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Teams looking for a knowledge management solution often choose between Confluence and SharePoint, as each of them have a long history, enterprise capabilities, and strong integrations.
But which is better? The answer may depend on your team’s individual needs, but here’s a general comparison of the two that may help you make your decision.
Confluence was first launched by Atlassian in 2004 as an intuitive Wiki solution for teams, but since then, it’s grown into much more — a collaborative space as well as a comprehensive source of truth for teams of all types.
In fact, we have a whole guide to exactly what Confluence is used for, from documentation to project management. Confluence is popular with developers due to its integration with Jira and other development tools, but any type of team or organization can collaborate in Confluence and use it as a knowledge repository.
SharePoint is Microsoft’s knowledge management solution, used not only for collaboration and file sharing, but also for creating organizational intranets.
SharePoint is popular with many enterprise organizations that rely on other Microsoft solutions; in fact, SharePoint is included in the Office 365 subscription alongside other must-have tools like Microsoft Excel. It offers extensive customization options for both appearance and configuration, but this can make the implementation process difficult and time-consuming.
Although there are many factors that might contribute to your decision to use either Confluence or SharePoint, it’s important to consider the purpose you want your knowledge base to fulfill. If you want it to be a resource that helps your team collaborate effectively and work efficiently then it should be three things: intuitive, up-to-date, and flexible. Here’s how each tool meets those needs.
You don’t want it to be difficult for your team to find the information they need. If you want to make your knowledge base a true resource, incorporating its usage into daily processes and finding information quickly should be intuitive.
Confluence is the more intuitive of the two knowledge management solutions. It has a clean interface, an effective search function, and its page tree sidebar makes it easier to navigate than the siloed folder structure of SharePoint.
However, teams who already use Microsoft Teams and other Microsoft tools in their daily work may find it more intuitive to use SharePoint because it integrates so strongly with those tools. Similarly, teams who work in Jira or other tools that integrate with Confluence will find it more intuitive to use Confluence as part of their daily workflows.
Knowledge management is about creating a culture of knowledge sharing, and it’s difficult to create that kind of culture if your team is accessing information that’s not up to date. Because of that, your knowledge base tool should be easy to update and maintain.
From an editing perspective, both Confluence and SharePoint have a familiar and easy-to-use interface that allows anyone to start creating quickly. However, Confluence makes it easier to keep information accessible so it doesn’t become forgotten and obsolete, with home pages, recommended content, labels, and a convenient structure for page navigation.
Flexibility is important for documentation because different organizations and teams within organizations have different needs, and your documentation should be able to meet all of those needs in one source of truth. Flexibility means your team can share all their knowledge and information in one place without needing to rely on multiple tools, which can cause silos and miscommunication.
When it comes to the set-up and administration of a knowledge base, SharePoint is the more flexible choice as it allows extensive customization as a full-featured intranet platform. This comes at the cost of easy, intuitive set-up and maintenance, but if extensive customization at this level is a priority for your organization, then you should consider SharePoint.
However, in terms of content creation, Confluence is the more flexible option. Confluence allows you to write as well as create tables, charts, and other visuals all in one space, while in SharePoint, you would need to create separate Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoints to communicate information in different ways.
You may even need to go to a different tool for certain use cases such as visual brainstorming and whiteboarding. In Confluence, you can do it all on a page.
Confluence and SharePoint are both common choices for enterprise teams to manage knowledge and information within their organization. Both provide a way to record and share knowledge and both have a Cloud option, meaning information is available wherever there is an Internet connection. They also both allow real-time editing and inline commenting.
Ultimately, your organization’s decision to use either Confluence or SharePoint may depend on the other tools you already use. If you’re a software engineering team heavily invested in Jira or other Atlassian tools already, Confluence is the clear choice. If your organization already collaborates in Microsoft Teams, it may make more sense for you to choose SharePoint.
Overall, if you want a tool that allows for open collaboration and an easy, intuitive interface that’s ideal for busy teams, we would recommend Confluence.
To make your Confluence knowledge base a true resource for your team, check out these Confluence resources that help you make the most of the tool.
Finally, don’t forget to try Gliffy to make your Confluence knowledge base visual and engaging.