Best of JIRA Add-Ons: eazyBI
We’re kicking off a blog series about JIRA’s Top Add-Ons, featuring the Add-Ons we think bring the most value to our clients. First up, we want to talk about eazyBI, a powerful add-on that facilitates powerful reports, charts and dashboards within JIRA.
Why we love it.
JIRA power users will often reach the end of the reporting features that come out of the box and look to their JIRA admins to provide much more extensive tools.
Many of our clients have colleagues that have been downloading issues from JIRA (or the competing products we’re migrating them to JIRA from, such as Rally and VersionOne) and processing the issue data in Excel to create complex reports. They spend hours (or more!) doing this manual data manipulation each month, and sometimes even then making screenshots and pasting into Powerpoint!
It’s a big priority for me to free people from that cycle and save them sometimes hundreds of work hours a year by bringing best-in-class statistical tools to JIRA that report on live data right inside of the dashboards, either in JIRA or Confluence. We expand JIRA reporting capabilities exclusively using eazyBI.
eazyBI is such a big hit with our clients, I knew that they were the first JIRA add-on I was going to feature in our Best of JIRA Add-ons Series. Try a demo of eazyBI today!
We recently helped a global life sciences hardware and software manufacturer implement eazyBI to create complex reporting their Scaled Agile Framework sprints. Our client has a software suite comprised of 12 components that operate their scientific and industrial measurement tools. Each of these 12 components are developed by 2 – 6 teams spread across 4 continents. We spent over six months developing reporting on every aspect of their efforts, and eazyBI allowed us to slice and dice the data any way they wanted. In addition, we worked directly with our partners at eazyBI support to work out the trickiest parts for our client.
Lets go behind the scenes on how eazyBI came to be, its biggest benefits and how it’s changing the business intelligence scene in our interview with founder and core developer of eazyBI – Raimonds Simanovskis.
Justin Leader, HyperVelocity: How did you initially decide to integration with JIRA?
Raimonds, eazyBI: I have been using JIRA in various software development projects since 2005.
There was always a need for JIRA project and issue status reports, and I used various available reporting and BI (“business intelligence”) tools to build reports. However, JIRA versions kept changing and the repeated setup of reporting tools was complex. Maintaining those reports and keeping them up-to-date was a time-consuming and error-prone task.
Recognizing that, eazyBI was initially deployed as a SaaS solution on eazybi.com. It included REST API data import from JIRA and other applications. Many JIRA Server customers quickly discovered eazyBI but they needed to keep their data secure behind their firewall, on their own servers.
At the end of 2012, eazyBI was finally packaged and released as a JIRA add-on on Atlassian Marketplace. The following year, when Atlassian released the Atlassian Connect framework for JIRA Cloud, it was easy for eazyBI to implement it, as we already had our own SaaS platform. eazyBI became the first Atlassian Connect add-on in production on Atlassian Marketplace.
HyperVelocity: What drives teams to eazyBI?
eazyBI: JIRA is a very powerful and flexible system. You can put a lot of data in it, but it is not always easy to get summary data out of it. An average person does not care about specifics. All they want is a way to do things smarter, faster and simpler.
With eazyBI is it possible to fully automate the collection and publishing of KPIs (“key performance indicators”) for the company. It is easy to perform real-time analysis and data discovery by drilling through the details of eazyBI reports and charts. You can’t do that in static PowerPoint slides or Excel charts. With some persistence, the average eazyBI user can create his own reports and charts – no more bothering programmers and developers by requesting, defining, and redefining desired reports over and over again.
HyperVelocity: What’s the biggest hurdle that you see in adopting eazyBI and making it work for teams?
eazyBI: We are trying to make eazyBI as easy-to-use as possible, but there is still an inherent underlying complexity that is difficult to overcome. There is a learning curve and, to make the most out of eazyBI, key users have to be prepared to spend some time learning basic business intelligence concepts and the capabilities of eazyBI. We are working to reduce the learning curve by providing helpful documentation with short demo videos and training webinars. Recently we also introduced an interactive tutorial to help our customers to get started quickly.
Another big hurdle is that in large and complex JIRA installations, it is not always clear how to transform numbers into useful reports. When it’s clear how the data is stored in JIRA, it becomes much easier to plan and create powerful reports. It is important first to understand business needs behind a report. Only then it is possible to prepare the right solution. This is how we approach every request in our support channel.
HyperVelocity: How does eazyBI stand out from your competitors?
eazyBI: eazyBI was not intended as a JIRA plugin; it was built as a general purpose BI tool. This gives eazyBI a flexibility that reaches way beyond what can operate within the Atlassian ecosystem. Our technology stack is different. This gives eazyBI certain advantages, including speed of development, stability, security, cross-platform infrastructure and compatibility with different systems and applications. Only a few other add-on developers are using Ruby and Ruby-on-Rails in their development.
HyperVelocity: Is there a client that has done really interesting and fantastic things that surprised you?
eazyBI: One of our partners, Burti has built a new product based on Private eazyBI. The flex.bi is a customized reporting and dashboarding solution for HansaWorld business management system.
Some eazyBI users display eazyBI dashboards on large monitors in their offices to keep everyone up-to-date with project statuses and main business KPIs.
During the Atlassian Summit one of our customers came to us and told that she used to spend a full day every month preparing reports in Excel about data exported from JIRA. Now they have fully automated that using eazyBI.
It is always rewarding to hear such positive feedback.
HyperVelocity: Tell us about the eazyBI team!
Today we are 10 people, all working remotely from 6 different cities and towns in Latvia. We use chat, screen sharing, weekly remote meetings and, about once every month, an all-team on-site meeting. A few times a year, the whole eazyBI team, travel together to conferences and events. The most recent event was the AtlasCamp in Barcelona.