Confluence Review

by Atlassian Corporation Plclast updated September 15th, 2020
4.3/5
starting from$0
Layer 1
Offers free trial

Confluence Pros and Cons

RESULTS Score

4.3/5
Lydia Pang

reviewed by

Lydia Pang

Pros

Collaboration tools
File management
Task management
Document management
Part of the Atlassian suite

Cons

No time-tracking or financial management tools
Used mainly as a documentation repository
Lack of workflow automations

Overview

Confluence is a collaborative documentation tool designed to enhance teamwork and help teams collaborate on projects. Confluence is mainly used for content collaboration and knowledge management while ensuring that information is centralized and accessible. Some of its features include real-time editing, customizable templates, lightweight task management tools, and discussion boards. Its interface is also user-friendly and intuitive, requiring little to no time to learn. 

Confluence does not have project management tools such as time-tracking and budgeting, though these features can be found in Jira, Confluence’s sister product. Confluence is most appropriate for companies of all sizes that require a documentation and knowledge management tool.

In this Confluence review, we will explore project management features, pricing, ease of use, customer support, add ons, and more.

Confluence Office Picnic Invitation Screenshot

What is Confluence?

Confluence is a content collaboration software option developed by Australian company Atlassian in 2004. After being inspired by the Greek Titan ‘Atlas’ whose responsibility was to hold up the sky and prevent it from falling, founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar adopted the name ‘Atlassian’ and registered the company name in 2001. 

Confluence is part of Atlassian’s product suite, which includes other software such as Jira, Trello, and BitBucket. Since their launch date, Confluence has garnered over 40,000+ customers and is used by companies such as HubSpot, LinkedIn, and The New York Times.

Facts and Figures

Employees4.000
Customers Worldwide170.000
Founded2002
FounderMike Cannon-Brookes, Scott Farquhar
HeadquartersSydney, Australia
CEOMike Cannon-Brookes, Scott Farquhar

Confluence Project Management Features

With Confluence, businesses can store company information in one location to streamline planning and work processes. It particularly excels at saving project plans and project details in a single location, so everyone in the team knows where to look for information. Confluence also boasts collaboration tools such as discussions, note-taking, and file-sharing. It is easy to use and especially useful for Agile teams as it integrates seamlessly with Jira, ensuring issues and bugs are logged and organized properly. 

Project Planning

Confluence’s lightweight project planning features keep project managers in control and move projects across the finish line. Though natively lacking Kanban and Gantt chart views, Confluence allows tasks to be added onto any page and be viewed as a Chart chart via a third-party integration. Confluence’s in-built text editor also supports rich-text formatting and a diversity of content that ranges from text and images to links and files, ensuring a wide variety of documentation possibilities.

Gantt Charts

Confluence helps users visualize the progress of their project by providing them with a Gantt chart view. Toggling to a Gantt chart view in Confluence however utilizes a workaround which includes listing tasks in a table. This table can be manipulated into a Gantt chart view. Alternatively, Confluence has an integration that works with the application itself to produce Gantt chart views. The app supports a drag and drop interface, nested tasks, and even tree view. 

Confluence Gantt Charts Screenshot

Task Management

Confluence’s task management features are easy to use and streamline the process of planning and assigning tasks. In Confluence, tasks can be added on any page, for example within a HR onboarding page or a marketing team calendar page. Confluence’s in-built page editor also features auto-formatting and a drag and drop interface for external files. The application analyzes the contents of external links and converts them into elements that structure well in a Confluence page. 

Nonetheless, users are unable to label or categorize tasks and have no option to add due dates. For more advanced task management features such as custom workflows and task reporting, teams will need a Jira integration.

Communication & Collaboration

Confluence’s social collaboration tools enable team members to have an easier time coordinating on projects and sharing information. Team members can make use of Confluence’s discussion boards to add comments and give and receive feedback, while the note-taking feature ensures all information is recorded and kept in the right place. Confluence can also store files and attachments, helping the team centralize project materials in a single location. 

File Sharing

Team members can upload and store all kinds of files with Confluence, eliminating the need to use external file-sharing applications such as Google Drive. Uploaded content can also be exported to other formats like XML, HTML, DOCX, and PDF. Confluence’s search feature also allows users to find important documents quickly. 

Sharing files with a non-Confluence user however requires the use of a third-party integration such as Comala Share It, which enables team members to share read-only files without giving external collaborators access to the team’s Confluence workspace.

Discussion

Confluence supports threaded discussions and collaborative editing, building team engagement directly within the application. Team members can review and add comments at the bottom of any page and add inline comments by highlighting specific text on the page. Up to 12 team members can comment and edit the same page at the same time, though this limit can be changed by project managers and administrators. 

All changes made are saved and synced automatically. In addition to tagging a team member with the @ symbol, users can also click on the share button to send an email. Recipients of the email will receive a notification in their workboxes.

Confluence Discussions Screenshot

Note-Taking

Confluence consolidates the best practices of note-taking into one neat feature named ‘Pages’. ‘Pages’ help create and maintain a solid knowledge base that everyone in the team has access to. Team members can either start with a blank page or a template. 

Pages can be filled with text, tables, videos, spreadsheets, PDFs, and more. It can also function as a document repository, storing crucial company documents such as marketing plans, employee handbooks, and product requirements. All Confluence Pages support versioning and can be exported into various formats such as PDF, DOCX, ePUB, and more.

Agile Project Management

As part of the Atlassian ecosystem, Confluence is compatible with Jira and works particularly well for any team that requires Agile project management features. Working on a Jira issue in Confluence is as easy as a few clicks - team members can keep track of bugs with Jira and simply use Confluence to store and organize issues, tickets, and files all in one place. 

