From a distance, it may appear that Google Apps and Office 365 pose a similar offering in the world of cloud-based productivity tools (email, documents, calendar and file-sharing). Take a closer look and you will see that Microsoft’s cloud-enabled products come with the reliability, ease of integration and security that you would expect from the market leader.
Both Office 365 and Google for Work offer online solutions for businesses looking for a flexible and future-proofed office. Google’s offering includes Google Drive (storage), Gmail, Google Hangouts (video-conferencing), Google Docs and Google calendar. Many small businesses believe that the offering from Google is the best low-cost solution. But it’s worth knowing that the low-cost solution sometimes comes with hidden costs.
If you are about to make the choice between running your office with Office 365 or Google for Work apps, here are three reasons why Office 365 is the smarter choice for your business, whatever your size or budget.
Easy to Get Started
Office 365 works natively with Microsoft Office. As Microsoft Office is the most commonly used enterprise software around, most businesses can begin using Office 365 as soon as it’s configured. Not only does Office 365 work with the on-premise domain, it maintains a consistent user experience for staff.
On the other hand, users of Google Apps will need to consider the cost of downtime as employees take time to familiarise themselves with the new software or undergo additional training.
Office 365 gives users flexibility around how much of their office they would like to move onto the cloud and how much they would like to keep locally. Google Apps also allows users to store files locally and on the cloud, but there are limitations. Users can only edit files on Google Docs if they have internet access.
The Hidden Costs
When comparing subscription costs, Google Apps and Office 365 are fairly similar in price. But there are a few extra costs that you are likely to incur if you go with Google Apps.
For most Office 365 plans, Microsoft Office is included in the subscription. There is no up-front outlay for the purchase of software and you are guaranteed to always have the latest version.
Google Apps does not offer the same all in one solution. For example, you will need to use a plug-in to make Google Apps work properly with Microsoft Outlook, Often these plug-ins cause compatibility issues.
Office 365 offers a more resilient solution to productivity by giving users a consistent experience across platforms and devices. Office 365 integrates fully with on-premise Activity Directory for syncing of passwords for access to both Office 365 and the on-premise domain. With no on-premise options, Google Apps does not offer customers the same choice and flexibility.
There are still a number of limitations for Google Apps when working offline. There is a limited ability for printing, inserting images and not all stored emails are accessible. When using Office 365 offline, you are still able to access the Active Directory address book, read emails and send meeting invites.
By choosing Office 365 you are choosing to entrust your data and your productivity to a leader in not only cloud technology but also compliance, security and technology standards. And while many small businesses may think that Google offers a good solution on a budget, there are downfalls to Google Apps that may end up costing even more.