Office 365 vs. G Suite – 5 Things To Consider When Choosing The Right One For Your Business

A top-notch productivity suite can be a game changer for your business… if you pick the right one.

Microsoft and Google are two of the most recognizable names in the world of technology, so it should come as no surprise that they both have something great to offer businesses looking to add a productivity suite to their tech arsenal – Office 365 and G Suite.

Despite having very similar current functions, their roots couldn’t be more different. Microsoft Office has been around in one version or another for many years, with programs like Word going back to nearly the beginning of personal computing. G Suite, on the other hand, started as the powerhouse Google search engine, eventually offering users the option to edit documents collaboratively and growing from there.

While they’re both pretty similar on the surface, the advantages and disadvantages of each of these offerings start to become more apparent when we take a closer look at the details.

Both Office 365 and G Suite grant access to cloud storage, e-mail (using a company domain or @outlook/@gmail), and 24/7 support. Both allow you to create and edit office 365 file types, although some formatting may be lost between G Suite and Office 365 thanks to compatibility issues.

So, How Well Do These Suites Measure Up?

Office 365 has three major selling points right out of the gate:

  • Office 365 is built on power
  • Web and Desktop versions are available – through the Web version has limited features, allowing for small document edits and online sharing, while the Desktop version has a ton of features and capabilities
  • Accessible via Windows, Mac OS, and all mobile platforms including Windows Phone

G Suite, on the other hand:

  • G Suite is built for collaboration
  • Web version only, with some offline use via the Chrome browser with file-syncing enabled
  • Accessible via Windows, Mac OS, iOS, and Android only

Now that we’ve got the basics covered, it’s time to run the numbers.

#1 The Big Three – Word Processing, Spreadsheet, And Presentations

Word is a fully-featured program designed for power. Word remains the premier word processing program on the market, with recent versions adding in much-needed collaborative features.

Docs is very minimalist and designed with collaboration in mind, with fast editing and sharing capabilities at its hallmark.

Excel has advanced formatting and scripting tools, making it a much more complete option, particularly if you tend to work with large data sets and rely on functions like Pivot Tables and multiple notebooks. With tons of integrated features and options, Excel has something to offer everyone.

Sheets has a built-in chat window to let users discuss changes and collaborate in real-time. Sheets can’t handle running macros, however. It’s a bare-bones spreadsheet interface, and nothing more.

PowerPoint has more robust media integration, allowing users to embed YouTube and local media files, Facebook videos, Twitter videos, and more. There are plenty of formatting options and templates available to choose from. An especially handy feature is that once media files are added to PowerPoint, you can take those files with you offline and give your presentation without a needing a connection.

Slides have native YouTube integration – since the site belongs to Google’s suite of products – and limited but easy to use formatting.  Unlike PowerPoint, you must have a network connection to view these video files as they are not available offline.

#2 – Email

While there is a lot of overlap between the two platforms where e-mail is concerned, such as Two-Step Authentication, spam filtering, calendar integration, customizable themes, and legal holds on inboxes. That last feature is especially important since this allows you to remove employee access to sensitive data once they’re no longer with the company by locking down inboxes if need be.

Outlook has a few things going for it. The desktop software we all know and love bundles with Office 365 at the enterprise pricing level, with the business pricing level granting web-only access. In late October of this year, Microsoft launched an expanded malware detection tool for Outlook that scans links in real-time. Hovering over a link will let the program verify it’s a genuine link, so even without an antivirus solution, you’re still protected from spam and spam-borne threats. The ability to set rules and quick steps that automate sorting and other tasks you do routinely and close panes and sidebars for a less cluttered view make managing your inbox easy. You’re also able to access your complete e-mail archive both online and offline from any browser.

Gmail doesn’t have quite as many neat options. Your inbox is accessible through your web browser only, unless you use third-party software – which means if you already have Outlook software installed, you can use your Gmail account for desktop email access, but there is no desktop version of Gmail. Default smart sorting categories use multiple default tabs that assign priority to incoming messages but offers no customization. You’re limited to default categories which can be removed, but not changed. There is no Gmail equivalent to rules and quick steps, and while offline browsing is available through Chrome or Safari only, you must have everything downloaded beforehand in order to access it offline, and can only go back a month into your archive. G Suite also limits your ability to customize your number of panes, leaving you stuck with three.

#3 – Communication

Both Office 365 and G Suite offer instant messaging, voice and video chat, screen sharing, and archived chat logs.

