Which Collaboration Tool, Confluence or Google Docs?

Trying to find out which solution is best, is entirely dependent on the requirements of users. Confluence and Google Docs, whilst similar in nature, differ greatly when certain requirements come to light. For simple sharing and compiling of documents, Google Docs is a more intuitive easy to use solution which gives users the benefits of cloud sharing as well as the familiarity of existing office 365 products. Confluence is typically considered when advanced sharing and complex documents with multiple users working on the same project.


Therefore, we will look at a number of metrics that are useful when comparing the two software solutions and finding which is most suitable.

  • Structure

  • Visibility and Discoverability

  • Creating and Formatting Documents

  • Collaborating on Documents

  • Hosting, Supported Devices

  • Pricing 


Structure


Confluence

Confluence is divided into different spaces, with each space having various pages.



In turn, a page will have any documents that are related to a particular topic. Naturally this can be arranged according to the requirements of the different teams. Structure is typically referred to as hierarchy whereby main pages (parent) will include multiple sub-pages (child page). There are no limits to the structure and hierarchy levels that a user or team can have in place.


Pages can easily be relocated by simply dragging.


Lastly, whilst documents may be organised well, the search function will always be essential. Confluence’s search function is extremely robust, varying from simple searches to advanced search as well as saving common searches for ease of access.


Google Docs 

The structure of Google Docs is similar to what most users may be used to with their own File explorer in that files are stored within folders and sub-folders. You can sort your documents, but there’s no way to reorder them manually or to create a hierarchy of files.



The searching function within Google Drive is also robust and can search within files to narrow search results.


Visibility and Discoverability


Confluence

Confluence gives users various options in terms of visibility and so-called ‘Chinese walls’ between different departments. Therefore, administrators can control who sees what, editing and deletion rights. These controls can be set on spaces, pages, as well as sub-pages, both for users as well as groups of users.  




Once added, a page becomes available for others who can suggest changes, give feedback as well as edit. A page can be left as draft or published to other users, giving document owners the flexibility and capability to control visibility of document, even whilst working on the same document. Functions such as following a user, receiving email updates notifications with recommended updates as well as visiting the dashboard with important information, Confluence makes it very easy for users to monitor other users.

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