Confluence vs Sharepoint - What's the difference ?

Hi

I am helping to evaluate Confluence for my business unit which already has a well established SharePoint system.

Please could someone tell me what the main benefits are which Confluence can offer over Sharepoint ?

What does Confluence offer which Sharepoint can not deliver ?

My first opinion is that Confluence seems easy to use and navigate but SharePoint seems more sophisticated in certain areas.  What do you think ?

Any help us much appreciated.

Regards

Mike

8 answers

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We have created a comparison table between Confluence and SharePoint in the context of intranet use cases, that I am happy to copy into this answer:

Pricing

Atlassian Confluence


Linchpin based on Confluence

Microsoft SharePoint 2013

Jive
 

Licenses over 5 years (e.g. 10K users)
(Talk to us. Understanding pricing is incredibly complex.) 
1.20 USD / user / year1.62 USD / user / year
(plus Confluence) 
37 USD - 120 USD / user / year144 USD / user / year
Professional services10 to 20K USD for out of the box
approach with limitations
30 to 75K USD6 to 9 times the licence turnover
according to Microsoft stats
 
warning no data available
...    
Non-Functional RequirementsAtlassian ConfluenceLinchpin based on ConfluenceMicrosoft SharePoint 2013Jive
Big and active marketplacetick 650+ add-ons
in one marketplace
ticktick SharePoint Storecross (17 vendors, most reporting no traction)
Grows organically in companiestick Grows bottom uptickcross Sold top downcross Sold top down
Professional services400+ Atlassian partners worldwide, e.g. //SEIBERT/MEDIA640,000 Microsoft Partners32 Jive partners 
Enterprise readyticktickticktick
...    
Feature RequirementsAtlassian ConfluenceLinchpin based on ConfluenceMicrosoft SharePoint 2013Jive
World-class Rich-text editorticktickcrosscross
Personalized News
based on multiple dimensions
(like language, location, department, role, ...)
crosstickwarning question 3rd Party add-ons?question
Knowledge management (like in Wikipedia)ticktickcross SharePoint Wiki is very weak.
Document-centric approach
cross limited, document-centric approach
Microblogging (like in twitter or facebook)crosstickwarning question 3rd Party add-ons?tick super-strong
Team collaboration (as in "We do it together.")ticktick

cross defaults to closed
warning Usability?

tick
Beefed up profile pages and org chartscrosstickwarning question 3rd Party add-ons?question
People search and skill managementcrosstickwarning question 3rd Party add-ons?question
Full customization of surface to
match Corporate Design (with custom theme)
ticktick improvedtickcross very limited, not full CSS and HTML freedom
Control and rights managementticktickticktick
Ability and features for "controlled" Intranet 1.0crossticktickcross
World class support for team collaborationticktickcrosstick
Workflow management for Compliance, ISO
and certified QM processes
tickticktickcross
Very little dependency to software vendortick source code availabletick source code availabletick one of biggest software corpcross strong dependency
Little dependency to professional service companytick high standardization,
400 available
tickcross always fully customized solutioncross mostly done by software vendor!
Self hosted / Behind The Firewall / On Premisetickticktick warning Microsoft is moving all
customers to cloud.
tick warning vendor prefers SaaS
Mobile readynesstick mobile surfacetick improved mobile designcrosstick strong
Full support for all client platforms (Win, Mac, Linux, ...)ticktickticktick question not as strong with Linux
...    
Culture and OrganizationAtlassian ConfluenceLinchpin based on ConfluenceMicrosoft SharePoint 2013Jive
Software will adapt to our organization, not the other way around.tickticktickwarning very limited, sold as best practice
Availability of product evangelists who make software thrivetickcross new solution for companytick warning mostly ITcross new solution for company
Full transparency?
Every documentation, pricing, info, bug lists available online without restrictions
ticktickcrosscross

 

This is work in progress. If you want software or feature requirements added or judgements changed, please fill out the form below. We'll even give you a link if you have further info for us. In all other cases you can use the form as well to contact us. laugh

Additionally to this table above you may find the Intranet Compass useful. It is a study carried out by independent researchers to compare intranet solutions out there.

Please check here for updates and subscribe to the page to be notified of newer versions.

I am curious about the "Workflow management for Compliance, ISO 
and certified QM processes" row in the comparison. Any help on case studies or user experiences?
Thanks in advance! 

Hi Rohit,

We have a customer who uses the Comala Workflow and the Page Tree Creator (PTC) to meet the requirements of the pharmaceutical industry. They created about 150 PTC Templates. The customer works for one of the two big Swiss pharmaceutical companies.