Issue Tracking

Teams with a Jira and Confluence integration can create and track new issues without leaving the Confluence editor. Users can simply highlight text in Confluence and create a new Jira issue, or open the macro browser in Confluence and add a Jira macro. 

Pasting a Jira link on a Confluence page will also automatically drop a dynamic Jira issue link that will display the issue ID and title, issue category, and issue status in the workflow. Jira issues within Confluence can also be shared with the team with the issue navigator.

Confluence supports IT projects of all sizes with its technical documentation capabilities. The application features automatic versioning, customizable templates, instant previews, permissions, and a search option. It also has a great file management system, allowing the team to upload team documents to a central and accessible location. 

Last but not least, Confluence integrates well with Jira to help teams plan IT projects and manage tasks, bugs, and feature requests. Once connected to Jira, Confluence’s search results also display Jira issues.

Confluence Pricing

Layer 1
Offers free trial

Confluence also offers a self-hosting option for their software, which works on a different pricing system. Note that these pricing lists are simplified for the purposes of this Confluence review. For more details, visit Confluence’s pricing page.

Standard

from $10 per user, per month

All features in the free plan
Page and space permissions
Archive and unarchive pages
Page insights
Anonymous access
Audit logs
250GB file storage
9-5 standard support

Premium

from $10 per user, per month (average)

All features in the Standard plan
Admin key
Analytics
Inspect permissions
Copy space permissions
Bulk archive pages
External collaboration
Admin insights
IP allowlisting
Sandbox
Audit logs
99.9% uptime SLA
Unlimited storage
24/7 premium support

Free

Free, up to 10 users

Unlimited spaces and pages
Macros
Structured page tree
Page versioning
Best practice template library
Apps and integrations
2GB file storage
Community support

Confluence Security

Confluence is committed to meeting the highest standards of privacy. It adheres to the GDPR and the Privacy Shield Framework, ensuring that all data is handled with utmost care. Confluence is also compliant with SOC2, SOC3, ISO 27001, ISO 27018, PCI DSS, and more. 

All customer data stored within the Confluence cloud is encrypted in transit over public networks using TLS 1.2+ with Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS). Data at rest utilizes industry standard AES-256 encryption. 

Physical access to customer data is strictly limited to authorized personnel. The physical locations of the data centers are verified using biometric measures, monitored by CCTV, and other additional intrusion protection measures.

Confluence Integrations

The Confluence web interface is modern, clean, and sleek. It utilizes a sidebar navigation, giving the team access to important work elements like Pages and Calendar. For topics that have sub-pages, Confluence provides a drop-down menu so the team can review additional documents. At the top right, there is a search feature that allows users to find documents and information quickly. 

The main header at the top navigates to the most important sections of Confluence, such as “Spaces”, “People”, and “Apps”. Everything is clear and labeled intuitively. Overall, Confluence is easy to use and its design is refreshing and clutter-free, helping the team focus on the thing that matters most - their work.

  • Salesforce
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Asana
  • OneDrive
  • Evernote

Interface

The Confluence interface is modern, clean, and sleek. It utilizes a sidebar navigation, giving users access to work elements like Pages and Calendar. For topics that have sub-pages, Confluence provides a drop-down menu so users can view additional documents. 

The main header at the top navigates to the most important sections of Confluence, such as “Spaces”, “People”, and “Apps”. Everything is clear and labelled intuitively. Overall, the design is refreshing and clutter-free, helping users focus on the thing that matters most - their work.

Mobile Apps

The team can work on the go with Confluence’s mobile apps, available on both iOS and Android devices. They support a robust range of functionalities, including creating and editing pages, viewing activity, and commenting. The mobile apps also support push notifications so team members can receive updates on the go.

Confluence Support

Confluence offers three plans with different customer support options:

  • Under the free plan, Confluence provides community support which includes self-help resources and a community forum. 

  • The Standard plan offers standard customer support, which includes self-help resources and a community forum, but also access to a support portal. The team has to log into the Confluence portal in order to submit a ticket or log an issue. 

  • Teams on the Premium plan have access to 24/7 customer support via the support portal which also weekends.

Confluence Alternatives

Confluence is a great collaboration tool for any team that requires extensive documentation. Though it has some sharp features like a built-in editor and compatibility with other Atlassian products, it does not replace a project management application. Some alternatives and add ons are: 

Verdict

For a knowledge management and collaboration tool, Confluence offers plenty of neat features. Teams can use Confluence’s documentation features for idea-mapping, product stories, storing company information, and more. The platform is collaborative, allowing the team to share information regarding business strategies, workflows, and security policies. It is easy to use and integrates well with other Atlassian products like Jira and Bitbucket. 

On the other hand, it does not have tools such as time-tracking or workflow automations, but these features can be found in Jira, Confluence’s sister product, and other third-party integrations. When used in the right context, Confluence is a great tool to have in the workplace.

FAQ

Confluence is an easy to use collaboration and content management tool where teams store and organize information. It is primarily used for knowledge management and has word-processing features. On the other hand, Jira is an Agile project management software targeted at teams working in software development. It has features like issue tracking and bug tracking. 
As with other Atlassian products, Confluence has a free plan of up to 10 users. Jira also offers a free plan up to 10 users. When used in combination, Jira and Confluence help manage projects as their features are merged together to deliver a powerful working experience.    
Customers who wish to use Confluence have two options: cloud-hosting with Confluence or a self-hosting option. The self-hosting option comes with licensing fees that vary with the number of users. Before committing to a licensing fee, Confluence offers users the option to try out their product for free for 30 days.