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.
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:
Linchpin based on Confluence
Microsoft SharePoint 2013
|Licenses over 5 years (e.g. 10K users)|
(Talk to us. Understanding pricing is incredibly complex.)
|1.20 USD / user / year||1.62 USD / user / year|
|37 USD - 120 USD / user / year||144 USD / user / year|
|Professional services||10 to 20K USD for out of the box |
approach with limitations
|30 to 75K USD||6 to 9 times the licence turnover ||no data available|
|Non-Functional Requirements||Atlassian Confluence||Linchpin based on Confluence||Microsoft SharePoint 2013||Jive|
|Big and active marketplace|| 650+ add-ons |
in one marketplace
|SharePoint Store||(17 vendors, most reporting no traction)|
|Grows organically in companies||Grows bottom up||Sold top down||Sold top down|
|Professional services||400+ Atlassian partners worldwide, e.g. //SEIBERT/MEDIA||640,000 Microsoft Partners||32 Jive partners|
|Feature Requirements||Atlassian Confluence||Linchpin based on Confluence||Microsoft SharePoint 2013||Jive|
|World-class Rich-text editor|
|Personalized News |
based on multiple dimensions
(like language, location, department, role, ...)
|3rd Party add-ons?|
|Knowledge management (like in Wikipedia)|| SharePoint Wiki is very weak. |
|limited, document-centric approach|
|Microblogging (like in twitter or facebook)||3rd Party add-ons?||super-strong|
|Team collaboration (as in "We do it together.")|
defaults to closed
|Beefed up profile pages and org charts||3rd Party add-ons?|
|People search and skill management||3rd Party add-ons?|
|Full customization of surface to |
match Corporate Design (with custom theme)
|improved||very limited, not full CSS and HTML freedom|
|Control and rights management|
|Ability and features for "controlled" Intranet 1.0|
|World class support for team collaboration|
|Workflow management for Compliance, ISO |
and certified QM processes
|Very little dependency to software vendor||source code available||source code available||one of biggest software corp||strong dependency|
|Little dependency to professional service company|| high standardization, |
|always fully customized solution||mostly done by software vendor!|
|Self hosted / Behind The Firewall / On Premise|| Microsoft is moving all |
customers to cloud.
|vendor prefers SaaS|
|Mobile readyness||mobile surface||improved mobile design||strong|
|Full support for all client platforms (Win, Mac, Linux, ...)||not as strong with Linux|
|Culture and Organization||Atlassian Confluence||Linchpin based on Confluence||Microsoft SharePoint 2013||Jive|
|Software will adapt to our organization, not the other way around.||very limited, sold as best practice|
|Availability of product evangelists who make software thrive||new solution for company||mostly IT||new solution for company|
|Full transparency? |
Every documentation, pricing, info, bug lists available online without restrictions
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Is there something like that already happened?
To add to all of the quality detail above, our new Confluence Cloud experience offers some specific features, some newly released:
- Collaborative editing (https://support.atlassian.com/confluence-cloud/docs/create-edit-and-publish-a-page/)
- Smart links upon pasting (https://support.atlassian.com/confluence-cloud/docs/insert-links-and-anchors/)
- A new editing experience that supports markdown (https://support.atlassian.com/confluence-cloud/docs/create-and-edit-content/)
- Inline comments when viewing pages AND in edit mode (https://community.atlassian.com/t5/Confluence-articles/Inline-comments-while-editing-FINALLY/ba-p/1444781)
- A hierarchy of permissions (https://support.atlassian.com/confluence-cloud/docs/what-are-space-permissions/)
- And even a perpetually free tier that integrates with the rest of our products for lighter users or smaller teams (Free cloud software plans)
The best resource to match your needs with what Confluence offers with each release is our product advocates (https://www.atlassian.com/company/contact). They can match your specific needs to features, answer questions alongside an evaluation, and outline which tier of Confluence Cloud is best for your needs.
If you’re interested in more of a side-by-side comparison by feature, you can get in touch with a local Atlassian Solution Partner (https://www.atlassian.com/partners) close to you within our global network.
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?
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).
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
his experience in using it is …
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.
*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'.
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.
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
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.
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:
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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