Documentation platforms Confluence and SharePoint are equally valued, but which one's right for your business?
On the surface they appear similar, but underneath they offer something quite unique.
Both are reasonably easy to learn, although Confluence definitely stands out as the most intuitive of the two — but we’ll let you be the judge of that in this honest comparison piece.
Easy-to-use, create a new space in minutes.
Full control over permissions. It’s easy to restrict content access at three levels – global, space-wide, and per individual page.
Relevance, individuals and groups can only view what’s important to them.
Rich Text Editor, simplifying navigation with intuity and consistency + several supported prepackaged macros, rich content-embedding, and many keyboard shortcuts for advanced users.
Easy to mention users in any content or inline comment, notify them for direct contribution, via the feedback loop.
Concurrent editing and merging.
Capability to watch pages, spaces, and blogs, notifying users of any changes or new content posted.
Subscribe to RSS feeds.
Keep tasks and assign due dates to specific users. View tasks by preference (assignee, complete, incomplete) via the task report macro.
Import and export content in various formats, including HTML, XML, PDF, Text and Word alternatives.
Flexibility. There are hundreds of available extensions and integrations with third-party applications via the Atlassian Marketplace.
Management of attachments, through attachment labelling. Confluence can deliver 80+ file types directly in your browser using HTML 5, file sharing, even easier new version uploads, and file annotations directly in Confluence without ever needing to download the file.
Version control, automatic attachment and page versioning, restore to any previous page version, also available for transparency and auditing.
Brand new Confluence Cloud features including the ability to:
Set team goals with templates.
Teams have one place to set, track, and stay focused on goals. These templates – Goals, Signals, and Measures; OKRs; and Project Poster – can be found in the “Create” module.
Better than ever Google Drive integration. Embed and edit, all your Google Drive sheets, slides, and docs from within Confluence. Adjust the height and width of these elements and go full-screen.
@ mention teams in Confluence.
Use @ in a Confluence page or comment to notify the entire team without having to type out (or remember) everyone’s name. Use this productivity hack to keep teams of people updated.
Full-width pages. Make information-rich pages full-width, so your readers don’t have to keep scrolling. Toggle between full or fixed width with the toolbar.
Greater visibility and control.
Site, space, and page analytics show how teams use Confluence, simplifying reporting and decision-making.
Admin key gives site admins temporary access to restricted pages so they can solve permission problems faster.
Customise Confluence with apps. Custom-fit Confluence to your needs with hundreds of apps in the Atlassian Marketplace including themes, diagramming, and workflow management solutions.
More than just text. Start with a blank page or a customizable template, and add some personality with images, videos, and GIFs.
Custom-fit Confluence to your needs with nearly 3000 apps in the Atlassian Marketplace.
Trusted by over 35,000 customers world-wide.
Interlink applications such as Jira Software and Confluence together to organise documents in one place, collaborate more effectively, and ship projects faster.
Prices that scale, for teams of all sizes.
Access to templates i.e. meeting notes, project plans, product requirements and so on, removes the fuss of formatting.
For a hierarchical view, simply create pages and sub-pages within each space.
Document management system + management of the life cycle of desktop-based MS Office docs.
Automatic attachment and page versioning, restore to any previous version, available for transparency and auditing.
Centralised place to locate relevant information, including third-party links to benefits, banking, vendors + external portals, HR policies, IT how-to guides and other digital files.
Ability to index and tag files based on content. This search capability continues to be one of the biggest selling points of SharePoint. Users can locate any file stored in SharePoint by doing a keyword search, and different filters to narrow results based on dates, content types and authors.
Create company announcements, important links, contact lists, HTML pages and a slew of other content.
Content versioning enables business users to track multiple versions of documents, including legal contracts, policies and documents, via SharePoint document libraries.
UX enhancements, in line with the SharePoint Online experience, including better communication and collaborative capabilities, with a new face for SharePoint Home, all the sites and news you care about in one central dashboard.
Modern team and communication sites. Likely one of the most anticipated features of SharePoint 2019, appealing to cloud users through Office 365.
Suite Navigation and App Launcher. The popular Office 365 “waffle” menu is now available.
Simplified sharing experience. Previously, you could only let outside users access SharePoint on-premise content by giving them a SharePoint license or anonymous access. Now you can enjoy the flexible sharing capabilities in Office 365.
Team site improvements, SharePoint 2019 makes it easier to integrate Office 365 group content, SharePoint team sites and Microsoft Teams.
Connect an existing SharePoint team site to a new group in Office 365, and access a group calendar, shared document library and planner to manage tasks. Also add a team in Microsoft Teams as a hub for collaboration.
Access and share pages, and articles, through Microsoft Teams, not just documents stored in SharePoint libraries.
Communication sites dynamically pull content from Office 365 using SharePoint web parts. New web parts simplify the process of creating and sharing important updates and announcements. These web parts include Planner, Microsoft Forms, Group Calendar, File Viewer and Twitter.
Organisations with large on-premise libraries will be pleased to know SharePoint 2019 brings a significantly improved OneDrive Sync Client with support for personal and team sites, including files on demand. It also features push notifications to help create a fast and reliable synchronisation experience.
Not Cloud restricted, on-premise users can now access new features in hybrid environments.
Process automation and forms technologies such as PowerApps and Flow to connect with on-premise data.
Administration/Infrastructure improvements, i.e. direct links to SharePoint documentation.
SMTP authentication for sending emails.
Workflow Manager 2019 replaces Workflow Manager 1.0 with PowerApp integration and Flow.
New Hybrid Status Bar. Monitor the status of your hybrid configuration in one view with this new feature.
Holistic Search includes a modern search feature for hybrid environments.
The decision is yours
For many, Confluence is the clear winner because most businesses look for software that offers teamwork and transparency. The pleasant user interface makes it easy to start using straight away with little guidance.
Confluence is desired by those who actually enjoy staying organised (due to its usability), as well as by those on the other end of the spectrum who find staying on top of things more of a chore — for them it serves as a lifeline.
We’re not completely dismissing SharePoint because quite obviously it has its benefits — Atlassian note ‘workflow features’ as being one of the strongest features of SharePoint, with out-of-the-box functionalities. SharePoint includes built-in alternatives for processes and formalised steps for drafting, editing, and publishing pages, while Confluence offers robust workflows, available via a marketplace add-on.
Ultimately the right platform will always be the one that meets your specific needs.
Confluence provides more collaborative functionalities, ideal for growing teams with evolving documents, and SharePoint is better suited for the management of documents.
Overall, we advise you keep collaboration at the forefront of your decisions, because better collaboration equates to faster teamwork and efficiency.
We’ve worked with thousands of organisations of all sizes around the world, and have found Confluence to be the best tool for promoting real time collaboration.