Confluence vs. SharePoint: Which one is right for your business?
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Wed, Jan 25, '23
The global enterprise collaboration market is predicted to grow to $85.8 billion by 2026 — up from $47.2 billion in 2021.
If you’re looking for an enterprise collaboration solution, there are a lot of choices out there. However, you’ve probably come across two of the biggest players in the industry: Confluence and SharePoint.
Both of these are hugely popular tools that are used by thousands of companies across the world to communicate from a distance, collaborate on documents, and develop more efficient and productive workflows.
But which of these two popular options should you choose for your company? Read on for our comparison of SharePoint and Confluence.
Confluence vs. Sharepoint: Side-by-side comparison
Both Microsoft SharePoint and Atlassian’s Confluence have been on the market for a number of years, and enjoy a considerable market share. Microsoft has dominated the world of workplace software for decades. But Atlassian, which was founded in Australia in 2002, is hardly the new kid on the block.
Both platforms are designed to help businesses to productively and effectively collaborate — and their importance has become even more pronounced due to the rise in remote working over the past two years.
Of course, both options have their limitations too. And what works brilliantly for one company won’t necessarily be right for another.
Let’s dive into our side-by-side comparison of Confluence vs. SharePoint.
Use case: Best for small-to-medium businesses and software development teams
Pricing: From $5.50 per user per month, with a free version for teams of 10 people or fewer
G2 rating: 4.1
Confluence was created by Atlassian and launched in 2004. Atlassian’s products, which also include popular collaboration software like Trello and Jira, are reportedly used by some 180,000 people worldwide.
Confluence is a digital team workspace where teams can store and share files and work collaboratively on documents. While the platform is feature-light compared to SharePoint, one of its most important selling points is its user-friendly and intuitive interface.
Confluence features overview
Confluence functions as a shared work environment where users can create “spaces” for each team or department within an organization to collaborate. Within spaces, you can create pages and subpages, either from scratch or using a template. This makes for a neat and logical page hierarchy that makes it easy to find the information you need.
Confluence is a useful tool for collaborative editing of documents, as it allows users to leave file, inline, and page comments (including @mentions) to share feedback in real time. It also partners well with other Atlassian products like Jira, Trello, and the instant messaging platform HipChat.
Confluence pros and cons
Here are some of the main advantages and disadvantages of Confluence as an enterprise collaboration platform.
Pros of Confluence
- Easy to navigate and organize content
- Comments feature makes collaboration and feedback simpler
- Free plan available for small teams (<10 people)
- Clean and intuitive interface
- Smooth integration with other Atlassian products
- Mobile app for working on the go
Cons of Confluence
- Limited feature set compared to other platforms
- Not much room for customization
- Document version management is limited
- Can be expensive if other Atlassian products are needed
- Limited integrations with other workplace tools
Why some companies prefer companies over SharePoint
- Confluence doesn’t require the extensive configuration that SharePoint does, and doesn’t need to be as actively managed throughout its lifecycle.
- Confluence’s interface is more intuitive and is easier for non-technical end-users to navigate.
- Confluence integrates seamlessly with other Atlassian products like Jira, so it’s a good choice for software development teams.
- Confluence provides simpler document organization and hierarchical page structures.
- Confluence’s search function is more reliable and intuitive than SharePoint’s.
Use case: Best for large enterprises needing a wider range of functionalities
Pricing: From $5 per user per month, or included in Office 365 plans
G2 rating: 4.0
SharePoint is a fully-featured intranet and document management platform that’s been around for over 20 years and has over 200 million monthly active users. It’s a popular solution for large enterprise organizations because its large feature set means it’s customizable to the needs of almost any organization.
SharePoint integrates well with other Microsoft products, and is included in Office 365 business plans, which means it can be a more affordable option for organizations that already use these tools.
Sharepoint feature overview
Like Confluence, SharePoint is built around internal websites that teams and departments can use to collaborate, which are called “team sites”. However, SharePoint’s customization options for these sites are much more advanced, and you can even use a SharePoint site as an external, public-facing website.
You can also use SharePoint to set up automated workflows and work on files like documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, thanks to its integration with other programs in the Microsoft Office suite. SharePoint uses the same synchronization protocol as Microsoft OneDrive, which means that colleagues can edit documents simultaneously without losing work or creating duplicate versions.
SharePoint pros and cons
Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages reported by SharePoint users.
Pros of SharePoint
- Integration with other Office 365 programs
- Extensive customization options
- Advanced feature set
- Built-in approval workflows
- Included in Office 365 packages
- Mobile app available
Cons of SharePoint
- Steep learning curve for end-users
- Requires professional set-up and upkeep
- Limited collaboration features
- Search function is limited compared to other tools
Why some companies prefer SharePoint over Confluence
- SharePoint can be more affordable than Confluence, especially if you already have an Office 365 plan.
- Tight integration with other Microsoft software is convenient for companies that already use programs like Word, Excel, and OneDrive.
