What's the best way to use confluence to communicate with customers?

Our company develops custom software for external customers. We are trying to use Confluence / JIRA to reduce the amount of administrative work involved with communicating with our customers about their upcoming work. 

I would LOVE to supply our customers with a link to a "project dashboard" that lets them see the status of their project at any point. Things like...stories and project burn-down charts, and dollars spent. The kicker is that they can't just be listed as an anonymous user, because that would also let the individual have visibility into all the other projects currently being developed for other customers. 

I've got to believe that we aren't the first ones that are trying to do this. Any help would be SUPER appreciated! 

7 answers

The only way I can see to do this is with a login per customer - that is the whole point of a log in so they can get to information that is only for that login.

Note that just having a single login per customer is a starting point but it would be better to have a login per person within that customer i.e. one for each individual who needs to access the system - yes, that uses more licences but presumably the interactive access allows for better sales which would "pay for itself".  A generic customer login is open to loss of control and more disruption as when someone resigns from the customer you need to change the password for everyone at that customer rather than just disabling one account.

 

Here's what I do; However this will use up your licenses.

In JIRA cloud, create a group, say "jira-vendor", and provide sign in access for that group (Application access configuration)

Add a user, and add him to the jira-vendor group and not the jira-users group.

Now this user can't access any spaces/projects unless you provide explicit access in permissions. 

 

Nathan, Don't have a good answer for you but added the tag 'jira' to try to get more users engaged. I take from your question you would prefer not providing the customer with a login? If they have a login you can get external folks into JIRA and Confluence, but I assume you know that. I don't see a way to provide access to customer-specific information automated with macros, etc. that doesn't use authentication.

You are not alone, Nathan.  I'm trying to sort this out, too.

We are experimenting with an add-on called All-in-one JIRA Reports. To be honest, it's not the best. It basically give you a way to filter projects and then export stuff to excel. I reached out and asked if / when they are planning on allowing for an easier to read version of these reports in a PDF format and they said its coming in Q1 of this upcoming year. 

For the time being it's a tedious, manual process. 

What we are looking for is common system documentation (how our software works in general) and parts that are customer-specific (e.g., how the software is specifically configured for them).  The customer specific can only be visible to them due to strict confidentiality.  What we've done in the past is to create a general wiki for everyone and customer-specific wikis, with cross links between the two.  Wiki mark-up however is a generation or two behind Confluence.  I think we'll try to set Confluence Cloud up so anon users have access to all common spaces and customer-specific "spaces" for which they have to log in to access, similar to what Rodney suggests below, or some variation of that.

I still believe the best way is as per my answer below.

Give your valued customer staff members a specific User login to your Confluence system - shows a lot of brand-loyalty and personal trust in the relationship between your company and them as a company and as individuals.

So I have some "public" anonymous pages https://ideology.atlassian.net/wiki/x/AgBv, but I also have a bunch of specific individuals in certain organisations who have access to special Spaces that only they can access - a Space for Client X, another Space for Client Y ...

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