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5 SharePoint Alternatives and Competitors

Ronan McQuillan
18 min read · May 8, 2024

SharePoint is the backbone of countless organizations. It’s really the go-to platform for businesses that want to enhance productivity, drive collaboration, and centralize resources.

In fact, huge numbers of custom solutions and internal tools are built on top of SharePoint deployments with a little bit of configuration and customization around the edges.

But this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right solution in all cases. Far from it.

Today, we’re diving deep into the market for SharePoint alternatives.

However, this is a bigger question than it might originally appear. See, SharePoint is a tool that’s used for a pretty broad range of tasks and processes.

Therefore, we can consider a few distinct classes of solutions to be SharePoint competitors.

To make an effective decision, we’ll need to have a realistic grasp of where each of our options sits within the market.

We’re going to cover:

  • What is SharePoint?
  • Who uses SharePoint?
  • Why would you need a SharePoint alternative?
  • 5 SharePoint alternatives
  • SharePoint vs. Budibase
  • How to choose a SharePoint alternative

Let’s jump right in.

What is SharePoint?

Microsoft SharePoint is a platform that enables companies to build custom portals and intranet sites, largely - although not exclusively - aimed at internal users.

The idea is to provide a single point of access for documents, information, communications, workflows, and other resources.

In other words, the core problem that SharePoint solves is empowering teams to access key data and services in an efficient, centralized manner.

This is built around a customizable CMS platform.

But SharePoint can actually refer to two distinct solutions:

  • SharePoint in Microsoft 365 - a cloud-based solution for building sites to serve resources to customers, colleagues, and stakeholders.
  • SharePoint Server - a self-hostable enterprise version of SharePoint with advanced capabilities, particularly around workflow automation.

In both cases, SharePoint is particularly popular for building company portals, intranet sites, microservices, directories, file-sharing systems, internal social media, scheduling tools, request management solutions, or even whole ecosystems of internal tools.

The main value is that SharePoint offers huge configurability and scope for customization - making it an ideal platform for building custom solutions that map to existing processes, workflows, and business rules.

Who uses SharePoint?

SharePoint is relied on by countless teams of all shapes and sizes to handle internal services and resources.

In fact, in many ways, it’s really the default option for these kinds of use cases.

However, that’s not to say that it’s the ideal choice for every team. Rather, there are a few broad trends that we can outline here.

Although it casts a wide net, SharePoint is generally most suited to larger teams. One element of this is the kinds of solutions we can build. For instance, the larger an organization is, the more likely we are to need custom file-sharing or intranet tools.

SharePoint also tends to be more suited to organizations with a high degree of centralization and control around their processes - with less focus on enabling on-the-ground or departmental colleagues to ship solutions for their own needs.

Related to this, it’s important to consider the types of users that typically configure and manage SharePoint deployments. For basic SharePoint sites within Microsoft 365, this can be achieved without custom code, although in most organizations, it’s still the IT team that is responsible.

For more advanced use cases, though, we might need to rely on specialized SharePoint developers - either within our internal team or from an outsourced partner.

Why would you need a SharePoint alternative?

Next, we can think about some of the key limitations and pain points that might make SharePoint an unviable solution.

One key issue is that it’s highly optimized for teams that are already embedded in the Microsoft ecosystem. For example, we’re likely to see the best ROI from SharePoint if we’re already using tools like Teams, PowerApps, or Dynamics internally.

Otherwise, it might not be the most cost-effective solution for more granular use cases.

A major part of this is that SharePoint pushes teams towards Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, creating problems if you have hosting needs that don’t square with this.

SharePoint is also positioned as a bit of a Swiss army knife solution for internal collaboration and resource management. While this can be a huge benefit in many cases, it also creates a few key problems.

First of all, for any given use case or task, SharePoint might lack some of the more specific functionality or capabilities that we can achieve with a more focused tool.

For smaller organizations, it’s relatively common to engage an external development contractor just to configure SharePoint to their particular needs - which can create massive additional costs.

Second, configuring SharePoint for specific tasks can be excessively complex compared to platforms that are dedicated to that use case in particular.

Lastly, SharePoint is typically priced as part of the wider Microsoft 365 ecosystem - so we may end up paying for capabilities that are completely redundant if we only need specific functionality.

5 SharePoint alternatives

So, let’s check out what the market for SharePoint alternatives looks like. Before we dive into individual platforms, it’s worth noting that there are a few different categories of tools we may want to consider here.

So, on the one hand, there are direct competitors in the intranet-building space. On the other, there are broader no/low-code platforms that can be used to target many of the same key pain points as SharePoint.

