UMassOnline Positions Confluence for Future Growth with Single Sign On

Filed in Efficiency, Featured by on September 16, 2015


UMassOnline in partnership with UITS recently rolled out single sign-on for Atlassian Confluence.  Atlassian Confluence is a very robust wiki that enables the creation and organization of content in a simple, easy to manipulate fashion. That being said, there was a bit of setup around getting all the right information ported into Confluence.

Confluence was being used by a single department (UMassOnline) as a way to gather, store and share information amongst the campus community and stakeholders. Over time, the application amassed a solid user base, with about 400 local users (campus and President’s Office) who all enjoyed using the technology.

UITS recently joined the Confluence user group, partnering with UMOL to roll out a Confluence Space to UITS’s 100+ employees.

“We had disparate information posted on various platforms, from the Ops Calendar built on SharePoint to our Annual Performance Process posted on a previous intranet. We were looking for a solution that was flexible and quick to build – Confluence ended up meeting our overall business needs. We had the Space up in less than two weeks,” stated Kristina England of the UITS Strategy, Research, and Communications team.

In addition, two UITS teams created cross-campus confluence spaces – Document Imaging and Identity Access Management. Both teams wanted campus users to have easy and efficient access to Confluence. The Strategy, Research, and Communications team also decided that integrated access would improve the overall rollout of the UITS space and the eventual rollout of confluence to other offices.

That is where the single sign on story begins. With the use cases that were presented, it was determined that Confluence was a great fit that met and exceeded the needs of the organization.

Following the initial discussions, it was determined that the very first step of the Project Plan would be to start with federating Confluence. This would allow users to use their AD credentials, enter through Secure Access, and be able to be in all of the Groups that have already been established by the Presidents Office, to make user management much easier.

Thankfully, configuring Confluence for this setup was incredibly simple. We were able to utilize free and open source plugins (SAML 2.0 for Confluence) that enabled the setup. UMOL and the IAM Team began their configuration and testing. After a successful import of all users and groups into the test environment, the date for Production was planned.

Kevin O’Brien, Jim Barbieri and Bryan Moss worked for a few hours validating that the filters for user input were just right, while the SRC Team (Kristina England and Tracy Axelson) validated functionality and ease of access.

Over the time frame of just a few weeks, Confluence was ready to be rolled out to everyone.

Confluence, like most shadow IT, started as a grassroots movement within UMassOnline and snowballed into a largely used application for knowledge management and team collaboration. Now when a user asks “where is that process?” the answer is “It’s in Confluence!”

For more information about the Confluence Single Sign On Project, contact me at

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