Are other organizations using Confluence AND SharePoint?

Are other companies using Confluence AND Sharepoint? Does it make sense to use both, and if so, what type of content is best suited for one or the other? Which organizational units are best suited for working out of one or the other? Does it make sense to have PMO using Confluence along with Dev/Ops/QA teams if we already have Sharepoint licenses, rather than purchasing additional Confluence licenses? I'm curious to hear what other companies are doing as far as the demarcation between these two tools.

2 answers

5 votes

There's a number, yes.  It's because the two systems do different things.  It's a lot more complex than this, but deep down, Sharepoint is a document repository, and Confluence is a wiki.

A document repository is good for holding and tracking swathes of documents - discrete objects that people work on locally and then store the relevant versions of.  A wiki is more dynamic and collaborative, there are no discrete objects, you edit a page on screen, and it's presented to other users as soon as you click save.

Some places need document repositories - lawyers would be a good example, as they need those discrete fixed documents.  A lot of places suit a wiki more, as they need lots of people to contribute and have the latest information there instantly.

You can tell when a place is using the wrong thing quite quickly.  I've heard Sharepoint referred to as "does-not-Sharepoint", "Sharepointelessly" and my favourite, "You know, that thing where documents go to die".  All of those comments were from places that simply don't need document objects, they were doing development, support, authoring, etc.  And equally, I went to a site that sounded keen on Confluence recently and left telling them "Confluence simply isn't for you" (that was one of the things that made me mention lawyers earlier).

In the end, it's down to how people want to work.  Most users will find a wiki suits them better than they think.  Some simply need a repository.  A lot of places can make good use of both (and in those cases, the Sharepoint connector add-on for Confluence is well worth a look)

The SharePoint connector add-on for Confluence doesn't support O365 yet (and it isn't on the road-map either), so if you don't have an on-premise installation of SharePoint there is no way to have any meaningful integration between SharePoint and Confluence.  See here https://jira.atlassian.com/browse/CSI-683 for more info.

Also, there is no LDAP support in Confluence/JIRA (and this also isn't on their roadmap), which means a single sign-on between Microsoft and Atlassian products is not possible without going through a 3rd-party supplier.  See here https://jira.atlassian.com/browse/ID-79 for more info on this.

 

So, they cannot be integrated, and you cannot have a (native, in-house controlled) single sign-on between them.  These 2 issues basically make them entirely separate products.  Nic's explanation above is correct; SharePoint is for discrete document storage, Confluence is for day-to-day collaboration and knowledge management, and never the twain shall meet. 

The good news is that Confluence has a tiered licence structure (https://www.atlassian.com/licensing/confluence#cloudsubscriptions-2) which means you pay for a block of users rather than an individual.  For example, you will pay $500 a month for the 101-500 user licence for a Cloud instance, which gives you plenty of scope to give people access and see if it suits their needs.

>Also, there is no LDAP support in Confluence/JIRA

That's partially incorrect, there is full support, but only for Server versions. Cloud doesn't do LDAP, and the roadmap for it doesn't have it in the foreseeable future (beyond a possible hint that it might be done for Service Desk customer accounts, but that's just me reading between lines and may well be wrong).  SSO implementation on top of it that is only partial - you need Crowd and can only do SSO with the apps that use Crowd for their directories.

Thank you both for your insight! We are using server-based Confluence and Office 365

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