Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Ephor 1.0: new promo cartoon

Yes, we believe in unorthodox marketing ;-).

But really, imagine if you were a yak breeder. You'd surely need an asset management system, right?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Agile Poker on the go.

We’ve added a new feature to Agile Poker and made it mobile. It’s now possible to evaluate user stories and participate in Agile Poker sessions using a mobile device.

Imagine that your project team is away from their desks, taking part in a meeting where several user stories are to be voted. All of you no longer have to carry your laptops to the conference room to run an Agile Poker session - your phones are all you need. The Scrum Master presents the issue on the conference room TV or projector and you... just grab your smartphone, log into JIRA and wait for the Scrum Master to select the story:

The Agile Poker deck pops up on your phone’s screen ready for voting to be done:

The team make their estimates:

Once the session is completed, your vote shows on your screen along with the average vote for that session.

 Voila! You’re ready for the next voting to begin.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ephor 1.0: Down to business

With the initial fireworks out of the way and Ephor 1.0 well on its way, here’s a short follow-up to what Ephor has in store for all you serious enterprise / inventory / resource asset management enthusiasts out there. The “Electronics” sample data scheme embedded in Ephor 1.0 is a good real-life illustration of the office IT equipment use case scenario.

Without breaking it up into too much detail, this is basically what your exemplary “Electronics” item classes and hierarchical categories could look like once your equipment categories and subcategories are defined and all concerned employees / users identified.

It’s fully customizable, so really the data scheme possibilities are endless. For, let’s say, computers, the fields you may need would probably include title; user; value; serial number; CPU vendor, model & speed; cores count; RAM size and such. Once you define these field types for a specific item / asset type, here’s what uploading a new computer to Ephor could look like (if you choose to do it by hand instead of the built-in automagic hardware scanning PC Collector app):

And here’s how the uploaded item would be visible:

Once you have your new computer uploaded into Ephor and you find yourself in need of, let’s say, screen wipes, you can create a JIRA® issue straight out of the item view in Ephor to facilitate your need:

The created issue will pop up in JIRA®...

… and the link to the issue (and all other created & related issues) will be visible in the item view:

At some point you’ll also probably want to know which users in your organization own / use / maintain which pieces or sets of equipment. This can be recorded in Ephor by inking items with items & items with users.

If a user has a lot of assets assigned to them, a link graph view may come in handy for a clearer perspective:

Last but not least, assets uploaded into Ephor can be browsed by custom queries. The most often ran searches can be saved and used as predefined queries, either only by you or by all Ephor users (hence the “My searches” and Public searches” distinction):

Ok. That’s it for now. Coming up: a series of short Ephor demos to get those still screens moving with some commentary in the background and a new, tailor-made Ephor website.

We’re also working hard on preparing Ephor to meet the real world during two big international events in March. More on this soon. Stay tuned.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Ephor 1.0: new features & tweaks, pricing & Valentine's Day themed sample data.

As of today, Ephor's 1.0 release is officially out and about, ready for evaluation and purchase. The package includes two brand new sample data sets, one of them filled with seasonal romance, hearts and unicorns. No doubt about it - this year Cupid's Valentine's-Day-management job will be nice and easy with Ephor, so buckle up for those cards and candy coming in.

The other sample data set is our own office hardware automagically scanned into Ephor with the help of the built-in PC Collector app. Not as entertaining as the Valentine's Day stuff, but probably a little easier to relate to in terms of everyday life, this sample data set lets you take a sneak peek at exactly how we at Spartez manage our electronic equipment using Ephor, with the sole difference being the actual users, whom we've chosen to disguise under the identities of Greek philosophers. Eureka ;-).

Anyway, as for Ephor itself, since its December 2013 EAP BETA release, we've tweaked the majority of the existing features and introduced a few new gimmicks, such as saving search filters, keyboard navigation & inter-item link hierarchy browser in the form of a clickable graph.

Clearly, there's a lot new stuff to try out and see, so if we've managed to whet your asset management appetite, then grab an Ephor 1.0 license from our website, evaluate away and purchase to use happily ever after. After wrapping our heads around the possible item management scenarios and intense discussions with regard to potential asset scopes we've come to the conclusion that it's a complicated world our there. So, leaning towards the straightforward solution, we went for a simple pricing scheme with only four asset tiers:

  • up to 100 items - Free!
  • up to 1,000 items - $1,000.00 
  • up to 10,000 items - $2,000.00 
  • unlimited items - $4,000.00

What a single item entity is, in terms of the assets which you want to manage, is for you to determine. An item of any type counts towards the license limit, so a file uploaded to Ephor is also a type of item. Naturally, system-generated items, such as built-in images of IT equipment, do not count. To learn more about the details, hop over to our website.