Our picks are:

  1. Budibase
  2. Google Workspace
  3. Outsystems
  4. Confluence
  5. Mendix

1. Budibase

Budibase is the open-source low-code platform that empowers IT teams to turn data into action.

With market-leading external data support, autogenerated UIs, extensive integration options, intuitive automations, optional self-hosting, and more, there’s never been a faster, easier way to ship custom internal tools.

Here’s what makes Budibase tick.

Features

Budibase is the ideal solution for building portals, admin panels, approval apps, forms, dashboards, and all kinds of other internal tools on top of your existing business data.

We offer dedicated connectors for directly querying relational databases, NoSQL tools, APIs, Google Sheets, and more - with Budibase acting as a proxy, querying your data without ever storing it.

Alternatively, you can use BudibaseDB, our low-code database, to quickly create a data model from scratch without writing a single query.

Our interface design tools make building professional UIs a breeze. With autogenerated forms and CRUD interfaces, component-level conditionality rules, custom CSS, front-end JavaScript, and a huge library of components, we can create bespoke app screens in minutes.

Budibase also features an intuitive, flow-based automation builder with a series of configurable, chainable triggers and actions. Initiate automations based on in-app actions, external events, temporal triggers, database operations, and more.

Our platform is also ideal for security-first organizations, with optional self-hosting, free SSO, and much more.

Use cases

Teams in all industries choose Budibase to build a huge variety of internal tools.

In particular, non-developers in IT teams - including systems analysts, data specialists, support engineers, DevOps professionals, solutions architects, and more choose Budibase to ship professional tools without using up internal development resources.

Our platform is ideally suited for all kinds of data management solutions, workflow apps, and internal tools.

Major enterprises use Budibase to save millions of dollars on data entry and other administrative tasks every year.

Pricing

Budibase offers a highly scalable per-seat pricing model, distinguishing between the colleagues who build applications and their end users.

You can build as many applications as you need for free for up to five users in the cloud or twenty users if you self-host. Our Premium plan is billed at $50 per creator per month and $5 for end users.

Uniquely, we provide free SSO for all Budibase users.

You can opt for custom pricing for audit logs, enterprise SLAs, air-gapped deployments, SCIM support, and other premium security features.

Check out our pricing page to learn more.

2. Google Workspace

Next, we have Workspace, Google’s office management ecosystem. In actual fact, this occupies a space somewhere between being a direct competitor with SharePoint and with Microsoft 365 more broadly.

So, in addition to offering flexible file-sharing, collaboration, and document editing, there’s extensive functionality for building data collection forms, app UIs, and internal sites.

Google Workspace

Pros

Workspace is centered around Google Drive, a cloud-based file storage and sharing system. Like SharePoint, we can configure a secure, cloud-based solution for organizing documents, along with more advanced tools for assigning access to individual colleagues.

AppSheet is Google’s no-code platform within the Workspace ecosystem. It provides an easy experience for business users to create custom applications and workflows on top of existing data.

Lastly, Workspace offers an impressive range of enterprise security features, such as data loss prevention, information rights management, trust rules, and more.

Cons

The big problem with Google Workspace is that it’s not a singular competitor to SharePoint. Rather, we need to use a whole combination of its constituent tools in order to achieve the same kinds of functionality.

There’s also quite a bit less flexibility and scope for customization. Whereas in SharePoint we can closely configure interfaces to suit our own internal processes and workflows, this is quite a bit more rigid in Workspace.

On top of this, individual tools within the Workspace ecosystem largely prioritize integration with other Google platforms. This could be problematic if we’re reliant on a competitor for other aspects of our internal operations.

Pricing

Workspace is actually very affordable compared to some of the other tools in its class - especially considering that in addition to the features we’ve seen, you also get email, spreadsheet, and word processing tools.

There are three fixed per-user tiers - Business Starter ($6), Business Standard ($12), and Business Plus ($18), as well as custom enterprise pricing. Each of these offers its own limits on the amount of storage allotted to users.

For our purposes, though, the main differences come down to technical and security features. For example, we’ll need an enterprise license for more advanced security tools like context-aware access or full data region support.

3. Outsystems

OutSystems is a slightly different offering again. Like Budibase, it’s a low-code platform for building internal tools. However, the key difference is that it’s primarily a developer-focused solution.

Compared to SharePoint, it offers a great deal more scope for building advanced solutions for more complex use cases, but with the caveat that this will also require a greater amount of development skills and resources.

Outsystems image

Pros

OutSystems is centered around a visual IDE that seeks to empower internal developers to ship internal tools faster. The key to this is maximizing reusability for common development tasks, like building portals, dashboards, and other simple tools.

OutSystems really shines for customization and extensibility. In particular, there’s a dedicated SDK, enabling teams to add their own components, data sources, modules, and other reusable elements.