Regards,
Stephan

I especially like the StepShot app for Confluence as a quick and attractive way to create visual documentation of processes.

Martin, how do you fit in MSO365 in this picture? Is it very different from how you presented Sharepoint in this overview?

Hello @Martin Seibert, just regarding your table: 
I miss core SharePoint features there.
Team Collaboration, People Search, very good full text search, co-authoring in MS Office documents, newsfeed, flexible views, use of metadata, unique links, Office integration... a long list of features, which are available in SharePoint.


so, maybe you might re-think your categories and your votings.

That are valid points. For most of them, I feel, that Confluence is stronger than SharePoint. But that's the nature of such comparisons: always incomplete, always out of date, always opinionated. 

@Filip Callewaert: I do plan to do a comparision of Office 365 and G Suite. But that still needs a lot of work. Comparing it with Confluence doesn't really cut it in my opinion. 

If you want to compare facts, then complete this list or even better, place Confluence Standard/Paid Features in context to the SharePoint Standard/Enterprise Features
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-US/library/jj819267.aspx#bkmk_FeaturesOnPremise

Is there something like that already happened?

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When I was young, I used to ask what a Macbook would do that a Linux machine couldn't deliver. Then I used Linux professionally and met friction at every level. On one upgrade the GUI for the mouse was simplified and I couldn't control the mouse acceleration anymore. The next upgrade the network interface couldn't authenticate anymore. Then I switched to Mac and I never had to search for the mouse acceleration or the network authentication.

It's not the features, apart, perhaps, from the JIRA-Stash integration. It's the experience. And ultimately, you want adoption.

Do you have an experiment that you could lead to check which platform will make users collaborate the most?

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Hey Michael,

Both Adrien's and Martin's inputs - Martin's extensive point-by-point comparisons and Adrien's sage advice - are very good, and offer great insights. I'm responding to your followup comment, "I think Confluence could enhance the communication within our dev teams but some useful statements from community members highlighting the key features which Confluence can offer over SharePoint would be very helpful for me."

I tend to agree with Adrien's comment that - perhaps unintuitively - it's not any features per se (except the potential value of other Atlassian integrations) that will make the decision for you. It's as he says, the experience and the adoption potential based on that. Case in point, in addition to use within IT, within our company we even have many business - that is, non-technical -  groups using (and managing their own) Confluence spaces. They do it all - create their pages, manage permissions and restrictions -it's Confluence's simplicity combined with the value teams have from a 'democratized experience' where this ability to essentially 'do it all' is something that more complex tools tend not to provide.  Some of our successful business-owned-and-run Confluence spaces are all-employee spaces in a not-too-small company.

I'm speaking as a person who works for a larger company (Fortune 500, 7000+ employees) that - as touched on above - has experienced wide adoption of Confluence and we also have SharePoint, so your question is one I confront often .  Confluence wins out for many use cases because most of them don't require much sophistication and the complexities that come along with that.

You have a little different challenge in that it sounds like you have established SharePoint sites that you are trying to convince to move to Confluence vs my usual situation which is that a team needs a collaboration solution and these are their two choices.  Confluence - for a typical new user - is on balance much easier to stand up and manage for the space admin, and to learn to use effectively by the team's user/audience.  Make a few good plugin choices and it rivals SP in look and feel too (arguably better because its easier to strip out distracting bits while maintaining flexibility). 

Of course, since you are evaluating it for your business unit, you can have a long-term evaluation for very low-cost for 10 people or less with Atlassian's license schema.  An ideal way to run those tests - and hopefully you have this option - is to find a group in your business unit that is open to a new way, and support them through the test phase.  We have found that many - from surprisingly many age groups - engage right away with the Confluence interface, the wiki underpinnings, the ease of use and administration.  This allows you to get feedback, gain fans (it's always easier to introduce something down the road to the larger organization when you already have some that have accepted/adopted) and gain a success story or two or three to share with others.  In total, all of this can help you get mindshare and approval from others to drive it further into the organization. That's assuming it meets the mark of course with your unique culture and challenges.

I have tons more I could share on your question, and this comment area doesn't offer the space. But suffice to say that if you take our replies to your question and mash them together, you should have a pretty good foundation to go on.

If you have followup questions we can converse outside of this page, just let me know.  I can place a comment to my response here with my email address (or feel free to link in to me via LinkedIn if you use that).

