The adage “Two heads are better than one” can be applied in a business context, as you can get more tasks done with a team than individual contributors. Getting many minds to work together means teams can explore new approaches and find solutions rapidly. Leaning in on the expertise of others also gives you insights into other lines of business within your organization.
Businesses can unlock the benefits of teamwork with collaboration software. However, this is hard to achieve when most collaboration software vendors offer limited time for a free trial. Some even charge upfront for small teams of one to five people. For these organizations, going with a vendor with a “pay-as-you-go” pricing scheme makes more sense.
One such provider is Atlassian, which offers a collaboration tool called Confluence. In this article, you can take a look at the inclusions and limitations of their free-forever plan so you know what to expect upon sign-up.
Business leaders recognize the value of employee collaboration. This much is confirmed in McKinsey’s Global Survey on social tools. The study found that 80% of executives put importance on social tools that focus on collaboration. The most sought-after features of these tools were real-time interactions (55%), collaboration features for groups and individuals (55%), and accessibility across various platforms (54%).
As the workplace becomes more digitally connected, employee adoption of collaboration tools is expected to grow. In Deloitte’s 2018 Global Human Capital Trends report, 70% of respondents believe that employees will spend more time on collaboration platforms in the future. But the downside to using this technology is that it can be distracting. For instance, a study revealed that 38% of leaders feel overwhelmed by collaboration tasks. Moreover, another study that Deloitte conducted with Facebook showed that only 14% of companies felt that their internal processes for collaboration were effective. These only underscores the need for collaboration software to be effective and convenient for it to be truly value-adding.
Source: Adobe Consumer Email Survey (2018)
Atlassian Confluence promises to help teams accomplish more together. Their free-forever plan sounds enticing to teams who want to change the way they work without the added cost. But exactly what are you getting with a free plan? Keep reading below to find out.
Atlassian Confluence is a collaboration software that helps teams do their best work. It provides users with a shared workspace where employees can create projects, collaborate with others, and track work progress. They can also organize their work into hierarchical structures so they can communicate and collaborate effectively.
Teams of any size can use Confluence to improve the way they work. Whether you’re a team of fewer than 10 users or 5,000 users, there is a Confluence plan that fits your needs.
By having a unified repository that is visible to all, Confluence allows organizations to eliminate team silos. Confluence lets you create discoverable documents that everyone can access. This way, great ideas don’t stay in email threads, hard drives, or in employee’s brains.
With Confluence, you can organize documents into spaces and pages, which make sense for how your organization works. You can add labels to spaces and pieces of content to make them easier to find. As your needs change, you can reorder pages without losing the information stored within them.
Capturing conversations and turning them into actionable documents is easy with Confluence. You can turn ideas into pages or blog posts and get feedback from others through social-media style likes and comments.
Teams struggling with visibility can achieve a more open and transparent culture with Confluence. You can see what other teams are working on and explore opportunities to work together.
Working on the cloud while on the go is also possible with the Confluence mobile app. You can create and edit pages, catch up on team updates, or save pages for later when you get back to your desk. With push notifications, you’re sure that you’ll never miss an important update.
Detailed Atlassian Confluence Review
Detailed Atlassian Confluence Review
One great feature that Confluence throws in with their free plans is the ability to make as many spaces and pages that you want. Within a space, you can put your content into categories. On the other hand, a page is the Confluence equivalent of a document. Think of a space as a folder and a page as the file.
You can create team spaces where you can introduce your team and showcase your recent work. If you need to collaborate with others, you can create a project space to track your work. You can set your personal space to private or public as you see fit. Within your space, you can work on individual tasks, create checklists, or draft content before sharing it with others.
On the other hand, you can create almost any kind of content with pages. In other systems, you need to use a dedicated app to create a text document or spreadsheet. But with Confluence, you can have documents, spreadsheets, and PDFs all in one place. In addition, you can add images and videos or embed files and links. You can even add macros to manage dynamic content. As a result, you don’t have to invest in a separate file sharing software to give others access to documents.
Organizations that are just learning how to start a business can take advantage of the free plan, which allows for up to 10 users. With the free plan, your small team can create meeting documents and capture action items to make the most out of your huddle time. Your team can also use it to kick off a project of any size. The plan is free forever, so you can experiment with as many use cases as you want. This way, you can decide if it is the right collaboration software for your team. There’s no pressure to come to a decision when your trial period is up.
In Confluence, you can create parent and child trees so you can organize your content into pages and subpages. This is a handy tool for creating a knowledge base, how-to articles, or a wiki page where you need to present topics in an orderly fashion.
Labels are also a great way to let others know about the contents of a page, space, or attachment. You can search for popular labels, all labels in a space or site, or search for labels by URL.
You also have the flexibility to move pages around a space without losing the hierarchy of child pages. If you want to clean up your space, you can always delete a page.
With Confluence, you and your team are on the same page, literally. You can say goodbye to different versions of a document located in hard drives. Instead, you have the latest and greatest version of your document on the cloud that everyone can view.
Collaborative editing lets up to 12 people work on a page simultaneously. You can see other people’s changes in real-time and save your work automatically. Keep track of what others have done through the page history. If a team member deletes content by mistake, you can view the older version and revert to it to undo the error. You can also compare two versions of a page and see what has been added, deleted, or changed.
