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ANZ brings Atlassian technology on board to help turn company culture around

Stephanie Palmer-Derrien /

Atlassian founders

Atlassian co-founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar.

Australian big-four bank ANZ has enlisted startup giant Atlassian to give its company culture a 21st-century boost.

The bank has signed an enterprise licence agreement to use Atlassian’s collaboration tools Jira and Confluence, and development tools Bitbucket and Bamboo, as well as adopting some of the startup success story’s strategic thinking.

The partnership is part of the ANZ’s shift towards a more agile working environment, which is seeing the 180-year-old bank trying to transform into a workplace more in line with the digital economy.

In an article on ANZ’s Bluenotes platform, the bank’s group executive for technology Gerard Florian stressed the importance of maintaining a good company culture within the organisation.

“Great products come from great teams,” Florian said.

“Great teams are driven by great leadership. And great leadership comes from a great culture.”

He noted that “it’s not just the software behind the successful culture”, and added that ANZ is taking notes from Atlassian on how to go “beyond just using tools to improve an existing process” in order to implement them into ANZ’s entire internal operating system.

ANZ announced that it was embarking on an ‘agile-based transformation’ in May last year, and the partnership with Atlassian is part of its ‘new way of working model’ in the bank’s Australian arm.

Florian, along with ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliot and head of talent and culture Kathryn van der Merwe, spent some time in the lead up to the deal working with Atlassian’s head of R&D and workplace futurist Dom Price, discussing things such as how to oversee performance management in an agile workplace while maintaining a healthy company culture, Florian said.

“Given we are an older organisation and we’re trying to learn, these experiences are incredibly valuable,” Florian added.

“As the world continues to evolve and adapt into a fast-paced digital economy, it is more important than ever to have people who can help us meet the challenges and grasp the opportunities on offer,” he added.

In a statement, Price said shifting any organisation’s way of thinking and working is a challenge, “especially when it’s the combined thinking of more than 40,000 people”.

“You have to be open to really succeed in switching to an agile mindset, and it’s great to see that openness to change, even when it’s tough, from ANZ,” he added.

The partnership comes just days after Atlassian announced plans to acquire Boston-based IT management platform OpsGenie for US$295 million ($409.8 million).

The announcement of the acquisition on September 4 saw Atlassian’s share price jump — from $US90.16 ($125.67) at the opening of the market to its highest price ever of $US92.24 ($128.57), before closing at $US91.90 ($128.09) per share.

This hype was not to last, however, with Atlassian closing the following day with a share price of $US87.61 ($122.11).

Atlassian co-founders Mike Cannon Brookes and Scott Farquhar each saw their wealth double last year, reaching the positions of 11th and 12th on the AFR Rich List, worth $5.16 billion each.

The tech giant now has a market cap of about $US20.5 billion ($28.57 billion).

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Stephanie Palmer-Derrien

Stephanie Palmer-Derrien is a reporter at StartupSmart.

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