There’s also an active community of OutSystems users, providing pre-built extensions and plug-ins via the Forge marketplace.

You might also like our guide comparing OutSystems vs Mendix .

Cons

The big issue with OutSystems is that it requires a comparatively high level of technical skills to create solutions. Even within the low-code space, it’s probably the platform that’s most tailored towards actual development professionals.

Although it’s a great option for building more advanced use cases, it’s worth noting that OutSystems can also make building quite basic solutions somewhat more complex than it would be in SharePoint - where more functionality is available straight out of the box.

Lastly, as we’ll see in a second, OutSystems offers a comparatively complex pricing model, so it can be difficult to understand or predict our recurring costs.

Pricing

Nominally, OutSystems is billed on a per-app basis - with separate single-app, multi-app, and large-app portfolio licenses. We can build a single app for free, but we’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan to push this into production.

To build multiple applications, we’ll need to pay a minimum of $1,513 per month - although this provides access to unlimited users. So, it could be a cost-effective option for larger teams.

However, OutSystems also imposes usage limits based on Application Objects - which can include app screens, API requests, or other key elements of your apps. Pricing information for additional AOs is not published, making overall costs hard to predict.

4. Confluence

Next, we have Confluence. This occupies a slightly different corner of the market from the other tools we’ve seen so far, instead competing with SharePoint primarily as a document-sharing and collaboration tool.

However, it also provides a lot of flexibility in terms of how we organize and present our file structures, making it a great option for creating internal sites, wikis, and knowledge bases.

Confluence

Pros

Confluence’s real selling point is providing an effective information-sharing platform with minimal configuration. Unlike some of the other platforms we’ve seen, we don’t really need any design or development work to roll out a solution.

There’s also a wide range of pre-built team and use case temples, providing non-technical colleagues with a basis for crafting custom configurations.

There are also more advanced capabilities, including document versioning, real-time collaborating, and a huge host of native integrations with external SaaS tools.

Cons

The obvious place where Confluence falls down compared to other SharePoint competitors is its comparatively narrow scope. So, it’s great as a standalone document management platform, but it’s not very useful for much else.

Besides this, there are some common user complaints. One is that search UIs aren’t particularly intuitive, which can make it difficult to find particular documents. Naturally, this is a big issue for a knowledge management platform.

Some users also complain that there are performance issues, especially compared to some of Confluence’s larger competitors. For instance, difficulties with real-time collaboration or syncing changes across devices.

Pricing

Confluence is generally pretty affordable, although this comes with the obvious caveat that it’s intended for a much tighter range of use cases than the other platforms we’ve seen. We can create as many documents and spaces as we want for up to 10 users on the free tier.

Beyond this, we’ll need to pay for a per-user license. The Standard and Premium tiers bill at $6.05 and $11.55, respectively, for small user volumes - although there are major bulk discounts available as we add more seats.

We’ll need to opt for custom pricing in order to access key securing features such as enterprise identity and access management - as well as removing usage restrictions such as automation limits.

5. Mendix

Lastly, we have Mendix. This is another low-code platform in the same vein as Budibase or OutSystems. However, in terms of target user personas, it has more in common with the latter - offering extensive functionality aimed at internal developers within large organizations.

Again, it’s a platform that offers huge power and flexibility to create custom internal tools - but the tradeoff here is that it requires much more of us in terms of both expertise and effort to achieve comparable results to SharePoint.

Mendix image

Pros

One aspect of Mendix that we’re huge fans of is its visual IDE, which combines a drag-and-drop interface for arranging components with a whole host of tools for adding front-end scripting, business logic, and integrations.

Mendix also benefits from a range of tools that make it particularly well suited to enterprise IT functions, including a proprietary SDK, specific SDLC tools, and more.

Like OutSystems, there’s an active community providing support, tips, and extensions - helping to expedite the process of building solutions to common problems using Mendix.

Cons

The big downside here is usability. Really, you need to be a developer to make the most of Mendix, as it’s one of the more code-intensive platforms in the low-code space. For example, we’ll often need custom CSS to perform quite basic design tasks.

Again, another big consideration is that we’ll have to build certain functions from scratch that other SharePoint competitors might offer more or less out of the box. The calculation here is whether this is worthwhile for individual use cases.

Mendix is also a relatively expensive solution, with a pricing model that’s more optimized for larger teams. So, it could be prohibitively expensive for smaller-scale usage.

Pricing

Mendix’s pricing works a bit differently from some of the other tools we’ve seen, distinguishing between single-app and multi-app licenses. The Basic and Standard single-app licenses start at $80 and $500, respectively, plus fees for additional users.

