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JXL: MARS™ App of the Month (March 2022)

March 24, 2022
JXL for Jira by Fine Software

MARS App Profile:

App: JXL for Jira

Vendor: Fine Software

Primary Category: Business Analysis

Active Instances: 609

Instances Monthly Growth: 14%

Instances 2022 Growth: 31%

Competitors: Excel-like Issue Editor for Jira (Ricksoft), JExcel PRO (MORESIMP), Structure (ALM Works)

MARS™

One of our unique offerings at Blended Perspectives is our Marketplace Analytic Research Service (MARS) database of Atlassian Marketplace 3rd party apps.

While many Atlassian Partners make their own apps, we believed that we could bring greater value to our customers and the Atlassian Community as a whole by creating a quantitative and objective database covering every facet of the Atlassian Marketplace.

MARS contains a vast array of data from instances, reviews, and pricing, to platform, app growth, and version releases. This is all tied together at the top level through our meaningful app categorization in which, for every app with over 500 instances, we carefully assigned our own categories based on the primary functionality of each app. We do this instead of using Marketplace app categorizations which are somewhat meaningless due to vendor self-selection. This means that MARS can give us a completely unique perspective into which apps are really excelling and driving forwards in the Marketplace.

Every month we like to highlight the app that we think has stood out the most over the previous month, and in March that app was JXL by Fine Software.

JXL for Jira

As its name suggests, JXL essentially provides you with an Excel like table of issues from which you can edit various fields on your issues. JXL grew by 14% over February and has grown by a remarkable 31% over just the first two months of 2022.

Assigning JXL to our MARS™ categories proved to be very difficult given its versatility and the way it straddles a number of key functionalities. We believe that JXL most directly competes with JExcel PRO and Excel-like Issue Editor for Jira in the “Business Analysis” category but given it has capabilities like custom hierarchies and advanced grouping it also competes with apps like Structure in the Planning space. Because of this we assigned Planning as JXL’s Secondary Category. Part of our “Meaningful Categorization” of MARS™ apps means that we sometimes have to make difficult decisions on categories and there weren’t many that were more difficult than JXL.

JExcel PRO has stagnated somewhat over the past few years and is clearly suffering from not being available on Cloud (by far the fastest growing market for apps). Therefore, in the Business Analysis space JXL is mainly competing with Excel-like Issue Editor for Jira by Ricksoft. As Figure 1 shows, JXL is rapidly making ground on Excel-like Issue Editor for Jira.

JXL for Jira

Figure 1: JXL vs Competitors

JXL is priced at a similar rate on Cloud to Excel-like Issue Editor for Jira at lower tiers and becomes more expensive with larger user tiers (Figure 2). We’ve often seen smaller, up-and-coming apps in particular categories undercutting their larger competitors (sometimes even listing as completely free on Cloud) in order to gain market share before introducing more reasonable pricing. However, JXL is not undercutting Excel-like Issue Editor for Jira price wise and given that the Ricksoft app has grown by a healthy 5% this year it isn’t loosing significant numbers of customers to JXL. Therefore, most of JXL’s remarkable growth is being driven by new customers choosing it based on usability and feature strength.

JXL for Jira pricing

Figure 2: JXL vs Excel-like Issue Editor for Jira: Annual Cloud Pricing

Features

Jira issues can be created, edited, and organized in real time on a spreadsheet that works similarly to an Excel spreadsheet

  • Uses all of the keyboard shortcuts and navigation that users are familiar with from Excel
  • Table column sorting, searching, and filtering all work as they do in Excel
  • Data can still be exported to Excel if required

JXL for Jira inline editor

 

JXL sheets can be fully customized:

  • No column limits
  • Columns can be added and rearranged freely
  • Columns can be any field (including custom fields)
  • Personal and team sheets can be saved
  • Sheet scope can be fine-tuned with smart JQL composer

JXL for Jira sheet customization

Users can bulk update issues in JXL

  • By copying and then pasting values into potentially thousands of cells, JXL can help users bulk update issues easily and instantly
  • JXL will inform the user immediately whether their bulk change was successful or not e.g. pasted content is incompatible with the destination field type

JXL for Jira bulk updates

Issues can be organized by both issue type and link

  • Intuitive, easy hierarchy setup
  • Issues can be grouped by fields and hierarchy levels
  • Additional levels can be set up (like Advanced Roadmaps)

JXL for Jira custom hierarchy

You can tell that two former Atlassian employees build JXL given how seamlessly it fits into Jira

  • Both visually and in terms of usability it’s hard to remember when using it that JXL isn’t native to Jira
  • Given its ability to perform almost all necessary Excel actions from within Jira users no longer have to export data–bringing both time and security benefits
  • JXL never stores customer data and data never even leaves the users’ site

JXL for Jira seamless experience

Use Cases

Establishing a list of use cases for JXL is difficult given that it can essentially be used for anything that you would otherwise use a spreadsheet tool to do.

The main time-saving function in this regard would be completing tasks that you would’ve done on an exported Excel/Google Sheets in Jira. However, JXL could save users time and energy doing pretty much any issue management related tasks that they currently do in Jira.

A few of the most common specific use cases though are:

  • Portfolio management
  • Project management
  • Backlog maintenance
  • Sprint planning
  • Work prioritization
  • Progress tracking
  • Inventory assessment
  • Work orders
  • Meeting collaboration

Summary

We really like the look of JXL in terms of it rich array of functionality and wide range of potential use cases.

With an array of new features in the pipeline for JXL (including field sum-ups (which has now been released!), ranking, conditional formatting, saved shareable views, formulas, sheet templates, and more granular sheet permissions) we’re really excited to see how JXL develops going forward in 2022.

Congratulations to the team at Fine Software for an awesome debut app!

If you have any questions about MARS™ or any of our unique offerings then please touch with us at hello@blendedperspectives.com.

Going to Team ’22? Check out our Team ’22 event here!

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