TCO for JIRA – ITSM processes – part 1

From time to time we are to answer new customers with justification for CXO level. Such justification is rather financial than functional factors and proves that Atlassian® applications are cost effective. Usually we work with TCO model (Total Cost of Ownership) amended with ROI (Return on Investment), which is simple, however not trivial, analysis. TCO for JIRA ® for business cases will vary, depending on several factors. They are organizational, functional and others. 

Simple analysis

Recently we worked on quite simple case. Company just starting with organized internal IT (grown startup) with c.a. 50 IT employees (of 300 hired). They have chosen JIRA® for Project Management (business). Within IT they were struggling between JIRA and Service Now®, as several key employees worked with SN in the past. 

So we have one competitor, no currently used SW (OK, Outlook was used for handling cases), no tech integrations taken into account. Company set following processes:

  1. Solving failures and bugs (A.K.A. Incident/Problem Management, as in ITIL model)
  2. Handling User requests and needs
  3. Managing any IT administration tasks (tasks, changes)
  4. Keeping record of IT assets
  5. Start to build documented, repeatably applicable knowledge (How to’s, bugfixing)
  6. Use of predefined tools, techniques, tricks to keep it time-savvy
  7. Ease of administration and management, including scenarios to expand beyond IT

And it was intended to be cost-effective. So again – simple, bot not trivial at all task. 


Let’s leave functional factors for some other post. We dropped as well part of TCO for part 2 of this post (implementation costs, inter-operational costs etc.). Finally –  need to know –  to understand basics – what will cover TCO for JIRA?

TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) will cover following main costs: 

  • Computer hardware and programs
  • Operation expenses
  • Long term expenses

And there’s a lot of detailed factors… However, You can simplify that a bit in our case. And the main factors at the scratch will be:

  • License costs
  • Infrastructure costs
  • Implementation and adoption costs
  • HR costs (Administrators)

We leave Implementation and adoption for a part 2 of this post. It is highly dependable on detailed scope and requirements and may vary or even float. 

License, Infrastructure, HR costs

Below You will find some infographics showing results. When comparing JIRA® to Service Now® it looks like JIRA® + set of add-ons, making it really powerful ITSM tool is 2-3 times cheaper than Service Now®. Of course – analysis is based on some conditions: retail prices (no discounts), 3 years operational service, and for both scenarios we assume the same costs for infrastructure. Although with Service Now I am not too sure if with this level You could install it on premise.


In general – for c.a. 20 000 USD per year 1 and less than 11 000 USD for following years for technology, and 36 000 USD per year in HR costs You will get very powerful toolset for ITSM purposes. 

JIRA® Service Desk add-ons

If You look at list of add-ons we took into analysis, You will find:

  • Insight for JIRA – Asset management – useful also for CMDB, Service Catalog, and dynamic issue categorization
  • Issue Templates – used for building up predefined content in issues
  • Arsenale Dataplane reports – widely extending native JIRA reporting capabilities
  • Active Directory Sync – to get more from LDAP/AD integration
  • Actions and Extension for JIRA SD – useful utils to extend capabilities of Customer portal
  • Automation for JIRA – another useful util for JIRA allowing automation of issue handling, including queues like round-robin, etc.

And, of course – there is a Confluence. It is widely used as “Knowledge Base”, however… In meaning of Confluence use You should read our story here.

TCO for JIRA – ITSM processes – part 2

Second part of our short study will be posted soon, covering various aspects in implementation costs. We will also include few bullets on organization training costs.