Atlassian: A Case of Too Much Content

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May 27, 2013

Article ImageCompany: Atlassian

Founded in Sydney in 2002, Atlassian is a private software company creating products to assist project managers and software developers. With offices in Sydney, San Francisco, and Amsterdam, Atlassian boasts companies such as Facebook, Cisco, Netflix, and NASA as clients. Its myriad products assist in project and issue tracking, collaboration and content sharing, distributed version control solutions, and more, based on a foundation of openness, transparency, teamwork, and heart.

Business Challenge

With no traditional sales department, Atlassian's primary marketing and sales tool is its website, As its array of products grew, the company's sales and marketing needs broadened, meaning it needed to easily add new content to its site. The process for adding new, dynamic web content via thousands of JavaServer Pages (JSP) was not efficient enough to keep pace with the demands of a growing business operating in an international, global market. Atlassian knew it needed to streamline the process quickly.


A privately held Swiss company, Magnolia International Ltd. was founded in 1997 and released Magnolia CMS Version 1.0 in 2003 as an open source CMS. It quickly developed into a popular product for content management based on Java and JSR-170 in community and enterprise editions. Today, Magnolia is used by thousands of organizations in 100-plus countries, including governments and Fortune 500 companies such as ING and Michelin.


A growing business is never a "problem." However, keeping up with demand and continuing growth while holding true to mission and philosophy can be a challenge. Atlassian had found great success with JIRA, its issue and project tracking product, and Confluence, its collaboration tool. By 2010, with these and other products as well as the introduction of $10 Starter Licenses (the proceeds of which are donated to the nonprofit Room to Read), business had grown by leaps and bounds to 10,000 customers.

With new products in the pipeline, Atlassian constantly needed to update its website with new, fresh content. This was especially important as Atlassian operates on a self-service model for buying software, making its website its best and only "salesman." Unfortunately, the process for integrating new content, or even fixing something simple such as a spelling mistake, could take up to 2 weeks to implement. This was inefficient, time-consuming, and simply too cumbersome to keep up with the pace of growth.

"Previously our site was comprised of a series of JavaServer Pages (JSP) that were becoming unwieldy. These pages intermixed content, and presentation, and every change to our site was funneled through one developer. This slowed us down," explains Mark Halvorson, director of interactive at Atlassian. "We knew we needed to find a better solution that would grow with us."

Add to this a plan for rebranding, a complete site redesign, and the necessity to increase Atlassian's global reach by implementing scalable content translation into multiple languages, and the company knew that it was not necessarily looking at a simple process. Nevertheless, Halvorson and his team knew that it was time to modernize with a content management system.

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