Please check out the Webhook Alerting functionality. It will allow you to configure webhooks and receive alerts when something fail. John, thank you for your time and answers. Good luck with your projects, we do hope you will be able to please your customers implementing solutions with the help of our apps.