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7 Microsoft SharePoint alternatives to consider

While SharePoint offers many capabilities, a business may find that a different CMS or collaboration system better suits its needs. Here are some alternatives to consider.

SharePoint is a content management system, collaboration suite, web application platform and social network. While it is economical and provides much functionality, the biggest challenge is that SharePoint on-premises systems don't easily migrate to SharePoint Online. Customizations often don't work, and many times there are federal compliance issues preventing a full cloud migration.

More than 50 vendors promote platforms that they market as Microsoft SharePoint alternatives, but businesses must first choose which functionality they most rely on, including collaboration, content management and in-house apps.

Here are some of the top Microsoft SharePoint alternatives:

1.   Confluence

A Java-based Atlassian product, Confluence is a collaboration software that includes shared document editing capabilities -- some versions have a comment function -- and syncs content with mobile devices. Confluence's search engine consistently ranks at the top of user reviews and product comparisons. Confluence includes team sites, which are collaboration points for small group project work, with shared calendars, workflow and task management functionality, and is compliant with GDPR, ISO 27001/27018 and VPAT.

Confluence can be more expensive than most SharePoint alternatives, ranging from $100 for up to 10 users to $153,500 for over 10,000 users for an annual Confluence Cloud Standard subscription.

2.   Huddle

Huddle is another collaboration software that features Microsoft Office 365 compatibility and the ability to directly access and edit files without the need to download then reupload them. Users can customize Huddle's workspace by enabling and disabling work tabs, applying themes and adding branding. Huddle features a task monitor that can track progress in real time and it includes versioning capabilities, social collaboration and an intelligent content dashboard that learns user content preferences. Huddle is compliance-friendly, adhering to ISO 27001, FedRAMP and EU Directive 95/46/EC.

Huddle subscriptions can be more expensive than SharePoint alternatives depending on the number of users in a business and how much security they require, among other factors.

3.   Glasscubes

Glasscubes is a strong choice in the team collaboration arena, as it enables remote participation and external partners. Users praise the UI for its clarity, accessible organization and ease of use. Glasscubes includes document management and review functionality, as well as reporting and statistics utility. Its simplicity, however, makes it insufficient for businesses with advanced requirements such as process approval, compliance management and third-party integration.

4.   Google G Suite

The G Suite includes Google's many collaboration and content management tools, including Hangouts, Calendar, Drive, Docs/Sheets and others. It encourages teaming between participants in different locations, increases efficiency and is easy to use. Its security features, however, are minimal, making it a poor choice for companies that handle sensitive information, which may be a disqualifier in businesses where federal compliance is an issue.

5.   Samepage

Samepage is a collaboration platform that emphasizes mobile features and team communication. Team management functionality includes task lists and agendas, file sharing that resembles Dropbox, a Yammer-like chat function and instant messaging. The Samepage UI is simple, with all communications happening on a single page.

There's also an API for expanded, custom functionality, activity tracking, action item tracking, configurable notifications and automated scheduling.

6.   Box

Box is a cloud content management system that includes collaboration features such as document group editing and approval workflows. It also has a project management toolkit that features central workspaces, task lists, project tracking and secure file sharing.

Box has various integrations with Salesforce.com, Microsoft Office and other business applications. Users can share links with other Box users to simplify collaboration. It offers mobile synchronization, security and device management. It is also compliant with ISO 27001/27018, HIPAA/HITECH, GDPR, FINRA and DoD Cloud SRG.

7.   Basecamp

Basecamp offers remote project management, has a user-friendly interface and integrates easily with other business applications. The system's content management features are adequate for most business environments, and file management is drag-and-drop simple. Chat functionality enables users to not only communicate with one another but also engage in discussion about individual documents from the documents themselves. Users can configure collaboration workspaces and can extend access to external partners.

Basecamp is a useful collaboration tool that fosters strong team communication, but does not include time tracking, and is thus not a strong choice for actual project management.

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