We're all geared up for your comments, feedback and general demand, both here and on the Atlassian Marketplace (where Ephor is proudly displayed), so fire away!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Upcoming in Spartez Ephor - Link Hierarchy Browser

Just to let you know, the next Early Access Preview version of Ephor, due to be released just after Christmas, will include inter-item link hierarchy browser. It will let you visualize relationships between items as a clickable graph.

See the attached screenshot of our "Christmas" sample data hierarchy for how it is going to look like. Nifty, isn't it?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Meet Ephor. Your new asset manager with an excellent professional relationship with JIRA®.

For some time now we have been working on a new idea, a standalone application for managing assets. Literally any type of assets at all that any company out there might need to manage: from automobiles, buildings, computers and desks to wine bottles, xylophones, yaks and zucchinis. From A to Z. Having had a thorough look at the market, we came to the conclusion that all of the currently available solutions are either extremely expensive & complex do-it-all systems, or free & primitive, hardly-do-anything-at-all ones. There’s nothing in the middle, and frankly, nothing that we ourselves would like to use.

So here we are today launching an Early Access Preview Christmas Edition of Ephor - a behind-the-firewall standalone enterprise asset management system which can be integrated with Atlassian JIRA®, allowing you to finally get on top of your assets - picture that!
Some Ephor EAP Christmas Edition screens to help you with the picturing:

Long story short, Ephor’s powerful lightweight features include:

  • custom field configuration 
  • freetext search, search by fields & predefined queries 
  • defining item classes and hierarchical categories 
  • linking items with items and items with users 
  • tracking item history and location 
  • printing QR code labels 
  • intuitive desktop and mobile interface

As for Ephor & JIRA®/Confluence® integration:

  • creating issues in JIRA® out of items in Ephor 
  • showing JIRA® issue status in Ephor 
  • backlinking in JIRA® to items in Ephor (using JIRA® issue remote links) 
  • comming up: Ephor JIRA® issue templates & custom renderer plugin for issue links 
  • comming up: custom Confluence® plugin use; Confluence® reporting; rendering items in Confluence®
The current plan is that Ephor will be licensed basing on the number of items (assets) which it will be used to manage. There will be tiers such as "up to 100 assets", "101-500 assets", "501-1000 assets" and so on. The exact licensing tiers are TBD.

On top of that, once the EAP stage is over, we promise that the non-free-of-charge Ephor will be fairly priced. We believe in value for money.

And here’s something interesting: a mystery user from the North Pole has recently registered with us to evaluate Ephor. Judging from the assets he has uploaded to Ephor we can only guess that he must be some kind of a VIP on the gift delivery market. There's travel equipment, reindeer, presents, chimney climbing accessories, decorations and what have you. We took the liberty of inserting these assets into Ephor as our sample data, so you can check them out for yourself. Note the intriguing item types and custom fields. Test how Ephor's functionalities accommodate them.

Explore the possibilities offered by Ephor and prance into 2014 managing your assets merrier than ever. Ho, ho, ho!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

TFS4JIRA by Spartez now available for JIRA OnDemand

TFS4JIRA by Spartez is a smart two-way communication vehicle, which bridges the Microsoft Team Foundation Server® and JIRA®. Starting from today all of you JIRA OnDemand users out there can integrate the power of Microsoft TFS® with the awesomeness of JIRA® using our brilliant tool.

Just like its regular download version, the OnDemand TFS4JIRA plugin enables you to automatically view your project- or issue-associated TFS® check-ins in JIRA®, as well as effortlessly synchronize changes made to the issues and work items between JIRA® and TFS®.

Visit and find out more or watch our TFS4JIRA video:

The download version of TFS4JIRA has entered the Atlassian Marketplace in May 2012. Since then we've released multiple improved versions and TFS4JIRA has been downloaded by companies all around the globe more than 3300 times.

TFS4JIRA's latest release for JIRA OnDemand is available on a subscription basis (just as the OnDemand JIRA is) via the Atlassian Marketplace and the OnDemand JIRA UPM.

Like it? Don't forget to drop us a review!