Sporty Atlassian Cloud Migration

Success Story: Digitization at Europe's market leader in institutional sporting goods distribution

German companies currently face various challenges in Europe. They must not only navigate political and economic challenges but also withstand high pressure for digitization. To optimize its internal processes in the long term, Sport-Thieme has now migrated its service management system to the cloud. Through a sporty cloud migration – from concept to implementation – the company has demonstrated that such forward-looking digital optimizations can be implemented quickly and securely. Sport-Thieme has a seasoned partner alongside for digitizing IT processes in the cloud, ensuring a consistently high pace throughout the entire process.

Almost everyone has had a point of contact with their products in the truest sense of the word. Whether sliding on the mat in the school gymnasium or sitting on the classic wooden bench: Sport-Thieme is Europe's largest distributor of sports equipment for institutional sports, supplying Germany's schools, clubs, police, military, and many other institutions. When Karl-Heinz Thieme founded the one-man company Sport-Thieme in the attic of his house in Grasleben in 1949, he probably never expected it to become such a success story.

The traditional company now lists over 19,000 sports articles from more than 70 sports in its portfolio. With 428 employees, it ensures smooth processes – from product development and in-house manufacturing to logistics. In addition, Sport-Thieme operates several branches for on-site consultation in cities like Hamburg, Berlin, Düsseldorf, and Leipzig, distributing its products throughout Europe through various local dealers and partners.

Given the high pace of various tasks in product development, logistics, and other services, effective communication and reliable teamwork are essential. This is made possible by the use of software solutions that are perfectly tailored to the company's processes. Such solutions can simplify daily work and efficiently map processes. Sport-Thieme had been working on the implementation of such software solutions early on, choosing Atlassian's service management solution for this purpose.

The History

The success story of Sport-Thieme began in 1949 as a one-man show on a small attic: upset about the long delivery time for ordered sports equipment, the carpenter Karl-Heinz Thieme started bringing his product ideas to life, probably never expecting that it would evolve into a family business with more than 400 employees. Today, the warehouse alone is 500 times larger than the attic where it all started.

Thanks to the consistent exploration of new business fields and a customer-focused product offering, Sport-Thieme has evolved into a globally operating company and Germany's largest mail-order retailer for institutional sports since its foundation.

In 2014, together with his wife, Katharina Thieme-Hohe, Maximilian Hohe took over the management from his father-in-law, Dr. Hans-Rudolf Thieme. He takes pride in leading the family business in its third generation, tackling all the responsibilities that come with it.


Industry: Sporting goods distribution
Employees: 400+
Location: Grasleben, Germany

Pioneer with Atlassian's Jira Service Management

The solution for digitally organizing business processes and workflows was implemented by Sport-Thieme in the spring of 2019: Jira Service Management (JSM) – formerly known as Jira Service Desk. The on-premise solution evolved iteratively with the company and its processes, serving as a cross-departmental project management tool and ticketing system.

However, starting in 2024, Atlassian will only support the cloud versions of its products. Server versions have not been supported since early 2021, and the future of the significantly more expensive Data Center option is uncertain. With the discontinuation of server licenses for JSM, the crucial question of the software strategy arose: Would Sport-Thieme continue with Atlassian products and migrate to the cloud? "A clear 'Yes' was quickly established because JSM meets our requirements for data protection, usability, and integration with Active Directory. So, it was not a question of whether Sport-Thieme would continue with JSM, but how we would migrate to the cloud without disruptions in our day-to-day operations," recalls Alexander Boog, IT System Integrator and Lead Administrator for Jira and Atlassian products at Sport-Thieme.

Moving to the cloud with the right Atlassian partner

To provide professional support, such as in cloud migration, Atlassian operates a partner program. The so-called Atlassian Solution Partners specialize in process optimization using Atlassian tools. "We had several providers in mind, but everything just clicked with Jodocus from the beginning – not only professionally and financially but also on a personal level," says Marcel Bansleben, IT Infrastructure and System Administrator at Sport-Thieme, about the partner search.