- SharePoint offers more advanced customization options, which means it works for many different use cases.
- SharePoint offers better document version management than Confluence.
Confluence vs. SharePoint: Key differences and similarities
If you’re trying to decide between Confluence and SharePoint, it’s important to research the key differences and similarities between the two platforms. Then, you can compare these to the exact needs of your organization to figure out which one is the best fit for you.
The main similarities between Confluence and SharePoint
- Intranet sites: Both Confluence and SharePoint are built around intranet sites and wikis or pages that users can create for specific teams to collaborate, upload documents, and share information.
- Cloud technology: Both platforms use cloud technology for file storage, which means that you can access files from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection.
- Calendar and email integration: You can integrate both tools with calendars and email to better organize your work.
- Simultaneous editing: Confluence and SharePoint both let you edit documents simultaneously in real time and restore previous versions as needed.
- Project management: Both platforms come with some project management and task management tools, such as tasks and workflows.
Customer support: Both SharePoint and Confluence offer online and telephone support to help you if you have an issue with the platform. They also both have libraries of content on how to get the best use out of the software.
The main differences between Confluence and SharePoint
- Feature set: The main difference between Confluence and SharePoint is that SharePoint comes with a far broader range of features. If your teams work on multiple complex projects and need access to a huge pool of files and documents, SharePoint may be a better choice for you.
- Complexity: Because of its large feature set, SharePoint is more complex to operate than Confluence. It’s likely that you’ll have to provide training to your staff if you decide to use SharePoint. While Confluence does also come with a learning curve, it’s simpler to deploy and much easier for non-technical employees to get used to.
- Interoperability: Confluence works well with other Atlassian products like Jira and HipChat, while SharePoint is designed to work seamlessly alongside other Microsoft tools included in Office 365, like OneDrive, Outlook, and Microsoft Teams. The platform you choose might depend on which tools your teams are already most familiar with.
- Public-facing sites: SharePoint allows users to publish sites as public-facing websites — a feature that Confluence doesn’t yet support.
- Pricing: Confluence prices start at $5.50 per user per month for the basic package, and go up to $10.50 for the premium package. SharePoint is priced at either $5 or $10 per user per month, depending on whether you choose the basic or advanced package — so the two platforms come in at a fairly similar price point.
However, Confluence also offers a free plan for teams of 10 people or fewer, so this may be the best option if you lead a small team or company. SharePoint, on the other hand, is included in Office 365 business plans, which start at $23 per user per month — so it’s definitely worth checking if you’re already paying for it!
Other alternatives to SharePoint and Confluence
While Confluence and SharePoint are two of the biggest players in the enterprise collaboration market, they’re by no means the only options.
In fact, there are plenty of alternatives to SharePoint and Confluence that are even more intuitive, come with more features — and might even be better suited to your organization.
For example, Happeo is a knowledge management platform, company intranet and collaboration tool that can help you to accomplish many of the same things that Confluence and SharePoint can — and even fills some gaps with features that are lacking from both of them.
Using Happeo, you can:
- Build intranet pages on your own: Our hassle-free, drag-and-drop page editor means that absolutely anyone can create beautiful, functional pages, complete with consistent branding, embedded files, and engaging widgets — with no technical expertise needed.
- Search across third-party platforms: Happeo’s Universal Search function lets you search across all your content — Pages, Channels, emails, and even files from Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and SharePoint in just a few clicks. Plus, you can get even more powerful search results by adding our federated search add-on, which lets you search across multiple third-party apps at the same time.
- Use social channels to increase collaboration: With Happeo, you can create Channels for teams to collaborate, communicate, and even get to know each other — which builds engagement and paves the way to more effective collaboration.
- Personalize your own news feed: The problem with “one-size-fits-all” solutions is that… they usually don’t. With Happeo, you can personalize your own feed by selecting the widgets and Channels you want to see, and choosing where your company news is placed.
Integrate with workspaces and popular third-party apps: Happeo offers useful integrations with platforms like Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 (including SharePoint…), to help keep your tools connected and your work processes smooth. And yes, Happeo can integrate with Atlassian tools like Confluence and Jira too.
Confluence vs SharePoint: Which one is right for your business?
Whether Confluence, SharePoint, Happeo, or another solution is right for you depends on your organization’s needs.
For example, small to medium-sized businesses can often get all the features they need from Confluence and benefit from its easy-to-navigate interface. On the other hand, larger enterprises might need more functionality, which can be met with a platform like SharePoint.
Or, you might decide to opt for a modern, intuitive solution that also includes social collaboration functions that boost engagement — like Happeo. Remember: our suite of useful integrations means you can easily sit Happeo on top of other collaboration tools like Confluence and SharePoint — so you can get the best of both worlds.
Whichever tool you choose, take the time to carefully consider the functionality you actually need, the work you’re willing to put in, and how your final choice will truly help the most important people in your organization: your employees.
Want to see if Happeo is the best solution for your business? Book a personalized demo today.