Comala Document Management for Confluence & Comala Publishing for Confluence by Appfire

In the bustling spaceport of the Port of Antwerp, where the cosmic flow of freight never ceases, the quest for a knowledge base to unite its 1600 crew members under a single stellar archive became paramount.  

This vast repository needed to be more than just a content storage unit; it must guide the team through software galaxies and instruction manuals with ease.  

The Port set its coordinates for Confluence, bolstered by two supernova apps from Appfire, to manage their document approvals and publishing, creating a universe where knowledge was not just stored but thrived. 

The Galactic Hub: Port of Antwerp 

Serving as a vital nexus in the universe of global supply chains, the Port of Antwerp pulsates with over 238 million tonnes of freight annually. Positioned 80 kilometers inland, its strategic location offers swift and sustainable voyages to the heart of Europe.  

Innovation is the lifeblood of the Port, where smart devices, drones, and blockchain technologies navigate logistical mazes. With a bustling ecosystem of vessels, trains, and trucks, and a workforce of over 143,000 souls, orchestrating harmony among the stars requires a mastery of collaboration that only Confluence could provide. 


Crafting the Knowledge Nebula with Confluence 

The Port of Antwerp, a cosmos teeming with documentation and internal wisdom, found sanctuary in Confluence. Here, manuals and instructions for navigating the tools of their trade—from Microsoft Office to IBM Maximo—had to be translated into languages both Dutch and digestible for the non-technical users.  

This meant that the Port couldn’t rely on documentation created by the software developers but had to write their own instructions. To organize this huge repository, the Port needed a platform that could deliver document creation, storage, and sharing all at once. 

After trying other wiki modules that proved too basic, they settled on Atlassian’s Confluence as their solution in 2013. But what began as a modest assembly of knowledge soon expanded. Its gravitational pull attracted various departments. Within two years, it evolved from a 100-user settlement to a 2000-user civilization, thriving with several hundred pages of shared wisdom. 

Dual Dimensions of Content Creation and Discovery 

The knowledge base exists in two spaces, a draft space used for page creation and editing and a published space that is available to all employees. 

Each software manual within the space has its own parent page, with child pages laying out various sub-topics and instructions. For example, in the manual for Confluence itself, there is a page with instructions on how to create a page and another on how to name a page.  

The team separated these instructions out to make use of one of the other features of Confluence – integration with Jira Service Desk, Atlassian’s customer service platform. The team can then use Jira Service Desk to search the knowledge base and find precise answers to their questions.  

The flexibility of this approach ensures that the knowledge workers can refine and evolve information with ease. 


Managing Content Creation and Distribution 

As Confluence's influence spread, departments were drawn to its light, not just as a content hub but as a command center for managing the very fabric of their work.  

Amidst a universe of pages, the need for a celestial navigation system became evident. They needed a mechanism that ensured only the most current information was available in the Port's content hub.  

The exploration led them to Comala Document Management and Comala Publishing. The former allows users to add customizable review and approval workflows to Confluence, while the latter provides the functionality to easily copy one space to another. 

This cosmic dance of content, from inception through the ether to the annals of approved knowledge, ensured that the Port's wisdom was both guarded and universally accessible. 

Drafting the Future, Publishing the Present 

In the Port’s knowledge base, pages are created in the Draft Space, which is restricted to the small team of knowledge workers. Once a page has been approved, it is copied to the Published Space that is available to the entire company.  

The knowledge base workflow starts when a page is created and sets the page to a ‘draft’ state. Once the page creator has written the document, they have three options: 

  1. Ready for Publication: An intermediate state for the team to ask a subject expert to check the page before it is published. The expert can review the page and then publish it when ready. 
  1. Published: The page can be published right away if no further review is necessary. This automatically copies the document to the Published Space. 
  1. Not to be Published: The team can choose not to publish the page, which keeps it in the Draft Space for internal use. This is used for pages with guidelines for the knowledge workers themselves. 

If a page is edited later on, the latest approved version remains in the Published Space, while the version in the Draft Space returns to the ‘draft’ state, ready for another round of approvals. Finally, the workflow has a 1-year expiry timer, which prompts the team to review each page after a year and make sure it is still up-to-date. 

The Celestial Outcome 

The Port's knowledge base, once a fledgling galaxy, now shines as a hub of managed, accessible, and current information.  

Through the use of Comala Document Management, each page serves as a star, its status and trajectory defined by messages that guide the document through its approval journey—messages that vanish into the ether when the knowledge is shared beyond Confluence's domain. 

With the vastness of the Port of Antwerp's operations mirrored in the depths of their Confluence-powered knowledge base, the Port has crafted a microcosm where information flows freely, yet remains meticulously updated.  

This easy to navigate and ever-expanding knowledge hub ensures that every member of the Port's crew can harness the collective wisdom needed to propel the Port forward.