We’ve integrated Confluence with Microsoft SharePoint. We found Microsoft incredibly like-minded in solving a huge customer problem.
Last June when meeting with customers and analysts, SharePoint came up in every meeting. “We have growing groups who love the wiki, and long standing users of Microsoft and now SharePoint. Help!”, customers asked, including Geoff Corb, IT Director at Johns Hopkins University.
When Microsoft approached us to ask us to integrate, it made perfect sense. Then the hard part started: we had to put some engineering muscle behind it. We found Microsoft wanting to solve the same problem: remove friction between our technologies. And we found Microsoft easy to work with. Their product managers and engineers and ours even got Accenture on the phone to test out the requirements. Accenture is a partner of both our companies, and a large user of Confluence, so their feedback was important.
Why did we do choose to do this? Foremost, to bridge groups of workers who prefer to work in different ways with different technology. Customers have multiple domains of work: wikis, office document/email, document management, blogs, IM, and more, yet want to use the best technologies.
As a software company, Atlassian also did this because Microsoft was motivated, and we expect other partnerships like this in the future, so Confluence is more open. Although Confluence has an open architecture and now rather large plugin library, we have not focused, until now on larger partnerships.
Today, we release the SharePoint Connector for Confluence which is by far the deepest integration of any wiki with SharePoint, and is a testament to the connectivity of the .Net and Java platforms. The Connector is available today with:
- Search: Users can search SharePoint and Confluence content together from one place.
- Content sharing: From within SharePoint, users can embed Confluence page contents allowing users to blend content.
- Linking: Within Confluence, users can access SharePoint document facilities. By including SharePoint lists and content within Confluence, users, in a single click, can edit Microsoft Office documents.
- Single Sign-On and Security: With one login, users can access both systems while seeing only what they have permission to view.
It didn’t escape us that Microsoft asked us with our Java product to integrate with SharePoint. I can only take that as a complement, and a recognition of our customer base.
Updates and Further Reading
- Robert Scoble visited to video Mike and me, and blogged it, ” Why do that? After all, Sharepoint has its own wiki service? Cause Atlassian’s is better and Microsoft’s customers were asking it to support Atlassian’s.”
- Richard McManus covered the partnerships with Atlassian and NewsGator.
- Dan Farber and Dennis Howlett gave it ZDnet coverage with Dennis having his often interesting edge.
- Mike wrote the most insightful post about the risks and tensions inherent in deciding to do this partnership.
- And the feature tour is here, and the sufficiently reviewed 🙂 press release.
I love it when someone does a useful, instructive job explaining terms we take for granted here in technology. Lee Lefever nailed “Wikis in Plain English” with his video. Scott Gavin explains the potentially trendy term Enterprise 2.0 simply. Although Andrew McAfee is without doubt the authoritative author on the subject of Enterprise 2.0, Scott hit the basics.
Scott even said it was “social software within the firewall” which was refreshing to see with all the blather that everything must be hosted. The fact is most enterprises want something as vital as the content on a wiki behind the firewall. Not all surely, but the lion’s share.
What still leaves me wanting about everyone’s definition of Enterprise 2.0 is that it misses an important point: Enterprise 2.0 is just another natural evolution towards lighter weight software. Doesn’t matter if it hosted, behind the firewall, social or not. Companies embraced the open source movement and software-as-a-service because they were fed up with traditional enterprise software. Lightweight software is just another movement serving this same frustration and need.
Lightweight software serves a gap in the enterprise which Jonathan Nolen articulated in an interview:
“We think there’s a huge middle ground between open source and enterprise software that hasn’t been addressed—lightweight software,” Nolen said.
This movement to lighter weight software is broader than the typical definitions of Enterprise 2.0 software. It’s about customers wanting easy to use, practical, easy to install (or hosted) software that is far less expensive and that does not entail an arduous, painful purchasing process. It’s should be simple, straightforward and easy to buy. In fact, it’s not about sales in our opinion at Atlassian.
This is why some of us believe that Enterprise 2.0 is not just about social software. It’s about a fundamental shift in the complexity and cost of software.