In this guest post, Style Factory’s Chris Singleton looks at the pros and cons of using Google Apps vs Office 365.
“Which is better, Google Apps or Office 365?” is a question that many business owners, particularly those embarking on a startup adventure, will inevitably find themselves asking. The reason for this is pretty simple: these two productivity suites - which provide users with document, spreadsheet and presentation creators amongst other features - are really the only serious cloud-based options available. Yes, you could think about iWork too - but if you work on non-Apple devices, it’s not ideal; you could also consider Open Office, but we’re yet to see an official cloud-based version of that yet. For most business owners it nearly always boils down to Google Apps or Microsoft Office 365, and in this post we’re going to try to sum up why you might choose one over the other.
Why you might pick Google Apps for Work over Office 365
File storage: at just $10 per user per month, Google’s Unlimited plan is better value data-wise than most of the Microsoft plans, giving you an unlimited amount of cloud storage to play with.
- It’s extremely scalable - there aren’t any limits on the number of users you can add, regardless of what plan you’re on (by contrast, the more affordable Office ‘Business’ plans cap the number of your users at 300).
- Google Apps was built as collaboration-focused solution, and as such its collaboration features are arguably stronger.
- You can have more people on a video conference call (25 to Office 365’s 10).
- eDiscovery, site building tools, email archiving and legal holds on inboxes are available for a much lower cost with Google Apps.
- The Google Apps interface is clean and the apps load fast (certainly faster than Microsoft Office desktop equivalents).
- It’s a good solution for businesses where multiple devices and operating systems are used - as long as you’ve got a web browser (and if you don’t, you shouldn’t really be reading this article!) you’ll be fine, regardless of what platform you’re using.
- There are a large number of third party web applications which integrate with Google Apps and significantly enhance its functionality.
- The fact that absolutely everything is cloud-based may encourage users to use the cloud more, with all the collaboration-related benefits this brings.
- You can edit MS Office documents with Google Apps (but you should note that this really only applies to basic edits made to simple documents).
Why you might pick Office 365 over Google Apps for Work
- Most Office 365 plans come with full desktop versions of the MS Office applications, making the product a bit of a no-brainer for any organisation that relies on being able to open and edit MS Office files (or serves clients that do).
- The file storage and email storage quotas on the Office 365 entry level plan are much more generous than those provided by the Google Apps entry level plan (but as mentioned above, the Google Apps Unlimited plan wipes the floor with all MS Office plans when it comes to storage).
- Outlook provides you with an easy means to sort and group mail - Gmail doesn’t (unless you use a client like Outlook or Thunderbird to access it).
- More advanced phone call management options are available with Office 365.
- It’s easier to share files using the sync app for Microsoft’s OneDrive than the Google Drive equivalent.
- More advanced functionality regarding virus protection and rights management is available with MS Office 365 (for a price).
- More advanced functionality is available on the Microsoft Office 365 applications than the Google Apps equivalents - you can simply do more with the Office apps.
- Office 365 may provide a natural fit for businesses that are exclusively Windows-based.
The above summary gives you a topline view of where the strengths and weaknesses of Google Apps and Office 365 lie - for a more in-depth look at the products, you may wish to check out Style Factory’s detailed Office 365 vs Google Apps comparison.
In short though, my take on the situation is this: if you need productivity tools that are only ever used internally, it’s hard to argue with Google Apps (particularly if you need a lot of file storage). If you deal with a lot of clients who expect you to be able to regularly open or perform complex edits on MS Office files, Office 365 is probably the product for you.
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