Atlassian Confluence, makers of one of the most popular enterprise wiki solutions, has just announced Microsoft Office and SharePoint integration in their latest release, Confluence 2.9. With these new tools, users no longer have to know the technicalities of wiki markup or even how to use the included rich-text WYSIWYG editor in order to make changes to the wiki - they can simply open up a Microsoft Office document instead.
Also, with the addition of the SharePoint connector, Microsoft's well-known collaboration and document sharing platform gets a big dose of Enterprise 2.0 goodness, which is sure to please the end users. However, Confluence makes I.T. happy too, thanks to their inclusion of tools - like LDAP integration and administratively controlled permissions - that are designed just for the needs of the enterprise.
The Confluence Office Connector provides seamless integration between their enterprise wiki and Microsoft Office. Users can now edit the wiki in Microsoft Word...and even Microsoft Excel or PowerPoint, too. The experience for the end user is intuitive; they simply open a document, make a change, and click "Save" just like they already know how to do. There's no big learning curve here which means users are more likely to adopt the technology instead of relying on their old methods of managing and sharing files. And since those older methods are likely to have been either via network file shares or as inbox-clogging emails, the Confluence solution can help I.T. transition everyone to SharePoint while also helping in the fight against email overload.
With the Connector deployed within Team Sites, wiki editing is finally easy and that alone make it a vast improvement upon the wiki that's provided with SharePoint out of the box.
Originally released in beta form to a limited number of testers back in 2007, today Confluence's SharePoint Connector is officially available to everyone. Although the company offers a hosted solution as well, most I.T. departments are more likely to integrate the Confluence deployable software with SharePoint server instead (or other systems via the API) to build upon the solutions they already use in house.
The companies that have already adopted Confluence include several big names that you're sure to have heard of: Bank of America, Sun, Adobe, Cisco, IBM, SAP, Intel, Seagate, E*Trade, Citigroup, Microsoft, EMC - the list goes on and on, a veritable "who's who" of the world's top enterprises. In total, there are over 6000 enterprises currently using Confluence today, yet the pricing still makes it easy enough for even smaller companies to consider the software, with solutions that begin at $1200 for 25 users (or $600 for academic institutions.)
To learn more about the new Office Connector and see it action, check out this video from Atlassian: