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IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: How IT Teams Can Tame Complexity and Seize Opportunity in 2024

January 18, 2024 No Comments

2023 was a watershed year. IT teams embraced new opportunities in the form of emerging tech like generative AI, while also grappling with increased workloads and organizational complexity. We recently sat down with Solomon Gifford—Senior Vice President of Customer Operations at Contegix, an Atlassian Premium Partner—to discuss what’s top of mind for IT decision makers in 2024 and how their teams can make sense of an increasingly crowded landscape. 

Q. As you talk to IT decision makers about 2024, what themes are you seeing?

The word that comes to mind is complexity. Several factors—including an explosion in new software tools, evolving cybersecurity threats, and more—have converged to make the IT function more extensive and complex than ever. Of course, this has an impact on IT teams. In one study conducted by Ivanti last year, a quarter of IT workers said they were considering leaving their jobs—in large part because of rising stress and workloads. The report estimated that an exodus of this size could cost U.S. employers over $145 billion. 

This creates a challenge: how do IT teams reduce their workload while simultaneously driving impact? That’s where we come in. 

Q. How does Contegix help address this challenge for IT teams? 

More than 260,000 companies use Atlassian products—but to maximize their investment, they need solutions tuned to their use case. The Atlassian Marketplace is an unmatched source of applications that create additional value through process optimization and accelerated innovation. However, customers often tell us it’s daunting to choose the perfect mix of add-ons among 6,000 applications—not to mention the time and resources it takes to evaluate. Contegix has spent more than two decades helping IT professionals tackle this challenge.

We help companies navigate Atlassian and the marketplace partner ecosystem’s offerings to identify, deploy, and optimize the right solutions. We leverage our experience solving real business problems so that IT teams don’t have to spend time and resources reinventing the wheel through trial and error. Plus, we have something called the MARS database with five years of data on Atlassian applications—including popularity, growth, pricing, releases, and more. 

Q. You just launched a new tool that makes these insights more accessible to the IT industry. Can you tell us more?

In the past, we’ve worked directly with customers to recommend the applications best-suited to their product suite, size, and business pain points. And while we still do this, we wanted to make some of the data we use to make our recommendations accessible to the entire industry. Our new tool, MARS Atlas, does just that.

MARS Atlas is an intelligent interface designed to empower strategic IT decision making. Users can, for example, answer a few questions about their business—including which Atlassian products they use, company size, and budget—to receive personalized, AI-powered recommendations. This comes with key data, like user growth, pricing changes, and recent releases. Alternatively, users can browse curated selections of application data based on use case or category, such as IT Service Management or Process Management. 

This data can be a gamechanger for IT teams. Having the confidence to know that an app is well-supported by a vendor or doesn’t have long-standing critical vulnerabilities—or just knowing which applications work well together—jumpstarts the selection process and increases velocity. As the only solution of its type and size, MARS Atlas helps companies achieve their desired business value quickly rather than spending days or weeks sifting through information on 6,000 applications. 

Q. Can you give us a sense of the data IT decision makers will gain access to? What trends are you seeing across the Atlassian Marketplace? 

In 2023, overall Atlassian Marketplace adoption rose 12%, with significant growth in test management, integration, and planning applications. 2023’s fastest-growing applications include Diagrams and Whiteboards, Zephyr Scale, Xray Test Management, Power BI Connector for Jira, Microsoft 365 for Jira, and ScriptRunner for Jira. 

As we look to 2024, established applications will continue to be top performers. However, we also have our eye on the race to implement AI. Current AI applications have limited installs, but some major marketplace vendors are investing significantly in this area and we expect to see a lot of activity as customers explore how AI can add value to their business processes.  

In the end, most businesses want to focus on their products and services. Companies that have access to useful data, like we provide with MARS Atlas, can cut through the noise, make faster and better IT decisions, and accelerate value realization rather than getting distracted researching solutions.  

Solomon Gifford is the Senior Vice President of Customer Operations at Contegix, a leading Atlassian Platinum Solutions Partner in the U.S. and Canada. He has 20+ years of technology leadership experience in the Federal, Commercial, Non-Profit and Education sectors, primarily in the managed services industry. Solomon holds a Masters of Computer Science Applications from Virginia Tech and has six years of university classroom teaching experience where he taught over 1,000 students.

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