Atlassian Rolls Out Decisions Blueprint for ConfluenceAtlassian is set to release its latest Confluence tool called Decisions Blueprint, a sort of template for allowing online collaborators to track and record how critical decisions are made.

Blueprinting Common Practices

Earlier this year, Atlassian rolled out its Blueprint tool as a way to help customers kick start their Confluence apps. Blueprints are more or less templates for some of the most common ways customers use Confluence. Using the Blueprints, customers can implement their workflows for things like task or product management, and running meetings.

The Blueprint Confluence Add ons can be customized for each use case, and they're to be found in the Atlassian Marketplace. The Decisions Blueprint will officially launch July 16, and it's a way to build repeatable processes for defining, discussing and recording how decisions are made. Considering so many decisions are made via time wasting email threads and meetings, Confluence users might be able to cut down on some of that circling back and rehashing previous discussions.

Decisions allows customers to pick who is involved in the decision making process, and give them a shared space for discussing the issue. It also allows for a time to be set for when the decision is to be made, and a way to record the decision so it can easily be looked up when needed.

Deciding on Collaboration

When it comes to online collaboration, there is now a mountain of tools in the space, and Confluence is one of those tools. It's obviously very extendable, and being that the current release is version 5, it's got a long record of use and stability.

Confluence has a cloud based version, and a downloadable version, where tools like Yammer, for example, are only based in the cloud. Pricing is quite different for each version, as the use cases would also vary depending on how it was deployed.

Given that Atlassian tools are often used in software development, the system's ease of use might be an issue for those curious about how it stacks up to other tools collaboration tools like SocialCast, Yammer or Chatter. Of course, cost is also an issue for some of those same tools (Salesforce, for example), so budget and intended audience are clearly important to consider.

As if those factors didn't make it hard enough to choose a collaboration platform, Forrester has now given us a category of Social Depth tools. These social platforms, activity streams, collaboration networks, however we want to describe them, are more outward facing, as in a community page. They could be in the form of an FAQ or dedicated forum where customers go and talk about a product or service. Many of the vendors in this space are very specialized, but Jive Software is one of the companies that made the Forrester Wave for Social Depth Platforms, and it also can be built for more internal usage.

That's just one example, and Jive is a fairly large organization, but we can see more companies branching out in either direction, with the Lithiums and Telligents perhaps beginning to focus more on internal groups, and the Yammers and even a Confluence maybe adding those community aspects to their offerings.

Plenty of Web content management vendors already offer either community or collaboration tools or both, so perhaps that isn't very far fetched at all.