G Suite (previously called Google Apps for Work) and Microsoft’s Office 365 offer similar set of productivity tools. Which one should you choose for your small business in 2017?
1. Cost and Commitment
G Suite has straightforward pricing with two plans: $5/user and $10/user (monthly)
First plan offers:
- Company email addresses (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Video/voice calls
- Integrated online calendars
- 30GB online storage with option to sync and share files
- Online documents, presentations and spreadsheets
- Easy to create project sites
- Security settings and admin control panel
- Support via phone/email (24/7)
Second plan offers unlimited storage with vault:
- Unlimited Storage (or 1TB per user if fewer than 5 members)
- Advanced admin control panel for Google Drive
- Audit and reporting insights for Drive content and sharing
- Google Vault for eDiscovery across emails, docs and chats
- Searching and exporting to different formats
- Email archiving
- Retention policies for messages
- Option to place and enforce litigation holds on inboxes
Office 365 has complex pricing plans:
- Office 365 Business Essentials ($5.00/user/month)
- Office 365 Business ($8.25/user/month)
- Office 365 Business Premium ($12.50/user/month)
- Office 365 ProPlus ($12.00/user/month)
- Office 365 Enterprise E1 ($8.00/user/month)
- Office 365 Enterprise E3 ($20.00/user/month)
- Office 365 Enterprise E5 ($35.00/user/month)
Without going to the detailed offerings of each plan, we’ll check out the comparable plans from Office 365 and G Suite:
- $5/user/month plan offered by Google and $5/user/month‘Business Essentials’ plan offered by Microsoft
- $10/user/month ‘Unlimited’ plan offered by Google and $8/user/month ‘Enterprise E1’ offered by Microsoft
Office 365 Business Essentials will cost $5/user/month with annual subscription, where as the monthly subscription will cost $6/user/month. Essentially you’ll save $1 user/month with G suite. Office 365 ‘Enterprise E1’ will cost $2 less than G Suite Unlimited.
Although both Gmail and Office 365 offer clean interface, the major differentiation lies in the way emails are organised – Gmail lets you apply multiple labels to an email and Office 365 has classical folder structure to categorise emails. In terms of storage space, Gmail offers 30 GB (across Gmail and Drive) and Microsoft offers dedicated 50GB inbox in addition to 1TB storage. Microsoft’s Enterprise E3 ($20/user/month) offers unlimited storage.
Microsoft offers desktop versions of their products along with cloud based apps. You’ll be able to install the full versions of Word, Powerpoint, Excel, Outlook etc. on your laptop/desktop and work offline.
Google apps were developed from scratch only for cloud-based collaboration. For example, Google Docs lets users make permanent changes in the file and provide feedback on the content in the “suggestion” mode (helps the author approve the final edits). Here are some of the advanced functionality offered by Google as part of the latest update:
- Machine intelligence in Google Calendar to quickly find a time when invitees are free
- Natural Language Processing in Google Sheets to
- Machine intelligence in Google Docs to automatically recommend related topics to learn more and insert images
- Dynamic layout suggestions in Google Slides
- Better file management and granular content ownership with a focus on team in Google Drive
4. Video Call
Both Google Apps and Office 365 offer video conferencing solutions via Hangouts and Skype respectively. Here are the
- Most important thing to note here is that Microsoft has not yet fully integrated Skype with other apps offered by Office 365 and Yammer. But, Hangouts has tight integration with other Google apps like Docs, Calendar, Maps along with social networks like YouTube
- Skype Translator can help you communicate in 8 languages for voice calls (near real-time), and in more than 50 languages while instant messaging
- The maximum number of participants allowed in Hangout is 50, where as Skype has 250 as the upper limit
5. Third-party Integration
You’ll be hard pushed to find apps these days that don’t claim to integrate with G Suite. Google’s integration with CRM, productivity and customer service software means you have many options. For example, TeamWave (Project management, CRM & HR software for small business) is fully integrated with GDrive, Google Hangouts, etc.
There are some very popular productivity apps that do not have integration with Office 365 because Microsoft is not perceived as developer friendly (in comparison to Google)
Office 365 comes with Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) – a new email filtering service that provides additional protection by targeting specific advanced threats like unknown malware and viruses, real-time, time-of-click protection against malicious URLs.
Google uses its robust machine learning capabilities to detect suspicious logins and block most advanced types of spam. Note that Google also automatically scans every email attachment before a user downloads it in order to prevent spread of viruses.
Microsoft files can be uploaded to Google Drive, but a lot of features won’t be supported by Google and formatting will be lost as well. G Suite Sync for Outlook can sync your mail, contacts, calendar events, Outlook notes, and tasks between your Google profile in Outlook and your G Suite account in the cloud.
You can download Google Drive files (docs, spreadsheets, slides, etc.) to your desktop and easily edit them with Office apps.
Both Google Apps and Office 365 offer 24/7 phone support in English and depending on the country, language can change. While email support is available for both products; Google provides additional support via live chat. You can also access forums to seek clarification, give feedback and request additional functionality.
9. Storage Options
All of the plans offered by Office 365 come with 1TB storage for each user, where as Google’s starter plan gives 30GB. Note that Google considers email storage as part of the 30 GB quota.
But, if you go for the G Suite Unlimited, storage-wise it’ll offer better solutions in comparison to all the plans offered by Microsoft. This will be really helpful if your company handles large audio/video files.
If you are a small business (1-50 people) then go with G Suite.
Reasons to choose G Suite:
- File storage: G Suite’s unlimited plan provides better value in terms of data storage
- Scalability: You’ll be able to add unlimited users (the ‘Business’ plans by Office 365 have maximum limit of 300 users)
- Collaboration: Google apps were built with a strong focus on collaboration
- Usability: G Suite apps are easy-to-use and the loading time is also less in comparison to Office 365
- Multi device: If your business uses various operating systems and devices, then Google is a better choice
- Integration: Majority of third party apps offer native integration with G Suite, as Google has traditionally been developer-friendly