Are you unable to decide if you need Confluence or Notion? This Confluence vs. Notion guide will help you make an informed decision right now!
The digital working ecosystem depends more on productivity software and service (SaaS) tools. Whether you develop apps, marketing content, consumer products, or digital services, you must plan projects, brainstorm designs and content, and store those securely online so project members can access them seamlessly.
But choosing one for the upcoming project takes hundreds of hours of research and trial on these tools. You do not want to switch the content and work management software in the middle of a project, failing to hit the deadline. Therefore, I am helping you to decide smartly whether you need Confluence or Notion for your business by comparing Confluence and Notion head-to-head below.
What Is Confluence?
Confluence, by Atlassian, is a collaborative and knowledge management cloud app. It is the home of all your business wikis, content, brainstorming sessions, product design sketches, etc.
People within and external to your business can use Confluence seamlessly to collaborate on ideas, create a draft of product design or content outline, and get approval from managers.
It could be a real challenge if your office assistant needs to rush to the archives and retrieve a folder of documents and wireframes from a past project. It would waste hours, if not days. Confluence helps you to avoid such painstaking content archival and retrieving processes by digitizing the whole process.
Using Spaces, Page Trees, and Pages, you can store thousands of documents, plans, standard operating procedures (SOPs), etc., online. Retrieve them as you need with the click of a button. Not to mention, Confluence makes remote and hybrid teamwork secure by offering role-based access to content and project resources.
Uses of Confluence in Businesses
Find below various uses of Confluence in any business, whether it is online or offline:
Documentation is among the most common uses of Confluence. Most businesses use it to create Driver, Approver, Contributor, and Informed (DACI) documentation content for decision-making, change management, business operations SOP, business continuity SOP, etc.
When businesses need to create a strategy for the upcoming investor aggregation, IPO launch, product launch, marketing, sales, or HR recruitment, they use Confluence.
Content publishing is another major use of Confluence. Online and offline publishers use Confluence to create content strategy documents. It becomes easier to update the strategy document quarterly or biannually or make ad hoc changes when the market shows sharp changes in the publishing industry. All shared users automatically get access to the latest changes.
Creative professionals also use Confluence as a collaborative brainstorming tool.
You can also use it for product, service, mobile app, website, and software design by integrating it with inVision, Atlassian Team, Figma, and more.
Businesses create team workspaces to give teams access to confidential documents, designs, discussions, and policies in a secure online space where every click and change they can audit.
How Does Confluence Work?
Confluence provides you and your teams with a dashboard that contains a comprehensive overview of tasks, organizational updates, Spaces activities, and more. Atlassian has incorporated the following interfaces into this content and knowledge management tool:
Your name and Space
“Pick up where you left off” feature for task resumption
“Discover what’s happening” feed displaying popular and followed content
Spaces encompassing all workspaces and pages created or shared with you
Confluence’s Spaces is the central hub for all activities within a project, team, department, or organization. A small business may have a single Space, while a multinational entity could have hundreds of Spaces.
Each Space contains multiple Pages. For instance, the preconfigured Project Management Space in Confluence includes pages for the project plan, decision documentation, and status reports.
In contrast to Notion, Confluence does not permit unrestricted access to Spaces, Pages, or Blogs. External collaborators can be invited, but they must sign up for a free or paid Confluence account before they can participate in collaboration efforts.
Benefits of Using Confluence
Confluence enables businesses to effortlessly create online knowledge bases compatible with smartphones, tablets, and computers.
It makes the process of content creation and publishing faster by creating a collaborative editing space, automatic consent to publish, and content confidentiality features.
Utilizing Confluence to create and share business content adds an additional layer of security, preventing unauthorized content duplication and safeguarding against ransomware attacks.
There is a version control feature in place so that you or your team members can go back to the earliest or the latest version of content effortlessly.
IT companies that already use various Atlassian productivity SaaS tools like Jira Software, Jira Service Management, Jira Work Management, etc., prefer Confluence over other content collaboration apps.
What Is Notion?
Notion is a workspace productivity tool for personal, professional, and business purposes. It combines project management, note-taking, and knowledge management functionalities in one cloud app. So, your employees, contractors, and vendors need not use different apps for different tasks.
If your business or gig needs to create databases, content pages, shareable sites for professional work, etc., Notion got you covered. Using hundreds of fields offered by Notion, you can create a web page or app that has all the custom points you need.
For example, Gantt charts, Tables, Galleries, Timelines, Names, Product Specs, Formulas, Phones, Emails, and so many more are left for you to explore in Notion Pages.
Uses of Notion in Businesses
Here are the primary uses of Notion for any commercial entities:
You can create interactive documents instead of traditional documents using the Meeting Notes database of Notion. It can accommodate document properties like Created by, Attendees, Type, Agenda, Action Items, Last Edited Date, a separate note-taking section for personal opinions, and more.
You can add various kinds of views in your Notion database to convert it into a project management page. Views you can use in the app are Table, Timeline, Gallery, List, Kanban, Calendar, etc.
If you own many projects, you can create different team spaces for each project and view all of these side-by-side on your Notion home page.
Its latest addition is Notion AI, a generative AI model that can create slideshows, content, SOPs, databases, tables, and business ideas.
How Does Notion Work?
Under the hood, Notion is a robust relational database app. Where traditional databases only allow you to make queries and retrieve one or many data, Notion enables you to create stories out of databases. When you create multiple pages on Notion, you can link these pages to tell the story you want them to.
