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‘We let our customers down’: Atlassian stops short of saying sorry for April outage

- May 2, 2022 2 MIN READ
Atlassian, Mike Cannon-Brookes, Scott Farquhar
Atlassian co-founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar
Atlassian co-founders and co-CEOs Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar have told shareholders that the company “let our customers down” when an outage disrupted service for 775 subscribers earlier this month.

The acknowledgement, which stopped short of an apology, kicked off the Q3 FY22 shareholders letter coinciding with the company’s quarterly results.

The workplace software venture ended the third quarter of fiscal year 2022 with total revenue up 30% on 12 months ago at US$740.5 million.

Subscription revenue grew 59% year-over-year (YoY). Cloud revenue was up 60% YoY and Data Center rose 59% YoY.

But its bottom line was back in the red, with a Q3 loss of $US31.1 million (-A$44m) to March 31, a US$200 million turnaround on a US$159.8m profit 12 months ago.

Customer growth was modest, with active subscriptions rising by a net 8,054 net new customers in the quarter to 234,575 in total.

The business has appointed former Meta vice president and Facebook App head of engineering Rajeev Rajan as Atlassian’s new chief technology officer, clocking on this month.

Addressing the April outage, which first occurred around April 5, the co-CEOs revealed the number of affected customers were nearly double initial thoughts at 775.

Several cloud services were down for more than a week for those customers, meaning they’ve lost access to Jira Software, Jira Work Management, and several other services.

Multiple users took to Twitter to vent their frustrations and try and find out what was going on at the time. In response, Atlassian said at the time that it had “mobilized hundreds of engineers across the organization to work around the clock to rectify the incident”.

Writing to shareholders, Cannon-Brookes and Farquhar confirmed previous statements that it was not due to a cyber-attack and there was no unauthorised access to customer data, adding that they’ve improved both how the company responds to any problems as well as customer communications.

“Although the incident affected a tiny fraction of our 200,000+ cloud customer base, even one disrupted customer is one too many. All affected customers were fully restored, and in the spirit of our “open company, no bullshit” value, we will publish a full post-incident review at the end of this week,” the wrote.

“Operational excellence is all about continuous learning and improvement. Ultimately, we’ll be stronger because of this experience. We fully understand what caused the problem from a technical and operational standpoint, and how to prevent similar incidents in the future.

“We now have more robust incident response and communications processes in place. And we’re open to learning more as we speak with affected customers individually about how we can rebuild trust.”

The business now has more than 8000 staff.