We want to hear how your teams are using Confluence with other tools!

Ada Chen Atlassian Team Jan 04, 2019

Hello Community  👋 My name is Ada, and I’m the Product Marketing Manager for Confluence Server & Data Center at Atlassian. 

Can you share some examples of how your teams are using Confluence with other tools? Some examples include: 

  • Google Docs
  • Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint)
  • Sharepoint
  • Evernote
  • Dropbox
  • Box
  • Asana

What do they use Confluence for vs. some of these other tools? When do they use Confluence and when do they use another tool? The more details the better!

5 comments

almost all the clients I follow use confluence as a sort of container for microsoft office files. with the same number of users, confluence is much less expensive and much more effective than sharepoint. I know both products, for the other I also have certifications on sharepoint and then I think I can speak badly without fear of saying nonsense. actually, slowly, if I explain to users how a wiki works, many of them often abandon the format of the microsoft office files and they directly use the confluence functionalities, perhaps with some specific macro, often I am asked for an extension for tables to simulate a minimalist spreadsheet. in some other cases theIT directors have made a very expensive choice, as well as wrong taking sharepoint and then ask to interface sharepoint with confluence but often do not take the best of confluence because they imagine this product as if it were sharepoint, a 15 year old product , compared to confluence.

Like 2 people like this
Ada Chen Atlassian Team Jan 04, 2019

Wow, thanks @Kalos Bonasia! What do you mean when you say it's used as a container for Office files? Are users attaching files to pages or directly copying content into pages? 

Like 1 person likes this

@Ada Chen

up to now I have done 75 Confluence installations (in the past 4 years) and I have done about 900 hours of training for both small groups or distributed teams. If the user is only left to explore confluence, he tends to put a word or powerpoint file as it is inside a page. If instead you do some training, then explain how to use the macro to manage the attached files for example, then start uploading files as if it were a sort of "directory" in the old windows 98 style. When you show that they can import a Word files inside a confluence page, most of these users do NOT go back any further, because they start to understand the value of having a container for liquid information as I call it. as if it were water, the information is liquid and takes the shape of its container. this is Confluence. That is, users are no longer tied to a special file format, for example word, but that can view content regardless of whether they are using a computer, a tablet, or a phone and then show that they can work in real time together at the same time as on google docs, they love even more confluence.

Like 3 people like this
Ada Chen Atlassian Team Jan 07, 2019

Liquid information - I love it, what a great descriptor. Thanks @Kalos Bonasia!

Like 1 person likes this
Davin Studer Community Champion Jan 07, 2019

We use Confluence with Word and Excel docs in a number of places. As much as possible I encourage my users to create native Confluence pages ... especially in place of attaching Word documents.

However, there are many instances where my users want a single sourced/versioned Excel document and to achieve that I typically recommend attaching the Excel document to a Confluence page as opposed to editing it from a file share. The "Edit in Office" link that opens up the document right in Excel and lets the user save it right back without having to do the whole download a local copy -> edit the file -> re-upload the document mess is super handy. And every time it is saved it gets versioned so we don't have to worry about the spreadsheet getting messed up somehow. We do this in conjunction with  Cenote Lockpoint to make sure that only one person at a time is editing the document. It works great.

Like 2 people like this
Ada Chen Atlassian Team Jan 07, 2019

Thanks, @Davin Studer! Do you usually teach users about Edit in Office when they're first onboarded to Confluence or is it more of a power user feature for your team?

Davin Studer Community Champion Jan 07, 2019

I typically have to teach people about it. So, it's probably more of power user feature that I suggest to people when they ask about how they can centrally manage an Excel document.

Like 1 person likes this
Ada Chen Atlassian Team Jan 07, 2019

Gotcha, thanks for the detail! 

We use Confluence together with Office 365 as well as with our AutoCAD application.

For CAD we created a social CAD block library inside Confluence. When clicking the preview in Confluence the block is inserted into the actual AutoCAD drawing. We use a User Macro as well as a DLL for AutoCAD for this. 

For Office there are different approaches. Some attach files, link to files on servers or in SharePoint Cloud and recently with increasing usage of MSTeams often Confluence pages and spaces need to be linked to / included in Teams. Unfortunately there is still no Teams add-in for Confluence server. Having Confluence spaces automatically in a Team would be much better than the use of OneNote for this at the moment.

The Office365 SharePoint connector by Communardo would be great but needs too deep integration in O365 so our central IT didn't allow it  

Ada Chen Atlassian Team Jan 10, 2019

Thanks for sharing @Magnus Rode - pretty cool to hear about how you use AutoCAD + Confluence. 

Do you (or your IT team) provide any sort of best practices around attaching files vs. linking to SharePoint files? Or do folks figure out workarounds on their own? 

Can you elaborate on why your central IT team was opposed to a "too deep integration in O365"?

Thanks @Magnus Rode

Could you please share a bit more details how you see linked/included Confluence pages in the MS Teams?

