Is Atlassian Marketplace the right fit for SaaS vendors?

If you are a SaaS vendor following my previously posted advice (or even if you just stumbled upon this post) then you might be wondering if Marketplace is really the right way to promote your product with Atlassian. Of course, you know about Atlassian’s highly-scaled, self-service sales model but it’s no surprise that a cursory look our Marketplace documentation might make you think it’s all about “selling Apps”.

For Atlassian, everything is an “App”

This post is about explaining how Atlassian’s “technology partner” model is rooted in Marketplace, and how the Marketplace is a great option for free integrations, even ones built into SaaS products. To start, let me point to a few examples of Apps that might not seem like Apps:

  • Jira Cards by Miro. Create and edit Jira issues from a card so that teams can make Jira Cards a part of collaborative retrospectives, story sizing, backlog prioritization, story mapping and other team activities. This integration was built by Miro into their product, so the “Get it now” button links into their site.
  • Datadog Jira Integration. This integration automatically creates issues from Datadog alerts, all from within Datadog. Again, this Datadog-built listing links right to Datadog.
  • Jira Cloud for Google Sheets. Built by Atlassian but as an example of “off-Atlassian” integration, this integration links to an App installed in Google Sheets.

Ideally, these kind of informational listings are just a stepping stone, not the final stop of the journey. We hope that SaaS vendors will come to see the value of pulling some of their UI/UX experience into the Atlassian products. We find that rich integration inside both partner products is the best way to delight customers, which drives to business results like increasing customer acquisition, user acquisition, and sales across our companies.

Interpreting App approval guidelines

If what you are listing as an app is “built-in” to your product, then interpreting Atlassian’s guidelines can feel a bit tricky. Here are some of the more “sticky” guidelines and my advice for how to interpret them:

Publish a security statement: Cloud apps require a published security statement to be listed in the Marketplace.

Surely, your Cloud product has it’s own security statements. When your integration is built-in, then the security statements for your product apply. That works for us.

No advertisements: Your listing shouldn’t contain advertising for other apps, products or services. The app shall not place similar advertising in-product (within the user interface of Jira, Confluence or other host products).

Mainly, we want Marketplace listings to explain their integration. Notice how all the examples I provide freely mention their own product? We’re not saying you can’t talk about your product but we should both want mutual customers to understand the value of integration.

Secure authentication: Whilst your app may make use of Basic authentication with Atlassian’s product REST APIs for ease of development/speed during development, this shall not be the case for any public, approved app.

Where possible, we ask that integrations use OAuth. If it’s not possible today, let us know why. In time, I believe OAuth will span all our products and APIs. When we do, just be ready to make to change.

Informational listing

If you have gotten your head around the Atlassian model, then don’t get stuck in just getting the listing done! But that’s easy enough because the forms and flow for vendors in our Marketplace grew up from days when our ecosystem was about downloadable plugins. The trick is knowing that the option for you is just “My app isn’t directly installable”.

Yes, many of the following form fields still “smell” like you have a real app to upload but that’s not because we don’t want your integration listed.

If you get stuck in the process, just ask for help here in this community. There are many developers here who have been through the process more times than I can count. Or, if you made it through the process and have feedback, let us know. We certainly want to make Marketplace better for everyone.