One advantage Office 365 has over G Suite is Skype for Business. This fairly new service is highly capable and user-friendly, with a clean and simple interface. Capable of being a fully integrated enterprise-class telephone replacement, Skype offers additional functionality for scheduling meetings and calls and sharing files and other communications right from other Office programs thanks to the high level of Office 365 integration. Skype does neat things like make topically-relevant files available directly through Skype during meetings, without you having to go searching for the file you want to share. With a maximum of participants 250, it’s great for larger businesses and webinar hosting.

Google Hangouts is great for Android users since it doesn’t require a separate app. Conversations can be synced across devices without interruption, and Hangouts is built into many G Suite apps. However, it’s very much a standalone product with no real integration across the platform and has a maximum participant limit of 25 users.

#4 – File Storage and Syncing

There is a lot of overlap in this category. Both Office 365 and G Suite Sync files between the cloud and your local machine. You can use strictly cloud storage, strictly local storage, or both depending on your needs. Office 365 offers more cloud storage space depending on your subscription level. Both offer the ability to share documents both within and outside the organization, letting you collaborate with anyone who has the same product suite, provided you set permissions to allow access. Both also have online readers and editors for quick viewing and editing.

#5 – Content Management

This is the area where the differences in power and capability really start to show themselves.

Microsoft’s SharePoint can access anything stored within your Office 365 enterprise server. Files stored on both your cloud and server are available to SharePoint without you specifically uploading them to the program. You just need to navigate to them by placing them in the correct SharePoint category. SharePoint uses metadata tagging, which is similar to how Wikipedia or other pages function. It uses links to reference pages within itself and has the additional option of referencing files that are elsewhere within your enterprise. The check-in/check-out feature prevents simultaneous changes and keeps employees from accidentally writing over work in progress, and records management gives you version histories to keep track of what changed with a specific document. Automated workflow processes are another highlight. If you access certain pages within SharePoint, you can trigger responses based on what was accessed, what changes were made, what files were uploaded or removed, and what projects were closed. SharePoint is an extraordinary content management product, effortlessly keeping track of any interactions with all other aspects of the enterprise.

Google’s Sites has a familiar feel to Wikipedia users, referencing similar Google pages as links much the same as on a Wiki page. It’s quick deployment and more user-friendly setup make it a popular choice, but Sites has limited customization with minimal themes or options to choose from. You’re stuck with keeping pages exactly as they’re set up “out of the box.” Search capabilities are limited to individual Sites, which means any documents you want to reference must be added to your Site in order for you to see it on your Site. Sites also don’t track version histories.

Sites are good for easy local file management, but cannot touch the level of integration and functionality SharePoint has.

Bonus Round – Added Features and Functions

Microsoft’s OneNote offers robust, indexed notes and notebooks. Think of it as a three-ring binder that has every single note you’ve ever taken down. OneNote can be indexed and referenced elsewhere, and can also be integrated into other o365 products. You can take notes during a meeting, share those notes instantly during the meeting, and then after the meeting is over you can go back into your Outlook calendar, open the note associated with that meeting and see what notes were taken at that time

Google’s Keep offers simple, stand-alone notes, and looks and operates much like post-it notes. There’s no way to link them together, but you can share them with team members, and they can be edited collaboratively.

Microsoft also offers Delve, Flow, and Bookings, three products which are unique to Office 365.

  • Delve is a piece of software that looks at everything else you’re doing within o365 and shows you what it thinks you’re most interested in. It shows you files you’ve recently accessed, files that people on your team have recently accessed, and sees who you email with the most and shows you their messages with priority over other team members. It’s very intuitive, and a great place to see everything that you’re working on at a glance.
  • Flow is a workflow organizer that creates flow charts. If flowcharts are a part of your day-to-day, this is a great asset to have that is exclusive to Office 365.
  • Bookings keeps track of your meetings, but also allows external integration into a website and into your email so that you can reach out to clients and give them the option to schedule meetings, appointments, or visits with you and your team.

Bottom Line?

If you’re looking for something that’s thoroughly integrated and natively talks to itself and its related products, Microsoft’s offering is an extraordinary option. It’s the most robust, feature-laden, professional looking, and customizable software suite available on the market today. Office 365 does everything and does it very, very well

G Suites is a solid product that is very minimalist and serviceable for basic needs, but… Office 365 is the most popular option for a reason.

Ready to put an industry-leading productivity suite to work for your business? Contact Fuelled Networks at (613) 828-1280 or today. We’re the IT professionals Ottawa businesses trust.

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