We’ll need to pay a minimum of $2000 per month to create multiple applications, meaning that Mendix is unlikely to be a cost-effective option for achieving similar capabilities to what we could in SharePoint. For instance, an intranet portal.

Additionally, some potentially mission-critical features, such as on-premises deployments, are only available with custom enterprise pricing.

SharePoint vs Budibase

So far, we’ve seen a wide range of platforms for SharePoint alternatives from very different corners of the market.

Next, though, we want to dive deeper into how Budibase and SharePoint stack up against one another.

Of course, there are a wide range of factors that we’ll need to keep abreast of here - around our specific use cases and requirements, as well as the specifics of the platforms themselves.

Here’s how these compare.

Focus and user personas

As we saw earlier, SharePoint casts quite a wide net, but at its core, it’s essentially a customizable CMS platform. So, the primary focus is creating gated portals to provide access to documents, information, and other resources, along with UIs to handle internal processes.

For example, company intranet tools.

It’s relatively easy for business-level users to set up internal websites or team-specific pages within SharePoint’s cloud-based offering. However, for more advanced use cases, we’ll often need to engage more technical teams to configure solutions.

In the most extreme cases, we might actually need specialist SharePoint developers.

Budibase takes a different approach.

Our platform is optimized for busy IT teams that need to output professional applications on top of existing data assets.

In addition to internal and external portals, Budibase is the ideal solution for shipping all manner of CRUD apps, approval tools, forms, admin panels, dashboards, and other internal tools, at a fraction of the cost.

Data operations

Handling external data within SharePoint presents quite a mixed picture. This works differently depending on whether we’re using SharePoint Server or SharePoint within Microsoft 365.

For SharePoint Server, we can manually configure connections to externally stored data using Business Connectivity Services - essentially, a tool for creating connections to data sources outside of SharePoint so that we can pull stored information into our solutions.

We’ll need to create custom connections for most non-Microsoft sources, meaning that the level of development skill required to achieve this will be too high for many users.

However, Business Connectivity Services are a deprecated feature in the cloud-based version of SharePoint, with Microsoft instead advising users that they can use the Power Platform to achieve similar ends.

By contrast, Budibase makes connecting to all sorts of external data a breeze. We offer dedicated connectors for relational databases, NoSQL tools, APIs, Google Sheets, and more - along side a dedicated CLI for creating custom connections.

Interface design and developer experiences

A very simple SharePoint site can be created with minimal development skills using pre-built layouts and a simple visual interface builder. We can simply configure and arrange existing design elements to build custom designs for our intranet screens.

However, things are a bit trickier when it comes to building more interactive or advanced UIs.

This will typically either lead to us requiring more custom development work or embedding functions from other tools in the Microsoft ecosystem - for instance, Teams, Power Automate, or Power Apps.

By contrast, Budibase empowers teams to build advanced UIs and workflow tools straight out of the box. We offer autogenerated layouts for common admin and data management tasks alongside custom conditionality rules, front-end scripting, and more.

How to choose a SharePoint alternative

Now, we’ve covered a lot of information so far, but there’s no escaping the fact that each of the platforms we’ve seen so far is aimed at its own distinct use cases.

So, it’s useful to have a framework for assessing which is most suitable for your own more specific requirements.

Here are some of the key decision points we’ll need to consider.

Budgeting

Of course, the most obvious factor in any software procurement decision is cost. However, this is also a deceptively complex issue in the case of SharePoint alternatives and competitors.

One issue is that we’re not exactly comparing like-with-like. Indeed, each of the tools we’ve looked at focuses on different use cases and market segments.

Besides this, some associated costs are difficult to predict. For example, we might need extensive custom development work to ship a SharePoint solution that could much more easily be created in other platforms.

Scale

We’ll also need to assess each platform against the scale of our expected usage. In particular, there are two kinds of scale that we’ll need to account for.

On the one hand, there’s vertical scale. This includes things like the number of users we’ll have and the amount of data we’ll need to store. So, it’s a relatively simple pricing calculation, although we’ll also need to consider certain features as our use volume grows, like SSO.

Then, there’s the horizontal scale. This is the breadth of the capabilities that are offered by each platform.

So, as we’ve seen, some tools are entirely focused on providing quite a narrow set of features out of the box, while others are built to empower teams to build fully custom solutions.

Open-source vs closed-source

Many enterprises and other security-focused organizations prioritize open-source technology for the ability to thoroughly audit any tools that interact with mission-critical data, infrastructure, or processes.

Although closed-source solutions may not be completely ruled out in these cases, they will nonetheless often bring along additional costs in the form of additional mitigation measures or more comprehensive vetting processes.

Budibase is the only open-source low-code platform we’ve seen today.

Check out our features overview to learn more about turning data into action with Budibase.