The demand for wiki solutions that can be integrated into Microsoft Teams environment grows. The abundance of solutions on the market is astonishing. In this blog post we'll review the most popular knowledge base solutions for Microsoft Business Suite.
I'd like to speak from the personal experience of me and my team. Our initial request was to store onboarding, FAQ's and company guidelines for the Customer Support department inside Microsoft Business Suite environment. The major points I needed to be covered were:
- User-friendliness (so my team was able to enhance workflow, not slow it down due to the complex interface)
- Easy installation and full integration (to avoid switching workspaces)
- A rich and up-to-date set of functionalities
- Good value for money
- Control over access and changes
We had to search for a suitable tool for quite some time and after the way of trial and error - we found what we needed and would like to share our journey, so you could have all the information at hand to save your time and effort.
We experimented with Atlassian Confluence and this is what we discovered
We decided to start big! One of the most famous in the sphere is for sure Atlassian Confluence and many Microsoft Teams users try to fit it into their Microsoft business suite and so did we. Confluence is a great collaboration tool, but it is, surprisingly, appeared to be not the best match for Microsoft Teams. Additionally, Confluence does not have a high level of integration with other Microsoft products, such as Office 365 or Outlook.
When I tried to install Confluence I got really frustrated. The Atlassian landing page appeared not intuitive, so just getting to Confluence and creating an account took several tries.
Secondly, Confluence was simply not created with the intention of being compatible with Microsoft Teams - this was something they added on after Microsoft Teams became the popular choice for remote working.
You can look up Confluence pages and share them in Microsoft Teams conversations, you can pin a page to a channel tab (which is only reader version), and you can take notes in an Microsoft Teams meeting with Confluence. Adding a Confluence page to a channel tab in Microsoft Teams is pretty simple, but you and your teammates will all have to sign on separately to access the page in the tab.
That's all we got. Atlassian still offers search, templates gallery and permission settings (on paid version only!), but import and export dialogues do not live up to the high expectations, as well as the integration level.
My team just couldn't immediately figure out what links to follow, how to integrate them into Microsoft Teams and make it work efficiently. Its knowledge base features can be used to a larger extend inside Confluence itself, however when added to Microsoft Teams it downgrades to a notification bot tool, that leaves much to be desired. Its best solution is viewing pages in reader mode in the channel tab in Microsoft Teams but that's not exactly what I was looking.
Plus, the paid Confluence plans are a serious budget consideration for small to medium companies.
If your company is already comfortably settled in Microsoft Teams, we personally don’t recommend making Confluence your go-to knowledge base.
So, if the market leader fails us with Microsoft Business Suite integration, what are the Microsoft alternatives to Confluence?
We tested SharePoint and here are our findings
Here I just don't think its necessary to dive deep into the details. All Microsoft Teams users are aware that SharePoint is not the solution where you'd like to create your knowledge base, but we gave it a try as its a part of Microsoft Business Suite we have already been using.
SharePoint offers a bulk of features: creating and viewing pages, leaving comments, creating a structured layout. But what becomes more important and actually ruined the user experience for my team is that when added to Microsoft Teams you can't:
- Create a new page
- Remove pages
- Change editing permissions
- Search the team site or pages
Lack of such basic features just doesn't create a good alternative solution for us, as such limitations appear inside the tool that comes from Microsoft itself and is a part of the family. Moreover, setting the SharePoint as a knowledge base inside Microsoft Teams was time consuming and required us to consult a tech professional to keep it structured and up to date. It just added more work, rather than facilitated the workflow in our department.
Speaking from the experience, I can state that you can use it as a starting point, but be aware that you will only have a few basic features actually inside your Teams channels. You will still have to do most of the knowledge creation and sharing in the SharePoint web app.
Our assessment of self hosted solutions is as follows
During studying the market we gave a chance to some self hosted solutions, like DokuWiki, for example.
What we faced was poor integration level, complicated set-up and configuring with plugins for even basic functions, no onboarding and contradicting information in the help documents. And the main drawback - you need your own server and a software tech to set up and use it effectively.
Unfortunately, for Microsoft Business Suite that is probably not a usable alternative option.
Why we chose Perfect Wiki for our team
In search of the best alternative to Confluence for Microsoft Business Suite I got to test Perfect Wiki - the solution that was created for Microsoft Teams environment and offers a feature rich knowledge base solution for your business. Here're just a few reasons, why we found Perfect Wiki in Microsoft Teams the best possible option:
1. Easy integration and installation
Incorporating Perfect Wiki into Microsoft Teams is a breeze; it only required me a few clicks. My colleagues didn't have to endure the irritating authentication procedure Confluence needs. I just added Perfect Wiki to a channel and the starting free version was ready for the team members to use.
2. Rich functionality
Perfect Wiki has it all: starting from user friendly and intuitive editor to the abundant templates gallery that facilitates the workflow. You don't need to be technologically advance to get around with the solution. And what's important, Perfect Wiki was designed specially for Microsoft Teams, so all the features are available and thrive!
The templates immediately saved my team much time on creating structures for documents and policies, for example.
3. AI Assistant
Perfect Wiki really keeps track of time and innovations. It offers you AI Assistant integrated into the editor! No more switching between workspaces, copy-pasting the content. Just type in you prompt and see how your work is getting done.
Moreover, as a nice addition we got a quick, typo tolerant AI powered search engine helping to navigate through the data base.
4. Control and Supervision
When installing Perfect Wiki to Microsoft Teams I could just in couple clicks set the roles for your team members to ensure clear collaborative workflow.
As well we get to track the changes for the documentation you create inside your Perfect Wiki via an interactive versions history dialogue.
Summing up, we found Perfect Wiki to be the best Confluence alternative for Microsoft Business Suite. Rich functionalities, up to date innovations, seamless Microsoft Teams integration and of course a great value for money (what can't be said about Confluence in this particular case).
Rather than making you continually move between workspaces, Perfect Wiki provides all the most potent features of Confluence (and more) in a collaboration area that is already familiar to everyone — Microsoft Teams. We recommend you not wasting your time on solutions that do not work. Go ahead and try Perfect Wiki with its free trial period today.