The collaboration began swiftly as a joint project team. It quickly became apparent that the existing system, resulting from years of in-house development and administration at Sport-Thieme, needed to be reorganized to implement some process optimizations alongside the cloud migration. "Thanks to the intensive preparation, we could delve deeply into Sport-Thieme's business processes to propose optimizations and implement them directly in the course of the cloud migration," reports Tim Bossen, Cloud Engineer at Jodocus. The IT executives at Sport-Thieme also benefited from the close teamwork: "In the context of the project, we were able to precisely and efficiently map our processes to ITIL together with Jodocus and, in the process, build a lot of know-how, which has been a significant added value for our administration afterward," says Alexander Boog contentedly.

Successful cloud migration in 24 hours

After all preparations for the live migration were made, it was scheduled to begin on a Friday afternoon to preemptively avoid system outages and risks during regular business hours. Despite precise planning, the approach paid off: "Indeed, there was a technical problem during the live migration, a migration error, and as a result, we had only about 24 hours to redo the migration, including test migration, etc., and implement it in time for the start of the week. Here I must emphasize the technical expertise and willingness of Jodocus," highlights Alexander Boog.

Moreover, Sport-Thieme benefited from the fast SLAs in direct escalation coordination with Atlassian, which Jodocus, as a Platinum Solution Partner with ITSM and Cloud Specification, receives. Thus, the team successfully completed the migration with a pinpoint landing. At the restart of JSM at Sport-Thieme the following Monday, all systems ran stably, allowing employees to seamlessly continue their work – now, securely in the cloud.

Advantages of the cloud: automations, forms, and more

From logistics and marketing to sales and IT, JSM is used company-wide at Sport-Thieme. Collaboration with regional partners in Austria and Switzerland, as well as with various company branches, is facilitated through the service management tool. Thanks to integration with Active Directory, access options and roles can be centrally and quickly controlled. For instance, all data protection officers have full access to the system, can track all processes in real-time, and even have their own queue for data protection issues. In the IT department, the advantages of the cloud over the on-premise version are also clear: "We no longer have to worry about complex updates and ongoing system maintenance. The entire administrative effort in this direction is completely eliminated. This results in significant time savings and a great facilitation of work," summarizes Alexander Boog.

Furthermore, in the cloud version of JSM, automations can be implemented much more easily, and forms can be created. "It simply works much faster, significantly more efficiently, and even minor changes are now easier to implement than before. As the lead administrator of JSM at Sport-Thieme, I can only emphasize that I am very satisfied. JSM Cloud saves me at least 70 percent of the work compared to the previous model," concludes Alexander Boog. The JSM instance has been self-managed by Sport-Thieme since the migration, and Jodocus continues to be the contact for tool-related questions. Sport-Thieme can benefit not only from the expertise of the Atlassian Solution Partner but also from the faster SLAs at Atlassian – a significant advantage in case of emergencies.

Future: implementation of a knowledge base

To remain the European market leader in sports equipment distribution in the future, Sport-Thieme is always working on forward-looking solutions, especially in the digital field. The next project is already on the horizon: a company-wide knowledge base. Whether the realization will be done with Confluence, Atlassian's enterprise wiki, or another tool is still unclear. But one thing is already certain: the choice of partner. "With Jodocus, we have a truly competent partner who will implement the knowledge base with us very well," says Alexander Boog. Jodocus is also well-prepared for the next project: "In the course of the cloud migration, we were able to seamlessly integrate into Sport-Thieme's process structures. This helps us make future projects, such as implementing a knowledge base, even more efficient," adds Jan Szczepanski, expert in project and process management and CMO at Jodocus.

The course for the next project has been set, and it is set to proceed as quickly as possible. Both companies have already demonstrated their ability to handle a tight schedule during the cloud migration. Now, it's time to warm up for the next round of digitization.