"Basically, this provides chat rooms for all the conversations you have with your teams and makes them persistent," Atlassian president Jay Simons said.
All of Atlassian's current tools, including its Confluence wiki and enterprise social network as well as its JIRA bug and issue tracking tool, are asynchronous, meaning that participants post updates at all different times. HipChat allows people to get together and solve problems in realtime, while also keeping a record of the conversation so those who come in late can more easily get caught up. If someone who needs to be part of a conversation isn't available at that moment, HipChat can send that person a message to let him know what he missed.
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HipChat also goes beyond simple chat interaction by allowing users to share files and images as part of the conversation. That could be particularly useful for developers and designers who want to share a screenshot as part of a conversation on changes to the design of a website or application, Simons said. "This works really well for what we do."
HipChat has a following among developers and at Web startups such as Groupon, Hubspot, Instagram, and Tumbler, as well as media operations such as Wired Magazine and Turner Broadcasting, HipChat CEO and co-founder Pete Curley said.
Atlassian was also a customer before it became an acquirer. "I should also mention that we did the deal in HipChat, which is a pure demonstration of its value," Simons said.
With 1,200 customers paying $2 per person per month, HipChat is starting to pick up non-techie customers such as law firms and car dealerships, Curley said. "When we started, I think we realized chat was a big problem, but our original concern was that we didn't know if everyone else realized it was a big problem," he said.
Simons said he expects Atlassian to treat HipChat as a separate tool that teams can add to their collaboration toolbox, rather than as software to be embedded in other Atlassian products.
One of HipChat's strengths is a strong application programming interface, however. "It's already been hooked up to a ton of Internet applications and Web services," Simons said. Integrations with Confluence, JIRA, and other products are already available, he said, tying in with recent enhancements to JIRA's social collaboration and social integration features.
The Enterprise Connect conference program covers the full range of platforms, services, and applications that comprise modern communications and collaboration systems. It happens March 26-29 in Orlando, Fla. Find out more.