When people think of office productivity suites, Microsoft Office 365 and Google’s G Suite come to mind. Both are the most popular tools for businesses in Chicago, and both are excellent platforms. When someone asks us what solution they should use, we typically ask them a series of questions about their company. What they do day to day and what their processes entail. To help you make your decision, we compare some of their features here.
We prefer Microsoft Office 365. We use the entire suite, from the online tools to Microsoft Teams and more. Most of our clients use Office 365 as well. For software development we use Google G Suite. For companies that are more on the creative side or collaborate with a lot of outside companies, they like using Google. Each platform has its own purpose.
Both are similar in functionality. We’re talking about things like word processing, spreadsheets and file storage. And, both provide both cloud and on-premise suites; although, there are still clear distinctions between the two.
You’ll like that Microsoft Office 365 comes with many of the tools you use already like Word, Excel and PowerPoint as well as their email client Outlook and cloud storage platform OneDrive. Plus it has other features like Microsoft Teams and collaboration tools.
G-Suite has a range of applications. The ones most businesses use are G-Suite’s Slides presentation application, Sheets spreadsheet editor, the Docs word processor and file storage platform Drive. G-Suite also offers excellent third-party apps that you can download from the Google Web Store.
Google’s G-Suite takes a real-time collaboration approach, while Microsoft excels because most people already know how to use their products, so this makes the transition easier.
Many users like the clean and straightforward look of G Suite as compared to the feature-heavy Office 365. With so many features this can make Office365 navigating difficult for those who aren’t computer savvy.
Plus, G Suite can be accessed via the Internet, and you can make shortcuts for your desktop. You don’t have to download the software. You can also download browser add-ons tasks that aren’t internally supported by Google Docs, Sheets or Slide.
Microsoft Office 365 is usually downloaded to the desktop and accessed offline via Microsoft’s software on your PC or laptop. However, Office 365 users can choose and switch between the desktop and online versions.
Google Docs provides a simple document creator, where Microsoft Word utilizes heavy-duty document creation. Word is feature-rich and can handle a massive range of functions where Google Docs can’t.
Google outperforms Microsoft’s desktop version of Word when it comes to real-time document editing and sharing capabilities. With Google Docs you can access a document, make changes and each change will be flagged or highlighted. It even sends notifications to other members on the shared document. You can also look back at previous edits, so your information isn’t lost or overwritten.
Microsoft Word doesn’t provide the same degree of collaborative functions. However, it can suggest edits via the “review” tab. Word’s plus is that it offers a familiar interface and is loaded with features that handle large documents and files. Plus, Microsoft has an “Ideas” pane that will make recommendations for layout, design and images, that can speed up your work.
Microsoft Office 365 also has AI (Artificial Intelligence)-powered features. And Microsoft Search works by combining the capabilities from Microsoft Graph and AI technology from Bing to provide tailored search results for any Office document or file without leaving your workflow.
Microsoft’s Excel “excels” when compared to Google’s spreadsheet tools. Excel is designed for complex number crunching and large data imports and exports. Plus, now Excel has AI-powered enhancements to help you use insights and offers improvements such as a “lookup” function that saves time.
Google’s Sheets can’t handle the amount of data that Excel does; it’s useful if you’re only performing light tasks and need to convert simple data into meaningful insights. Sheets can create graphs, calculate auto-fill sums and has add-on maps. But it lacks the power of Excel, so if you rely on spreadsheets for number crunching, Office 365 will be your best option.
Both Microsoft Office 365 and G Suite have great email clients with Outlook and Gmail. However, pricing and features vary greatly.
With Microsoft Office 365 Business Essentials (comparable to G Suite’s Business Plan), you’ll have a whopping 50 GB of mailbox storage, 1 TB of file storage and access for up to 300 users. G Suite Business (online version) provides unlimited mailbox storage, 1 TB of cloud storage and unlimited user access.
Gmail is simple and functional, while Microsoft’s desktop version is feature-heavy. But this may slow down your computer depending on how old it is. Business Essentials also provides access to an email browser client.
Gmail’s speed and search functionality can’t be matched by Outlook. But Outlook users can create many “rules” to perfectly tailor how both incoming and outgoing emails are managed.
Both Gmail and Outlook have calendars that are linked to your other accounts and other employees in your office. They can both keep records of meetings, allow you to schedule meetings, and you can even reserve meeting rooms once this option is set up.
Microsoft Outlook’s web email client beats Gmail’s. It’s easy to use, with search and sorting capabilities that are very responsive and quick.
Gmail has added security controls to defend against phishing attacks and protect data. If your email is possibly malicious, Google will mark it in red. Lesser risks are marked in yellow. Plus, Gmail has a “confidential mode” to help protect sensitive data.
Yes, Microsoft and Google both come with robust collaboration tools.
Microsoft Teams lets users create group chats, private messages and send files instantly. Plus you’ll be notified if your name is mentioned in a chat or channel. Teams added a “background blur” tool for video conferencing to focus on faces, and an intelligent transcribe option that creates searchable Word documents of Teams meetings.
With Microsoft Teams you can create multiple channels so anyone can join. You can have channels for sales, business admin, marketing, human resource, or whatever type of group you need.
Google Hangouts comes with instant messaging, group chats and built-in screen sharing. But it’s only suitable for quick messages. It lacks the features that Teams has. Teams is a better choice if you work in groups and need ongoing collaboration. Google has added some AI-driven features to Hangouts, with Smart Reply similar to Gmail.
Price is often a big factor when deciding between the two. However, both G Suite and Office 365 are priced competitively.
Microsoft Office 365 offers Business Essentials, Business and Business Premium.
The pricing for Office 365 is more complicated because there are more versions available — and within that, a lot of sub-versions. Microsoft also offers a range of enterprise packages with different sized mailboxes and storage.
The most direct comparison between G Suite and Microsoft Office 365 are with these plans below:
Small businesses could use G-Suite’s basic option with 30 GB of storage, along with a business email address, shared calendars, video and voice conferencing, and their Docs, Sheets and Slides. For larger businesses, the G-Suite’s Business offers all of the above and has unlimited cloud storage, e-discovery for emails and chats, audit reports, and archiving policies.
Microsoft Office 365 Business Essentials gives you access to Microsoft’s online Office 365, plus a 50 GB mailbox, 1 TB of file storage, and Microsoft Teams. The next package up offers the full desktop version of Office 365, 1 TB of file storage and tablet/phone apps but doesn’t include email. The Business Premium package offers all of the features in Business and Business Essentials.
Both G Suite and Microsoft Office 365 can compete equally across the board. We see G Suite coming out on top in terms ease of use and document collaboration, while Microsoft Office 365 offers suites that are feature-rich and capable of processing detailed documents and large amounts of data.
At the end of the day, it’s not so much about all the features, but which features improve your team’s productivity and efficiency. And, keep in mind that while Google G Suite and Microsoft Office 365 are great products, they won’t help you overcome IT challenges that they weren’t built to do.
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