Atlassian Confluence Cloud in 2023 - Should we rely on it? Or rather in Notion, Quip or Basecamp?

Alen Kipp requested my answer on Quora: Why should companies prefer confluence software for business in 2022?

State of Atlassian Confluence in 2023

This is a good opportunity to create a wrap-up for our customers of the state of Atlassian Confluence, in my view, in comparison to alternatives in the market. As a short disclaimer: please keep in mind that I am running a software company that is creating and selling add-on products (apps) for Atlassian core products and also one of the biggest providers of services and resellers of software licenses from the Atlassian marketplace. It’s safe to assume that my view is biased. I will try my very best to give you a reasonable picture. Let’s assume you’re a good friend of mine, and I have no particular interest in swaying you or selling you anything. You know that I am that Atlassian guy. But you also trust me to give you an honest and helpful opinion of the strengths and weaknesses of the ecosystem. So, here we go:

Management summary: On-premise? Best option. Cloud? More difficult to answer. Bright future.

If you’re searching for software to install on your own servers (called “on-premises”) in the industry, Atlassian is second to none. All relevant other players have long abandoned the scene, and Atlassian is the only large player maintaining on-premise deployments. So if your company depends on hosting software themselves, Atlassian is really leading the pack. Stay here.

If your organization is free to choose a hosting option and you can use Cloud software, which should be the case for most smaller organizations, then there are other options. Atlassian is strongly recommended when you’re interested in versatility, lots of different use cases, and a strong and vibrant community of vendors on a marketplace trying to make a difference by providing apps for the core software. Atlassian’s strength has been the attractive ecosystem. And that’s coming true in the Atlassian Cloud again.

Today there are good alternatives with Notion (good UX, versatile) and Basecamp (very affordable), especially for smaller organizations. But in the long run, I am sure that Atlassian has a bright future. And don’t forget. All Atlassian software like Jira, Confluence, Bitbucket, Trello and most of the marketplace apps are completely free for up to 10 users.

The deployments and their future: Cloud (future), Data-Center (good to go), Server (dead)

First off, we need to talk about deployments when you’re looking into a good answer more deeply. And I admit that this is technical. But to really understand my answer, it’s crucial to decipher between on-premises (software you install in your own environment) and cloud (software hosted by the creator) like the Atlassian Cloud. Atlassian offers both.

Server dies. Data Center is here to stay (for a significant while)

Atlassian will discontinue its server deployment in February 2024 (Link einfügen). But customers can run on the Data Center deployment option and stay on-premises if they prefer to. On-premises are a must-have for some very large and security-sensitive organizations. Atlassian will serve those customers for a long time. But this deployment option is focused on scalability and enterprise-grade security for the years to come and the last years as well.

While it’s sad to hear that Atlassian is no longer innovating in the “hosted software” area, the truth is that they don’t have to. Big players like Microsoft have long abandoned the area and fully focus on cloud computing. Google has never really offered server-based software at all. The whole industry moved “into the cloud” years ago. And most customers did as well. So having Atlassian serve “on-premises” with an enterprise-ready solution is a reasonable upside. I assume that this will be around for quite some time. And that notion is coherent with Atlassian’s own messaging.

Atlassian Cloud is where innovation happens, and the customers go.

If you’re already hooked on Atlassian software, and more than 200,000 customers are. Atlassian Cloud is the way to go. That’s where Atlassian has been investing for years now. That’s where all innovation takes place. That’s where app creators like ourselves invest their product research and development time. That’s where droves of customers are migrating from on-premises every day.

So if you are already convinced that Atlassian is your choice, the recommendation is to look at Cloud if you plan the future.

Atlassian Cloud in comparison to other cloud offerings: Notion, Quip, Basecamp, …

Atlassian has become a huge provider. So it’s not surprising that you hear of “Confluence”-killers here and there. Especially as a strong supporter of the software, I am often confronted by friends and partners with competing solutions. Notion is cool because it has an incredible UX, and a lot of small teams and startups rave about it. Quip is a Salesforce Confluence competitor. Basecamp is an all-in-one suite (probably less of a Confluence competitor alone).

But: I have never heard international or our German customers really consider any of these solutions. That obviously does not mean that they are unlikely to kill Confluence. I just cannot see it.

I think it’s safe to bet on Atlassian Confluence Cloud in 2023.