Choose between Microsoft 365 and G Suite

[Last updated on May 2, 2019]

As early as 2006, a pioneer in high speed collaboration, Google Apps (now G Suite) quickly attracted structures looking for new ways to work and simplicity. At that time, Office 365 was a limited cloud suite. Today, Microsoft 365 has caught up. And Google has made G Suite a mature product.

Broadly speaking, new companies, small and medium-sized structures, fields of activity such as technology, creation, communication, etc. prefer Google Cloud, while large organizations, “older” companies and industries with high regulation prefer Microsoft. Google retains the advantage in terms of collaborative performance and simplicity. Microsoft is taking advantage of its historical hegemony. The two SaaS platforms are neck and neck. What to choose for your company?

Stroke or excel

Michael Phelps had a dream. To become the best athlete of all time. For this, he trained for 5 years, every day without exception. Anyone can swim. You can swim with G Suite just as you can swim with Microsoft 365. But if you want to perform better and excel, like Michael, you need a strategy.
Tom Enders, Airbus CEO says: “Airbus has decided to take a major step forward by moving to Google Suite. We need technologies that actively support our new working methods, modern tools that allow us to be fully collaborative. Choosing G Suite is a strategic choice, a clear break with the past”.
You need to define a vision for your company. Which ways of working and collaborating do you want to take your company? What are the issues at stake? Without a clear work environment strategy, you will splash around with either G Suite or Office 365.
We offer you a 1st advice to help you take stock, define a strategy and establish an action plan.

Break or continuity

G Suite and Microsoft 365 come from two very different worlds. Google is “digital native”, a web-based and user-centric nature. Microsoft is rooted in the physical world of computers, software. Essentially, choosing between G Suite and Microsoft 365 means choosing the break or choosing continuity. You do not need to compare functionality by functionality. You need to know why choose breakage or why choose continuity. Read about the subject of the break:: G Suite better than Office 365 This choice is the vision for your organization that will do it. For example, if your vision is to transform the way your teams work and collaborate, you will build on the break with G Suite. If your challenges lie elsewhere than in the digital transition of teams, if a radical change is dangerous for your structure, or if you are deeply rooted in the Microsoft world then Microsoft 365 is the right choice.

High speed collaboration

On the Google side, you can rely 100% on Google Drive as a server. Storage and sharing in the same place. Drive File Stream serves the streaming files on the user’s computer. Even with several tens of terabytes of data, Drive’s performance is at its best. On the Microsoft side, relying on SharePoint and OneDrive as cloud server(s) is a little more difficult (limitations, SharePoint team site, etc.).
When it comes to cloud storage and sharing, Google Drive is easier and more efficient.
Google offers a lighter working environment, focused on the essentials and simplicity, accessible from any device with unlimited functionality. Real-time collaboration on documents remains more fluid with Google. Microsoft 365 is preferably Windows and requires installed applications to take advantage of all features. Collaborative dynamics are less intuitive than with G Suite. Read more on collaboration: The best collaboration software

Formatting and office automation features

On the Microsoft side, MS Office offers a much wider range of functionalities than the Google suite. If the work of the majority of your employees is based on the advanced or even expert features of MS office, then Microsoft 365 is a good choice. On the Google side, the embedded office suite (Docs, Sheets, Slides, Form) includes the functionalities useful in everyday life and meets the needs of 95% of users.
The integration of MS Office into G Suite is becoming stronger. For example, it is now possible to edit documents in MS Office formats simultaneously with several people – like Google Docs.
Google Docs may not be able to take over particularly elaborate document formatting from Word. In exchange, because 100% online, G Suite users do not have the compatibility problems that can be encountered with MS Office (between PC and Mac, missing fonts, different Office versions, etc.). Excel macro specialists will need to learn javascript with Sheets. A migration to G Suite does not prevent you from maintaining macros and Excel with Drive File Stream.
Determine to what extent formatting and office automation features are a real issue in the overall vision of the company.
Choose a clear and concise choice. Don’t try to have the best of both worlds. You have to choose an infrastructure, your backbone. Even if with G Suite it is not excluded to maintain MS Office licenses.

On the side of the IT administrator

Google has an “out of the box” approach with easier but less advanced management than Microsoft. Because 100% web, G Suite is completely cross-platform and offers a consistent experience on any device. Microsoft is more complex in terms of settings and individualization. Office 365 is preferably Windows / PC and still requires the installation and maintenance of software. The workload for the IT team is greater.
For both G Suite and Microsoft 365, you will find all the necessary features for security and management of users, devices and policies.
Again, it is your strategic vision that counts. What is really essential in terms of IT infrastructure? Do you have any imperatives that involve this or that choice? What are your constraints (customers, geographical, legal, etc.)?

Data cloud storage

There are no fundamental differences in the storage and security of your data in Google or Microsoft clouds and on users’ devices. They are the best thing that can be done. Read about security: Malwares, a danger for cloud servers? Some industries or data have legal constraints for the storage location. In Switzerland, there is a myth about mandatory storage in the country. EPFL has deployed Google Drive, public schools in Geneva, Jura, Bern and Valais use G Suite for education. Proving that even a federal or cantonal entity can use the US cloud.

Emails and messages

Some people will choke, but let’s be clear: Gmail remains the fastest and most effective email service. Faced with an avalanche of daily emails, quickly finding information and keeping the inbox clean with innovative features – such as standby or confidential mode – is key. The rest is accessory. Meet and Chat for Google against Skype and Teams for Microsoft. Teams is a good asset of Microsoft 365, which is a good collaboration and communication tool.

Prices

G Suite remains cheaper than Microsoft 365. Three price plans for Google compared to 7 for Microsoft. That said, price is never a criterion of choice (or you missed the chapter on vision).

A mistake not to be made

Whether you take G Suite or Microsoft 365, you won’t get anywhere without employee training. If you don’t take the time to train them, don’t wait for one of these tools to provide more performance.
If nothing changes, do not expect the results to change. Resistance to change is the primary cause of failure of any transformation. A failure costs much more than a change plan.
It is about implementing better methods, more efficient ways of doing things, promoting a more collaborative culture and accelerating daily work. This support is very profitable!
Do you want to know how to establish a realistic and effective change plan?
On the Office 365 side, you can get by without a change plan. But you will not exploit the added value of Office 365. On the G Suite side, a change plan is required. This is a breakthrough for users used to the Microsoft environment. Break-up can be an asset and part of your strategy. Read about the advantages of rupture: G Suite better than Microsoft 365

Conclusion

Choose G Suite if you are looking for more agility and simplicity for both users and technical management. If the quality of collaboration is an important issue, then Google is definitely the best choice. Choose Office365 if your company is deeply rooted in the Microsoft world and you need to rely on continuity for both users and the IT team.
Not changing is too expensive. It is an illusion to think that we can remain competitive with the tools and methods of the last century. Or you will soon no longer have your place on the market.
In either case, you must treat the choice of Office 365 or G Suite not as a technical choice but as an element that should support and promote a change in mentalities and ways of doing things.
Take advantage of a first piece of advice to help you choose between G Suite and Office 365.