 

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Many thanks everyone for your input, help and guidance.  We do already use SharePoint and it is well established and seems to do a good job with the team which currently uses it. However, it is not widely adopted and many people seem to find it difficult to use and not user friendly. That said the team which does use the system are champions of the system and would not want to use anything else.

I certainly don't want to replace Sharepoint as it seems to work well within the team which currently uses it but I see an opportunity to use Confluence with the remaining teams which also use JIRA which is very popular since it was introduced a few years ago.

I see trailing the Confluence system on a single project being a good place to start and then reviewing the this trial with the intention of rolling out the system to the wider teams.

Sharepoint will certainly continue to be used but I would like to think Confluence could be widely adopted, especially by those teams which don't use a collaboration tool.

Let me simply give this to help.

We use Confluence for our global Industry Association to develop new reference documents/standards etc

One of these groups started using it just a few weeks ago - his feedback was that

  • Without reading any instructions
  • Not being a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn user
  • Whilst on a remote island on an ADSL link (presumably bad internet)

his experience in using it is …

  • intuitive
  • so easy and logical
  • discovered some wonderful tools
  • will at least reduce the effort by 40% over the course of the working group
  • it looks like we have been at it for over a year - less than 6 months into formation
  • the IP remains in the Confluence (i.e. within the association accessible to all)
  • this has been very worthwhile

Michael,

I think that's a good plan.  For many of the reasons that others have provided such as Confluence's ease of use and its integration points such as with JIRA, you have a good chance of gaining wider adoption. 

Your early enthusiastic adopters can be champions for you, and induce others to join in.  This 'grassroots' effect can be powerful. My Rock Your Wiki * presentation from the 2012 Atlassian Summit may give you some ideas - both the video and slide deck are available on this page; flipping through the slides may be enough to get the gist.

Good luck!

*Back in 2012 Confluence was still marketed as 'Worlds Most Popular Enterprise Wiki'.  I believe it was later that year when the marketing for Confluence changed to 'Team Collaboration Software'.

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Many thanks for your answer.  I am using a Confluence demo which I have put together with dummy spaces, users etc.  but when I am demonstrating the product to my colleagues a few of them are saying that SharePoint can already do this.

I think Confluence could enhance the communication within our dev teams but some useful statements from community members highlighting the key features which Confluence can offer over SharePoint would be very helpful for me.

We do use JIRA so maybe that would be a good place to start.

Thanks 

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A tough scenario

an existing Sharepoint vs implementing a new Confluence

My question to you is why are you wanting to do the comparison?

A new vs new comparison in my humble opinion is a no-brainer - Confluence is super capable and super user friendly - that is why my international association chose Confluence from the start.

But if you have Sharepoint, you need to consider what extra benefits you would get from all the effort investment and cost investment to swap platforms.

The old saying - if it isn't broke, don't fix it

But again my own opinion and experience of Sharepoint is that it is not very user friendly and you really need to be a constant user to get the benefits - maybe later versions are better ??

So if the thing that is "broke" is that your Users are struggling to use Sharepoint, then I would simply say go to Confluence. 

There may be a few plus and minus features here or there (you can GOOGLE "Sharepoint vs Confluence" and gets lots of comparison tables) but only you can tell how much of an impact the "minuses" may have on your Users ... the trick is learning if there is a minus against Confluence, how different feature combinations may allow you to do things which may in fact be even better than Sharepoint

 

 

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In short I would say the main feature is:

Confluence is more Wiki (perfectly integrated in Atlassian products)

SharePoint is more Document Management System (perfectly integrated in MS-Office products)

 

 

 

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Many thanks Tom for your useful input.  Unfortunately I get an error message when I try to access the presentation at https://summit.atlassian.com/archives/2012/collaboration/rock-your-wiki* 

Any ideas what is causing the Error 404 "The page can not be found" message as I would like to view the presentation it points to.

Many thanks

 

Hey Michael,

Ah ha, that asterisk I included to footnote why the word 'wiki' was included in the presentation title broke the link. I'll correct it in my original post, but it's also here for your convenience:
https://summit.atlassian.com/archives/2012/collaboration/rock-your-wiki

By the way, a helpful tip on future Atlassian Answers communication:  consider the 'Comment' option which sometimes is a better way to go when an input isn't an answer per se but is asking for clarification to an answer (or question) or is adding a nuance that's not a complete answer but amplifies it. Make sense? (no worries, it's a common newbie mistake).

Hope something in the preso is helpful for you!

 

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