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The pursuit of an adaptive system for more workflow efficiency is a typical endeavour in every enterprise. Automation and tech-enabled frameworks have contributed to improving the workflow process. But with the competitive costs and strenuous effort to lay a routine takes more time than we save.

Nonetheless, not all optimizations are pricey or tiring. One of the many fast and flexible methods for optimization is the possible integration of tools in use. One such tool is JIRA, the proprietary issue tracking platform developed by Atlassian. Nonetheless, the product is widely used and preferred by companies of all sizes. And while users are finding good value, the platform still has scope for more.

This is where integrations come in! JIRA is used in numerous integrations – all defined by a particular purpose. Amongst them, Jenkins and Jira integration tool is known for identifying minute issues in Jenkins job on Jira. Interestingly, even this scope can be re-defined! There is one passionate technocrat who actually made it happen.

We are talking about Mark Rekveld, a senior software engineer, designer, solutions architect with an extensive background in Open Source Technology. Through his bootstrapped venture, Marvelution, Mark is offering Jenkins Integration for Jira with customized add-ons as a fully integrated first-class solution.

Recently, Business Connect had the opportunity for an interview with this esteemed technocrat. In the conversation, Mark talked about his journey from starting Marvelution as a hobby to establishing its presence across the globe. Marvelution is mushrooming as a firm with customized Jenkins and Jira integration tool that promises better efficiency where it’s implemented. Below is the story from that conversation.

Mark launched Marvelution in 2008 as an umbrella project to host a number of open source projects he was working on to hone his technological skills. He had no cognizance of how this was going to change his entire life. With time, Marvelution hosted multiple open source projects, but what stood the test of time was the ‘Jira Hudson Integration project’.

The fact – that the project had a different take on integrating Hudson, successor to Jenkins with Jira and has been re-written several times to overcome scalability issues, fascinated him. He also knew that users generally opt to configure the integration and behaviour of the built-in configuration of each job in Jenkins. This results in strenuous work, configuring numerous jobs, including credentials needed to push results to Jira.

Mark spotted the opportunity to create an offering that connects ‘Jira with Jenkins,’ on the notion that Jira will collect errors, and configure how to update results on Jenkins server in a Jira App. He termed it as ‘A Single Source of Truth’. And to shape his cognizance, he built the Jenkins Integration for Jira app. Administrators need to configure the integration only once, after that Jenkins pushes data to Jira and Jira in turn will process the results, making sure all necessary actions are taken.

Following its launch, the product became a trusted integration for numerous global magnates. The staggering success made Mark establish Marvelution as a fully-fledged Company in 2015 to further continue developing the product and provide integrated support on Jira Cloud.

With the industrial changes, customer preferences in technology have taken a paradigm shift. Even if it’s a dedicated purpose, the solution needs to be straight out of the box with no exceptions. There was a time when people would work with tech-enablers for a solution that runs best in their framework. But now it’s completely upside down. “The only handful of customers will be willing to work with you after they try your product, but may end up not using it”, asserts Mark. Simply put, customers are less forgiving than they were 10 years ago.

On the other hand, there is stirring demand for cloud services. And there need to be continuous developments to stay in the game. Mark understands shifting conditions as a technocrat, which is why his Jenkins Integration for Jira cloud app is updated on a timely basis. The app has a stimulating demand for its scalability and will likely set benchmarks by the end of this year.

But off-course, Marvelution isn’t driven by traditional R&D or analytics. It maintains an end-to-end relationship with clients and aims to work with them to drive better features for the app. From time to time, customers add bigger things to their wishlist, like supporting automation rules, which will take a trial-and-error approach combined with a public beta period before going mainstream.

The end-to-end transactions backed by real-time support helps it increase its footprint across the globe. Marvelution has completed 3k+ Installations for clients from 100 + Nations. Many of its pioneer brands are still attached to it even after a decade.

Cloud computing is growing in full swing to drive customer preferences. When Mark entered the market, people were still using server or data centre deployments for workflow optimization.

But as soon as Cloud computing entered the market, it took the technology realm by the storm. Ever since, more and more customers have been shifting to cloud integrations, either for its benefits or due to the influence of tech integrators. With this dynamic shift, Mark also saw that most of the floating features are cloud-first, or cloud-only.

For Cloud-first strategies, enterprises would seek for cloud-based solutions to implement or replace their IT infrastructure. On the contrary, the cloud-only approach requires enterprises to implement cloud computing in systems and services. The value and prominence of Cloud, drives Marvelution’s differentiating factor. It strives to release new app features through cloud-first because of the faster release cycle but eventually follows up with a release that customers can use on their own server and data centre deployments.

As Marvelution’s flagship and most valuable product, The Jenkins Integration for Jira app has undergone 3-4 rewrites to overcome implementation issues. Functioning for over 13 years with Jenkins and Jira has made it a robust solution that tailors its purpose well, whether small or large-scaled customers.

At the outset, trust was one of the critical factors to Marvelution, and even after 13 years, it has the same transparency. “There is no BS shared with customers in an attempt to keep them”, adds Mark. And while Marvelution is a completely solo-play, it has acted promptly, even off support hours, so that clients aren’t blocked or have to wait for the resolution. Support tickets are responded to as quickly as possible, and if required, are moved to development to implement new features that fit the requirement.

In such a case, the support ticket is always linked to the development ticket to make sure the customer (origin) is kept in the loop. Not to mention, with a satisfaction rating of 4 out of 5, Mark and his value-added services have paid off.

Given the fact that Marvelution is: a One-man show, Mark does collaborate with others on certain projects and tasks. And while it’s completely remote work, collaborating with people has helped Mark create a network of people with specific testing skills or design experience. Marvelution always looks for people or companies that are like-minded to collaborate. Everyone in the focus group knows what needs to be done and gets it done. “Put it simply, “it just works”,” remarks Mark.

Working solo on a remote framework benefitted Mark significantly during the COVID-19. Since it was all about getting the job done, it really didn’t matter to him in case he needed to give extra effort. Time is Money! And being technically accommodated, it was easy for him to connect with people for particular assistance. To sum up, where every company was struggling to survive, safeguard its resources, Marvelution manoeuvred through the chaos quite systematically.

When asked about his favourite achievements, Mark proffered two questions, “Am I happy?” or “Did I do what needed to be done?” Before getting into the meaning, we need to understand that work-life balance is important to ensure optimal performance and productivity. Now, Mark feels that focusing on day-to-day goals along with a knack for life will ensure balance or otherwise burnout.

Being balanced is not about segregating one from the other, but on the contrary, it’s about maintaining harmony and enjoying life. Mark believes life is a blend of work and personal space. And after a full day’s work, achieving all the desired goals, when you get to bed, you go with a smile, and that is an achievement. And doing so, one finally answers the above-mentioned questions.

Mark believes the passion for work and love for life is the greatest achievement anyone can hope for. Although he is the whole & soul of his company, he wants his first and then every employee to experience and experiment on this. Because he believes, “A happy employee will bring better quality than an unhappy one can ever imagine”.

Jira Cloud is unveiling a treasure full of opportunities to grow. Moreover, with companies like Atlassian, who are pushing Jira Cloud for more innovation, it is creating valuable opportunities for Marvelution to further develop its Jenkins Integration for Jira app, to meet – the demands of tomorrow.

“Be honest, open, listen and don’t be afraid to fail. People tend to be more understanding if you are open and honest, and will in turn also be more forgiving when you fail from time to time. Failure is just a means to measure success, but hiding failures from others will negatively impact on how you measure success”.

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