I work in the division of a large academic library responsible for acquiring library resources and creating/curating catalog data for those resources. We have hundreds of pages of technical procedural documentation that guide our workflows. These used to live in Word documents, Google documents, and in a Drupal web page. It was quite a mess! This approach made it difficult for staff to find the info they needed, and difficult for managers to keep information updated and reliable. We chose Confluence as an alternative (and better!) tool for documentation. Now our procedures are organized in one user-friendly place, and creating/updating is much more routine. We occasionally attach a Word doc or link to a Google doc from a Confluence page, but these are outliers and we require almost all procedures to be housed in native Confluence pages.

I know other technical services divisions of libraries at research institutions have chosen Confluence for similar reasons. We all used to use wikis, but Confluence has way more useful features like labels, macros, templates, and other page design elements that make it easy to keep documentation clean and easy to navigate and read, but without a huge time commitment on the documentation editor's part.

Ada Chen Atlassian Team Jan 10, 2019

Wow, thanks @MSU TechServices! What was the transition process like? Was there a plan for moving everything to Confluence?

Yep. We knew our documentation needed a major overhaul. We investigated several options and chose Confluence. We took some time to set up the Confluence space exactly the way we wanted, and then we followed a systematic migration plan to move all our content into it.

Like 1 person likes this

I work in an Italian Internet Service Provider and we use Confluence in many ways. One example is about documents sent by customers (mostly pdfs). I've realized an integration between our ERP (developed by us) and Confluence by using Confluence APIs. When you receive a document via e-mail or other "manual" means, to add a document into the Customers space you have to go through a wizard in the ERP.

The wizard helps to select the proper customer, the contract number, then you upload documents to the ERP (but is not saved into permanent storage) next you have to classify it with some relevant questions. At the end of the wizard the ERP it saves all to the Confluence space by doing the following things automatically:

  1. Creates a page for the customer if he doesn't exist adding a macro to display child pages
  2. Adds a label to that page with the customer id like (customer-12345)
  3. Creates a page for the contract number under the customer page if it doesn't exist adding a macro to display attachments
  4. Adds a label to that page with the contract number like (contract-12345)
  5. Uploads the files to the contract number page
  6. Adds comments to the attached files with data gathered during the wizard.

This way uploading documents in a structured space is now possible without the hassle to create hierarchical container pages labelling them by hand, error-free.

Also, if there is a document pertaining to a customer without reference to a contract it can be simply added under the customer page while you are free to organize contents as that department needs. You are of course also able to add wiki pages edited by hand under the customer page or contract number page by directly using Confluence.

Thanks to the labels classification we can search documents on Confluence via ERP by means of Confluence API and display the results directly on the ERP interface.

Example:

If I need to see all the documents for a customer, I go to the ERP interface and search the customer in many ways we provide to the user. The ERP identifies the customer id then searches the relative label in Confluence via API. Now I can see the list of relevant Confluence pages and the child pages directly in the ERP screen. When you click on the file or page shown you are directly redirected to the Confluence file/page.

The same goes for contract ids.

Like 3 people like this
Ada Chen Atlassian Team Feb 14, 2019

Wow, @Stefano Coletta - thank you for the details! It sounds like you've put in quite a bit of work to customize Confluence for your company - have you gotten any feedback from your colleagues about this system? Are they liking it, or are there any other requests that they have?

Like 1 person likes this

have you gotten any feedback from your colleagues about this system?

Yes, they are happy to avoid dealing with paper document folders put in racks and having all details at their fingertips in seconds! To view digital documents now they all have dual monitors. When I ask them to remember how they had managed it in the past, I see scared faces... and when I tell them "what if we get back to pre-Confluence period?" (before 2012) they reply to me: are you crazy!? Don't remind us about it, we forgot that ancient times! 

When I've started this in 2011 they were diffident, opposing and without any trust, doomed & bound to their paperwork like Gollum and his ring: "my treasure..." :D

Are they liking it, or are there any other requests that they have?

These people don't ask too much for improvements, they just use what you give them, and I think it is gold compared to the past. Now they can link these documents to JIRA issues that we use to track many activities in the company regarding customers, in a few clicks.

I think that the next step is to reduce scanned pdfs by implementing more public web interfaces for our customers. Storing the relevant data of those documents into databases will be a huge step. In a few years, when they will have to save only a few PDFs per week, I'll ask them the same question: do you remember when you were storing tons of scanned PDFs into Confluence? I think I'll have a reply similar to what they are replying to me today. :)

Comment

Log in or Sign up to comment
Community showcase
Published Tuesday in Confluence

Confluence Admin Certification now $150 for Community Members

More and more people are building their careers with Atlassian, and we want you to be at the front of this wave! Important Dates Start the Certification Prep Course by 2 April 2019 Take your e...

213 views 2 10
Read article

Atlassian User Groups

Connect with like-minded Atlassian users at free events near you!

Find a group

Connect with like-minded Atlassian users at free events near you!

Find my local user group

Unfortunately there are no AUG chapters near you at the moment.

Start an AUG

You're one step closer to meeting fellow Atlassian users at your local meet up. Learn more about AUGs

Groups near you