Sharepoint 2010 and Confluence

Andrei [errno] Community Champion Jul 21, 2011

we run Confluence with great sucess for about 2 years, but now our Enterprise is joining the herd and rolls out Sharepoint to the masses.

many people ask - where would you want to post content: SP 2010 or CONF? I know what CONF can do, and have lived with SP2007 before (terrible experience).

Has someone gone through this before? what rules/suggestions did you have for your users?

I know about Sharepoint Connector - might be a no-go for us as the SP will be in the cloud (Office365)

3 answers

1 accepted

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Hi there,

We've got a similar situation. We started with Sharepoint 2007 run by IT and no-one expect the PMs and IT wanted to use it, it was just plain horrible in it's default configuration. We've about to roll out Sharepoint 2010 and the same questions are being asked. technical users love Confluence, business users prefer Sharepoint. They don't care if they don't have the flexibility or the ability to hook into so many data sources, they rarely have needs outside of Word or Excel.

Business users consider the Sharepoint interface to be "professional" and the Confluence interface to be "not-for-business". It's a harsh call & I don't agree with it but it's what we get every week.

I've also asked the same question of Atlassian & partners at the local user groups but the answers are usually vague & come down to use the connector. In an ideal world it's good advice, use each software for what it's good for but in reality it's never that clean. With you the Sharepoint is in the cloud, with us, there no appetite for purchasing & hosting it because it doesn't belong to any one budget (even if everyone would us it if it was there!).

We've started giving the general advice:

  • If you need to put a workflow around your documents, then use Sharepoint
  • If have a business process to model, then use Sharepoint
  • If you want somewhere to keep project documents for management that no-one uses day-to-day (project costs, PCB reports) then Sharepoint works.

However,

  • if you want a place to colloborate then use Confluence
  • If you want to create a friendly jump off point for documents, use Confluence
  • Confluence is the daily heart beat of your teams, Sharepoint is the reference platform behind Office

It's still a bit vague & people aren't entirely comfortable with it but if your re-enforce the point that Confluence is always the place to go to find what you need, they tend to take to that.

We're also using Adaptavist's Theme builder plugin to help build a more Office feel to Confluence to make business users feel more at home.

I don't have a simple answer for you but I don't think one exists. I would recommend you look at the reasons why your company thinks Confluence isn't enough & why they want to use Sharepoint. Use these reasons to draw the line between the two. Confluence isn't Sharepoint & never will be thankfully!

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Joe Clark Atlassian Team Jul 21, 2011

It's always a curly question trying to work out how to fit both Confluence and SharePoint into your business workflow. While SP2010 is a marked improvement over SP2007, the general consensus still seems to be that the editing experience in Confluence is still superior. I'm certain that this gap will widen even further with the release of Confluence 4. As a document manager/repository, SharePoint is the hands-down winner.

The SharePoint Connector can help in this situation (in particular, the integrated search can make a big difference), but as you say, we don't support Office 365/SharePoint Online yet.

My advice echoes Matthew Cobby's answer: use SharePoint to manage information that is:

  • Changed infrequently
  • Requires fine-grained workflows and/or permissions
  • Needs to be stored as word docs

Use Confluence for:

  • Working on new content that may go through many revisions from many authors before it is complete
  • Content that needs to embed rich multimedia, or content that is hosted on the wider Internet

The SharePoint search experience is far more powerful than Confluence's, so I'd recommend that you spend some time setting up a good search landing page to direct people to to find content in any system. Even without the SharePoint Connector, it might be possible to setup some kind of search integration (I am unsure of the capabilities of SharePoint online in this regard).

Also, you can still use the Confluence Office Connector to migrate content between the two systems (as it can import/export word docs), or use the Universal Wiki Converter to import SharePoint pages into Confluence.

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We are using Confluence and SP here. And we have the Confluence Connector.

Well, our SP Users find Confluence Pages using the Corporate Search. Our Confluence Users do not use SP.

Sales Department and Customer Relationship department just got to use Confluence, turned out, they wanted a Wiki, not a Sharepoint.

So the use for Sharepoint became the same as a shared file storage. Sharepoint hosts Word and Excel files, everything else, including actual information is in Confluence.

So I tell our users: Sharepoint is for Word and Excel, if you want to work with the developers: Use Confluence.

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