Atlassian Confluence Review

Provides collaborative creation of content with version history and change tracking. Captures and provides visibility about decisions and conversations, and enables early feedback.

What is most valuable?

The following features are valuable:

  • The Wiki nature of the product: Collaborative creation of content with version history and easy change tracking.
  • Knowledge sharing: Captures and provides visibility on decisions and conversations, enables early feedback, fosters situational awareness (watchers, notifications, comments, dashboard, etc.).
  • Connects people through content and fosters a collaboration culture.
  • Easy learning curve and powerful search through content.
  • The cloud version accelerates the adoption of product improvements.

How has it helped my organization?

This has helped our organization in the following ways:

  • Enables conversations and meeting outcomes to be visible and evolve faster.
  • Opens collaboration and empowers everybody to contribute in knowledge construction.
  • Accelerates the learning curve of new hires by giving them a platform for self-learning and understanding conversation dynamics.
  • Helps groups do asynchronous work, reducing meetings overload, and improving productivity.
  • Enables distributed teams to have a common virtual place for knowledge sharing and history.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see the solution do the following:

  • Provide analytics on content usage to help foster adoption. Currently, the statistics have to be requested and are very basic in the cloud version.
  • Help in the organization of the content (i.e., help identify "dead nodes", build different perspectives and categorization automatically with a type of page mapping and navigation other than a hierarchical tree.)
  • Improve concurrent collaborative editing. (A relatively new feature has already been proven and is evolving in other products such as Google Docs and Microsoft Office Online.)
  • Help in the consumption of updates according to personalized interest.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution since 2012 in different implementations, settings, and versions. I have been using it with the cloud version since 2015.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In the past maintenance windows could create some availability issues if overlapping with activity periods, but they have been consistently improving performance. You can experience slow response times, images not updated properly, sometimes unavailability messages. A status page is provided to monitor ondemand server ( ). Additionally setting the server time zone properly can also help avoid interference with your peak hours of activity ( )

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not had any scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is very good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have used MediaWiki and SharePoint before.

In comparison with MediaWiki, Confluence is easy to use, more user-friendly, and is rich with social/collaboration features. It has a relatively low cost, and integrates better with other Atlassian tools such as JIRA, Bitbucket, and Bamboo.

In comparison with SharePoint, Confluence has a Wiki native design and social features, so it’s easy to collaborate on content creation. I like to compare it to a "whiteboard", whereas SharePoint feels more like a "library". Although SharePoint has improved a lot in the last few years, its pattern of use are still more like a "repository", rather than "collaborative editing".

Google Docs is the king of collaborative editing, but Confluence enables better structure for a team, with knowledge-centered design.

How was the initial setup?

The installation was straightforward. It was easy to start, easy to setup with low administration involvement, as long as you have an "open by default" policy around content.

Complexity comes into play to drive evolution, content curation, usage, and adoption analytics. When you don’t have enough information on usage easily available, setting up some guidelines can help drive consistent patterns of usage. You need people to help guide that process and keep the organization of the content coherent.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Pricing and licensing are also straightforward. Keep an eye on plugins and additions that should be balanced with the benefits and usage patterns they provide.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked into MediaWiki, SharePoint, and Jive.

What other advice do I have?

Think about your needs and goals. Test-drive it with a team of people in a real scenario.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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