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Google Apps for Work vs. Microsoft Office 365, a Comparison of cloud tools

While Google apps for Work and Microsoft Office 365 offer many similar business productivity services and choosing between the two can be confusing for CTOs. But This comparison between office 365 & Google Apps for Work eases that burden.

CTOs and IT managers may have different choices when it comes to cloud-based business productivity tools for email, documents, calendar and file-sharing. And the first two options that come to mind are Google Apps for Work and Office 365 cloud solutions by microsoft.

Google Apps suite offers Gmail, Hangouts, Drive and Calendar, Sheets while the latter comes Microsoft Office apps, such as Word, Excel, Skype for business, Outlook and PowerPoint. Both the options have unique strengths and weaknesses, and each is best-suited for specific types of businesses and users.

Google Apps for Work Pricing Vs. Office 365 Pricing

Google apps for work starts at Rs. 1500 per user per year while Office 365 starts at Rs. 2700 per user per year. Microsoft requires a full-year commitment for its enterprise plans, while Google apps for work business suite is available on a month-to-month basis.

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Google Apps for Work : Rs. 1200 per user per year

Microsoft Office 365 : Rs. 2350 per user per year

Space Comparison

Every Office 365 user gets 1TB of cloud storage, while Google apps for work basic plan provides considerably less space which is 30GB of online storage per user. However, Google provides unlimited storage for accounts with at least five users on its $10 per month or $120 per year (plus tax) plans.

Google also gets high preference for its simplicity and easy to use UI, because it offers two relatively straightforward plans.

Microsoft offers six total plans making it bit more confusing : three for small and medium-size businesses and three for large enterprises that range in price from $5 to $20 per month, with a yearly commitment.

Pricing is an important determining factor, but equally important for CTOs are the feature sets, security and user experiences of both the cloud platforms. The ideal cloud-based business productivity platform is secure, stable and simple for employees to learn and use. Cost is one of the many concerns IT managers must consider when investing in cloud-based business productivity platforms.

Eric Schlissel, CEO of IT consultancy GeekTek IT Services, says his company uses Google apps for Work, but more often than not he recommends Office 365 cloud solutions to clients because they are already heavily dependent and invested in Microsoft Outlook. Many business owners are reluctant to change the way their offices work.

“We tend to recommend Google apps for Work to clients with a younger and more tech-savvy workforce,” Schlissel says. “CIOs should look at how their employees use technology and work outwards from there.”

According to CIO Shawn Wiora, at Creative Solutions in Healthcare, a company that owns and operates assisted-living facilities, the IT department uses Google apps for Work while the rest of the company relies on Microsoft Office 365.

“In many ways, Google apps for Work is a low-cost equivalent of Office 365 by Microsoft, and it’s a great fit for startups and small businesses that need to limit costs while achieving ‘good enough’ status,” Wiora says. “However, the cost savings come with a number of nuances that limit its fit for enterprise customers.”

Wiora says there are at least four problems with Google apps for Work that can add up to a major burden for businesses. He cites “shared calendar issues, an inability to transfer Excel formulas directly into Google Spreadsheets, compatibility issues and vertical-specific decisions like Google’s past refusal to sign a HIPAA BAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Business Associate] agreement for the healthcare industry.” Google removed the barrier for organizations that need to comply with HIPAA in late 2013.

In Wiora’s experience, Google apps for work suite keeps up with Office 365 by Microsoft about 90 percent of the time. It’s that other 10 percent that “makes Google apps for Work a poor substitute for medium and large enterprises that expect to simply pick up in Google where they leave off with Microsoft.”

BetterCloud, a company that provides security and management services for Google Apps for work and Office 365, also uses both Google and Microsoft’s cloud solutions offers, according to Tim Burke, BetterCloud’s IT director.

The company primarily uses Google apps for Work as the sole platform for its corporate calendar and conference room reservation system, but it also provides Office 365 cloud suite accounts to users who work on its Microsoft-related products.

“We’ve looked into many solutions for coexistence between the two platforms (especially for calendar and contacts), but there’s nothing mature yet that allows Google Apps for work and Office 365 to ‘play together’ well on a single domain,” Burke says.

Both cloud based productivity platforms are enterprise class, with almost identical offerings, according to Burke, who says Google apps for work is becoming more “enterprise” every day.

“Many people don’t realize Google has been in this market for over six years at this point, and Google Apps for work is used by some of the largest organizations in the world,” Burke says. Google’s strengths also include a deeply integrated infrastructure and a simple licensing structure, he says.

Office 365 by Microsoft provides a continuity with legacy solutions that makes it easier to keep everyone happy with the applications they’ve been using for many years, or perhaps decades, but it’s also evolving. “Office 365 is based on Microsoft’s legacy products and is becoming more ‘cloud-enabled’ and easy to manage,” Burke says.

Google Apps for Work vs. Microsoft Office 365: One size does NOT fit all

Many others familiar with Office 365 and Google apps for Work take a much less neutral stance than Wiora and Burke; both companies have dedicated users and evangelists.

Martin Milanov, a digital marketing specialist at Fair Point, a corporate travel management firm based in Germany, writes that he “will scream to the ends of hell if they take away my Excel and make me use the, let’s face it, subpar Excel wannabe that is Google Sheets.” 

Kristin Bassett, corporate marketing manager at AppNeta, an application performance management provider, says her company recently switched from Microsoft cloud solutions to Google apps for work to get all employees on the same email system. The firm chose to migrate its entire staff to Google apps for Work because it preferred Gmail to Outlook and considered email its highest-priority tool.

Many of the engineers working for AppNeta had requested corporate access to Gmail, according to Bassett, and the switch improved the company’s ability to hire and retain engineers, who are core to its business.

Regardless of platform, it’s about preparation

Both Burke and Wiora encourage CIOs to gain a deep understanding of their users’ needs and company goals before deciding on Google apps for Work or Office 365.

“We’ve worked with thousands of customers across both platforms, and the most successful deployments involved a highly democratic approach where they set up small pilot groups, talked to managers in different departments, discussed pros and cons for both platforms, and generally took the time to make sure they were making the best decision for their users and not for their IT department or existing infrastructure,” says Burke.

For some CTOs, a hybrid approach will work best, according to Wiora. However, using both platforms can also lead to more work and potential problems for IT. “Each new service increases complexity for end users exponentially rather than linearly, so reducing confusion from having information in so many places will be critical for anyone using a hybrid approach,” says Wiora.

Above all, CTOs shouldn’t delay the necessary research and piloting, and they should try to make a decision as quickly as possible, according to Burke. “Whether your organization chooses Google Apps for work or Office 365, you’re getting a cloud office platform that’s going to fundamentally change the way your business operates if it’s correctly implemented and thoroughly adopted,” he says.

Source : cio.com

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