The movement to the cloud of companies, large and small, has created an increased demand for cloud software platforms. Where Microsoft’s Office 365 seems unwieldy and costly, Google comes in fast and takes a huge chunk from the market with G-Suite (renamed from Google Apps). According to their own report, G-Suite has garnered 3 million paying businesses including some big enterprises such as Netflix, Motorola, NY Times, Target etc. as well as more than 70 million educational users.
Many have already written extensively about the strengths and weaknesses of G-Suite for businesses. Nonlinear Enterprise created a useful, referable decision-making cheat sheet that compares Office 365 and G-Suite and outlines how each platform addresses internal enterprise needs through their various offerings. Petri – the Microsoft advocacy blogging and knowledge website – has published a strategic analysis of the two platforms, finding that G Suite is the superior solution for teams that rely on agility and collaboration. However, as the old adage goes, the decision you make doesn’t matter, it’s what you make of the decision.
One common theme appears from the two aforementioned and well-written pieces: Google’s G-Suite is fast, convenient, and cheap, at the cost of customization and robustness.
1) Superior Collaboration
One remarkable advantage of Google Apps over its Microsoft counterparts lies in its collaborative user interface. Despite having been in the office application business for longer (if not the longest), Microsoft has just recently entered the cloud collaborative space. Many have commented on how superior the G-Suite apps are in terms of collaborative UI/UX compared to Office 365.
For example, when merging changes made by many users simultaneously, Microsoft Word Online is reported to have behaved faultily, whereas Google Docs merges the changes seamlessly, along with communication support via native Google Hangouts. The ability to work on one document in both Microsoft Word online and offline further complicates the problem - the changes are synced in real-time in the online version, but only between minutes in the offline version. That causes many unwanted discrepancies that Google Docs users don’t have to face.
2) Decreased Costs
G-Suite poses many attractive strengths to startups and small-to-medium businesses (SMBs), considering the inherent characteristics of the team with strict financial limits and shorter timelines. In addition, small teams in large corporations can also benefit from using G-Suite on their projects, with less reliance on the gigantic internal infrastructure and more facilitation for collaboration internally and externally.
G-Suite offers a pricing very within reach for many. Plans start at only $5 per user per month for G-Suite “Basic”, whereas for Office 365 “Business Essentials” starts at slightly more, $6 per user per month. The more slightly upgraded G-Suite “Business” costs $10 per user per month, and for Office 365 “Business Essentials”, $20 per user per month. Although pricing comparisons are not always straightforward, these are the most directly comparable options. Opting for G-Suite also means less in-house server maintenance, encompassing personnel, hardware, and non-utilization costs. Estimations show that as much as 80% of server costs can be alleviated when cloud migration is in place. That is not mentioning other hidden costs and benefits, like sustainability and strategic focus.
3) Increased Agility
In addition to cheaper (non-existent) implementation and maintenance costs, , outsourcing infrastructure to the cloud (as is the case when choosing G-Suite over Office 365) will streamline collaboration in your organization and drive efficiencies in many workflows.
The consensus is that G-Suite’s collaborative interface is more intuitive for end-users, whereas Office 365’s is still in its infancy and experimentation period. For remote teams (of which Kloudio is proudly a part), this factor is of utmost importance. Ease of collaboration means faster work output, be it a business pitch, a spreadsheet-based finance analysis, or a press release.The G-Suite applications are accessible everywhere, with great functionality on both iOS and (obviously) Android. Add to that the dominance of Google Search (already integrated into G-Suite) and plans to integrate machine learning into their ecosystem, and enterprises considering the migration have reasons to be even more excited looking into the future.
4) Powerful and Robust Third Party Add-ons
Although not exclusive to Google's ecosystem, G-Suite has an impressive marketplace of thousands of add-ons, some of which have millions of users. These add-ons can synergize with each other as well - for example, you can use Kloudio to automatically pull distribution data into G Sheets from a database and then use a separate third party add-on to perform linear optimization on the data to optimize shipping routes and quantities. The fact that G-Suite is web based means that add-ons can easily integrate with the web as they often come linked with a chrome-extension.
For a few powerful add-ons to start with, check out Bit.com’s list of add-ons for businesses and CoolCatTeacher’s list of add-ons for education institutions.
1) Less Than Perfect Security
Microsoft Office 365 comes with the powerful Active Directory for centralized identity management and Azure, which complements internal infrastructure for backup and data recovery. In these areas, G-Suite is fine but lacking compared to Microsoft's great user controls. Firms using G-Suite will have less control over individual users and monitoring activity - and should an employee leave the company, G-Suite can rescind data access but the nature of the web platform itself is obviously more prone to sketchy behavior compared to traditional desktop based ecosystems. Rest assured though - Google has been making great progress in taking enterprise security and user control seriously.
2) Inconsistent Performance Across Devices
Say what you will about Windows 10, but Microsoft has done a superb job in creating a consistent software ecosystem across a variety of devices with the cloud obviously playing a central role. Office 365 gives a more unified experience across desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. G-Suite tools obviously support all devices, but the experience can be inconsistent across platforms and even across different mobile operating systems.
As the nimble, agile trend continues to spread across all enterprises, G-Suite should be the top solution for firms of all sizes - especially when looking into the future. For now, the perfect complementary to G-Suite are third-party platforms and add-ins, which can expand functionality and also aid in migration from Windows shops. In our next blog post, we will discuss this thoroughly and go over how a business can painlessly and easily migrate data and workflows from their current solution to G-Suite and take advantage of Google's amazing ecosystem.
It is also worthy to note that, despite the differences between G-Suite and Microsoft Office, Kloudio supports both Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets - so that’s one less thing you have to worry about.
If you or your firm has any experience transitioning from a Windows shop to a Google shop (or the other way around) let us know!