Confluence helps you foster an environment of openness and collaboration. Anyone already familiar with social media features will find it easy to use Confluence to interact with others. For instance, you can @mention a person or even a whole team to loop them into a page or task. You can use inline comments to ask questions or let others know what you think about a page, comment, or blog post. When you’re done with the discussion, you can resolve inline comments. You can also reopen a resolved comment once you revisit it and determine that further action is needed.
Make comments even more helpful by formatting the text or adding links or images. Let team members know if they came up with an excellent page or blog post by liking it. This way, it will show up on the Popular tab of your dashboard.
It’s easy to get lost in the barrage of email notifications. However, you don’t have to worry about this with Confluence. You can enable notifications on your email as well as get updates on the platform itself through your Confluence workbox. Users have complete control over what type of notifications they receive.
If something is of particular interest to you, you can watch a page, space, or blog post. When you watch something on Confluence, you will get a notification email when there are updates to the content. You also have the option to enable daily or weekly summary reports for all the spaces you are allowed to view. There are different email settings that you can customize so you only receive updates that you find relevant and important.
Sometimes, getting started is a struggle in itself. With Confluence, you don’t have to recreate the wheel every time. You can use their templates to get the ball rolling on your initiative. Whether you work in human resources or IT, there’s a template that fits your line of business. A good number of Confluence customers and partners created these templates to benefit those who want to learn from their best practices. For instance, CRM provider Hubspot has a template for a creative brief to bring your amazing ideas to life.
Prior to being a publicly funded global company, Atlassian was a start-up. Thus, it knows a thing or two about growing a business to scale and provide plenty of support tools for start-ups. For example, they have team playbooks that you can access for free on their site. These cover various topics from proof-of-concept to team cohesiveness. In addition, they also have free business strategy templates to help you define and implement your major goals and objectives.
With the Confluence mobile app, you don’t have to be at your desk to get work done. You can create and edit pages while on the go or check for critical updates from your team. With push notifications for tasks, mentions, replies, and more, you’re sure that you won’t miss out on all the action. You can always customize push notifications settings so you’ll only receive alerts for certain actions you have specified.
Confluence offers integrations with other Atlassian products like Jira or Hipchat. For instance, Jira Service Desk users can direct customers and employees to a Confluence knowledge base. Here, they can access self-service articles for their help desk issues. In addition, Confluence can be integrated with popular communications app Slack and other collaboration tools like Trello. There are hundreds of apps to choose from in the Atlassian Marketplace to suit various needs.
The Confluence free-forever plan is good for a maximum of 10 users only. As soon as you reach 11 team members, you will have to consider upgrading to a paid plan.
Luckily, the tiered pricing structure of Confluence gives you the flexibility to move to a higher-priced plan once your team grows. The Standard plan, for example, is ideal for small businesses with more than 10 team members and starts at $5 per user. With a low per-user fee, it’s easy for startups to upgrade to a plan that supports their user base without making a huge investment. Likewise, the Premium plan starts at $10 per user per month and has a limit of 5,000 users. The Standard and Premium plans come with a no-obligation seven-day free trial to help you decide if upgrading is worth the cost. The free trial for the paid plans can even be extended to 37 days upon request.
Storage on the free Confluence plan is limited to 2 GB, which might not be enough for a small team. On the other hand, users on the Standard plan can enjoy 250B of file storage while users on the Premium plan get unlimited storage. As with the limitations on the number of users, this can easily be solved if you get the Standard or Premium plans.
Customers on the free plan can access the Atlassian Community for Confluence for support. Here, they can ask questions, access articles, and have discussions with other customers or Atlassian team members. In addition, the Support section of the Confluence website leads you to a resources page. Confluence documentation is conveniently grouped into topics. You can also use the search box to find what you need with keywords.
One disadvantage of the free plan is that response times are not guaranteed. In contrast, you are assured that your queries will be answered within 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM if you are on the Standard Plan. The Premium Support plan offers even higher service levels with 24/7 assistance.
With space permissions, you can allow which users can view, add, edit, or delete a space. However, you cannot customize space permissions on the free plan. This means any team member can make changes to the page even if they are unauthorized to do so, which might lead to confusion. You can avoid this possible scenario with the paid plans, which include this feature.
While you can integrate almost any app you use, the catch is that you have to pay a monthly per-user fee for it. When you think about it, it defeats the purpose of why you signed up for a free plan in the first place. Granted, there is a free 30-day trial period for Marketplace apps. However, take note that unless you manually deactivate before the end of the trial period, the cost of the app will be automatically added to your next bill.
When you look at the inclusions and limitations of the Confluence free plan, you will realize that you’re getting a decent amount of features. You get to enjoy most of its basic features to fill the collaboration needs of a small team.
There’s so much you can do even with just the Confluence free-forever plan. You can create unlimited spaces and pages, collaborate in real-time with team members, and organize your content in a meaningful way. With the companion mobile app, you can take your work wherever you go. However, the free plan does have limitations on the number of users, file storage, customer support, space permissions, and fees for apps, most of which can be resolved by upgrading to a paid plan. Going for a free plan should be your short-term goal. The long-term is to ensure your toolkit is at par with collaboration trends so your organization remains competitive. In sum, Confluence is a great fit for start-up businesses and small teams who want to collaborate efficiently without spending a dime.
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