The primary element of Notion is Pages. A New Page comes with the following standard customizations:
Title (Icon, Cover, and Comment)
Start writing with Notion AI
Add new content blocks like
If you want to create unique experiences for employees and clients, you can start from an empty page. On an empty page, you can add many blocks, and some of them are as below:
Linked view of databases
Table of content
Above Pages, there are Workspaces (for the entire business) and Teamspace (for individual projects or teams). An advantage of Notion over Confluence is you can publish your wiki or journal online, and anyone on the internet can view the published content without signing up for Notion.
Benefits of Using Notion
Anyone can start building Pages and sites on Notion.
Notion pages are viewable using web browsers without installing or subscribing to Notion.
You can enjoy the benefits of the relational database on Notion.
Notion offers extensive page view types like timeline, table, list, gallery, etc.
Its document creation module lets you add 100+ blocks to insert custom content.
Its UI is easy to navigate A dashboard-like view on the Overview page
Easy access to Recent Pages, Spaces, Templates, etc., on the top panel
A sidebar for all Teamspaces and Pages. No dashboard; must develop manually An Import button to get content or projects from third-party sources The UI is a bit complex at the first sight
Virtually no learning curve
Extensive if you want to use all of its features than simple Pages
File upload and cloud storage allowances
2 GB to unlimited and varies with the subscription
5 MB to unlimited, according to the subscription you choose
Real-time editing by collaborators
More than 100 for many business use cases
Limited templates Up to 65 were made by Notion. Must rely on third-party paid or unpaid Notion templates
Built-in with apps and integrations
Must develop manually or buy Notion templates that offer workflow automation
Free integration with third-party whiteboard apps like Miro, inVision, Mural, etc.
Only view mode for online whiteboards like MiroNo real-time collaboration
Version and page history
Unlimited for all tiers
7 days for Free, 30 days for Plus 90 days for Business Unlimited for Enterprise
Integration with Atlassian apps
Compatible with all Atlassian apps
Limited support for Atlassian apps
Dedicated Home page to resume work
No Home page Must search unfinished Pages manually
More than 100 Top integrations: Gliffy, Markdown, MacroSuite, Scaffolding, LaTeX Math, HTML for Confluence, etc.
Up to 60 apps. Top integrations are Figma, Slack, GitHub, etc.
Service level agreement (SLA)
99.9% uptime SLA for Premium and above plans
No standard SLA declared by Notion Custom SLA offered by the sales team for large businesses
Real-World Applications of Confluence
Create Software How-To Articles
Businesses either developing apps and websites or physical consumer goods use Confluence to create how-to articles. Such a Page on Confluence provides step-by-step guidance for using a product or software. Here, you often add two separate titles: one for the Instructions and the other for Related Content. It also lets you import How-to content from Word, Docs, etc.
Many creative agencies and business teams also use Confluence to generate ideas and validate great ideas in a collaborative approach. By linking Confluence with Mural, you can bring in the Mural whiteboard directly on a Confluence Page. Thus, the collaborators and developers will have direct access to the initial ideas and contexts to develop successful designs or products.
HR Knowledge Base Management
If you want to create an affordable HR management portal, use this template from Confluence for free. An HR portal with different views for HRs and employees could cost you thousands of dollars.
Contrarily, Confluence offers you this for free. The template comes with extensive HR management content fields like Leave/Time Off, Health and Wellness, Employee referral policy, 401K program, etc.
Real-World Applications of Notion
Many smart businesses use Notion to plan, host, and close meetings. On a meeting page, you can add useful buttons for quick information on meeting organizers, attendees, types of meetings, and calendar events.
Such pages also include other database items like getting started with meetings, Design sync, Sprint planning, Design standup, etc. Using the Table view for a meeting; you can quickly convert the notes into segmented data for Ideation, Standup, Training, etc.
Creating a Docs site is the most efficient use case of Notion. Businesses aggregate all of their confidential and non-confidential documents in one place on Notion. For this purpose, you can get started with the Docs template of Notion.
It contains standard documents on the Recently edited page like Tech Spec, product requirements document (PRD), Brainstorm, etc. You can further filter the docs using a Table by Category for better understanding.
Confluence Vs. Notion: The Verdict
If you are looking for automation, page reporting, analytics, intuitive real-time collaboration, and affordability, you should select Confluence over Notion.
Notion is not suitable when:
You need extensive workflow automation
The business relies on various Atlassian apps
Modern wiki, knowledge base, and document editing features
Robust version control
Complex role-based access to one Confluence Page to different parties like clients, vendors, and internal employees
Built-in and advanced reporting and analytics
From the pricing perspective as well, Confluence is a better choice. Its Free subscription is good for a small business of up to 10 employees. Comes with unlimited Pages, Spaces, and app integrations. Not to mention, 2 GB of free space for file uploading. Whereas the Free plan of Notion comes with very limited services and is only suitable for an individual.
If you upgrade and scale up your Confluence subscription, the Premium plan would only cost $110 for 10 users per month compared to $180 for the Notion Business plan. Confluence Premium offers Unlimited storage, Analytics, User permissions, IP allows listing, and more.
Tamal is a freelance writer at Geekflare. After completing his MS in Science, he joined reputed IT consultancy companies to acquire hands-on knowledge of IT technologies and business management. Now, he’s a professional freelance content… read more
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