Cost explosion with Atlassian Confluence - what is your exit scenario?

Atlassian is tightening the price screw again. What is the best way to stay within your budget and still have a valid solution?

Briefly summarized:

  • Wikis were introduced as a central platform for knowledge management in companies with high expectations and many promises. As is often the case with new technologies, not all wishes can be fulfilled - they follow the "hype cycle" described by Gartner.
  • While the specific use cases were vague at first, it is now clear how wikis are being used in the enterprise, which makes it easier to select alternatives.
  • Atlassian exploits its central position for knowledge management in companies and turns the price screw: time to look for alternatives
  • Liferay DXP is a platform that can address some of these use cases and provides open interfaces.

The introduction of wikis in companies

As a central knowledge platform, wikis promised to make companies more agile and flexible. By storing information simply and centrally, all employees should be able to work together on content. Complicated and expensive content management systems were to become obsolete - simplicity and openness were now paramount. Wikis were the cornerstone for promoting an open communication culture.

In 2003, the Australian company Atlassian launched Confluence, the enterprise wiki that is still the market leader today. The goal was to meet the needs of an enterprise knowledge management system without losing its underlying simplicity. Confluence has largely delivered on that promise, with numerous enhancements and ongoing development: Confluence can be found in almost every organization today.

"Knowledge for everyone" was the promise: By centrally storing important company information, it is directly accessible to all employees - and thanks to its quick retrieval, it is also optimally used. In addition, wikis are much more cost-effective than other systems such as content or document management systems.

But how well do these promises hold up in practice?

Like any technology, wikis have gone through the Gartner Hype Cycle. It begins with exaggerated expectations, which inevitably lead to disappointment. Over time, the technology comes into its own and can be used productively.

Of course, wikis are not perfect. Sometimes it is cultural resistance that prevents employees from using the systems. In the beginning, everyone is enthusiastic and creates a lot of content, but over time their energy wanes. As a result, information becomes outdated and inaccurate - quality is lost. A lack of editorial processes leads to uncontrolled growth and duplication, which even the search function cannot tame. Users are inundated with information - and lose control.

Atlassian raises prices: Time for Alternatives

Now it's getting really expensive. Atlassian is taking advantage of its market dominance to raise its prices. Many companies are now faced with the question: pay more or invest the money in finding alternatives?

The answer has to be nuanced. The content in Confluence has grown over the years and specific use cases have emerged. Because of the diversity of the platform, there are also a wide variety of use cases that vary by geography.

So what's the best approach? To gain a holistic understanding, we recommend examining the use cases for each space: Is it primarily about providing information, such as creating work instructions with an editorial team? Or is the focus on collaboration/project documentation, i.e. the workspace for a project team?

It is also recommended to verify that each room is up to date and to prioritize the list of rooms. A criteria catalog can then be used to create a decision matrix that describes replacement scenarios for each room.

This can then be used to determine the possible target platforms. Wiki solutions (e.g. Sharepoint) or content-based systems can be used. As a long-time Liferay partner, we see Liferay DXP as a target platform that you should definitely consider.

The following table can be used as a template


Find alternative solution for space  Optimal for replacement with Liferay
Frequency of updates Highly interactive & collaborative Editorial
Access Control All employees have shared access (write and read) Notwendigkeit für differenzierte Zugriffsrechte
(z. B. vertrauliche Informationen)
Reading and Writing Collaborative: Everyone can read and write Editorial: Defined editorial teams
Collaboration Collaborative editing and commenting of content by multiple users required Individual authors create content independently of others
Structured organization Free form of content organization is sufficient Need for clear structuring of content (e.g. categories, subcategories)
Support for multimedia content Few requirements for the integration of images, videos, etc. Visual content is part of the information

Looking for a Confluence alternative?

Why do we recommend Liferay as a replacement for Confluence?

In our experience, "real" wiki functionality is not the main focus in many situations. What is needed is a flexible and extensible content management system with important additional features:

  • Permissions for individual viewing and editing of content
  • Sites for topic-specific, access-restricted areas
  • Editorial workflows for approval, scheduled publication, and review of content
  • Structured content and document management with integrated preview, e.g. of PDF files or images, and metadata management
  • Comprehensive faceted search.

Liferay DXP is an integrated platform for collaboration, content management, and enterprise portals. It allows organizations to seamlessly integrate additional functionality. This creates a comprehensive and consistent solution for the entire enterprise.

The scalability of Liferay DXP allows organizations to keep pace with their growth. Organizations get a stable platform that can grow with their changing needs.


USU Digital Consulting

Implement individual digitalization projects more quickly. With consulting, development, operation and support from USU.
Get more information


Atlassian Confluence is the leading wiki used by organizations around the world. However, due to the rising costs, it is worth looking at alternatives. Depending on the use case, the Digital Experience Platform (DXP) Liferay is a possible target platform because it optimally combines editorial processes with rights and role management and is also ideally suited for other requirements thanks to its many standard functions.

USU is a long-standing partner of Liferay and was awarded Partner of the Year (EMEA) in February 2024. We are happy to support you with the analysis and design of your requirements, technical implementation and data migration. 


Share article:

More interesting articles