Google Apps or Office 365? Which is the Best For You?

You have heard about the benefits of cloud computing, but are confused which SaaS is right for your situation. Find out more about G Suite and Office 365.

More and more businesses are taking their business applications online. Switching from traditional desktop versions of popular software offers employees greater access while, at the same time, making IT support simpler by streamlining licensing and eliminating manual updates. As good as those reasons are for making the change, many companies see the real value of web-based applications in the fact that these applications were built from the ground up to encourage collaboration, and collaboration leads to increased productivity.

Companies looking to move to cloud computing have two basic options: Microsoft Office 365 for Business and G Suite (formerly known as Google Apps). This quick guide provides a brief overview of the features of each SaaS talks about their costs and ease of implementation. Hopefully, this will give you the information you need to help you make a better-informed choice for your company.

The Office 365 vs. G Suite Throwdown

Few companies dominate the world of office software like Microsoft. You would be hard-pressed to find an employee who doesn’t know already how to use Word or Excel. But does that mean Office 365 is the obvious choice for cloud computing? Not necessary.

Although Microsoft is the big dog, G Suite proves the old saying, “It is not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog that matters.” Both Office 365 and G Suite have advantages and disadvantages you need to know about before deciding which SaaS is right for your business needs.

What You Get From Office 365

Office 365 comes in several versions: Office 365 Business and Office 365 Premium are two of the most popular for small and medium-sized businesses.

Office 365 Business offers subscribers:

  • Outlook, an email application
  • Word, a word processing application
  • Excel, a spreadsheet application
  • Powerpoint, a presentation application
  • Access, a database application for PC only
  • OneDrive, 1 TB of online storage.

Office 365 Business Premium includes everything from the standard version and adds:

  • Exchange, a calendaring application
  • Sharepoint, an intranet application
  • Teams, a meeting hosting and chat application
  • Email hosting with a custom domain

What You Get From G Suite

There are three tiers of G Suite, Basic, Business, and Enterprise. The Basic and Business versions are most similar in cost to Office 365 Business and Office 365 Business Premium.

G Suite Basic includes:

  • Gmail, an email application
  • Docs, a word processing application
  • Sheets, a spreadsheet application
  • Slides, a presentation application
  • Forms, a form creation, implementation, and recording application
  • Calendar, a calendar syncing and booking application
  • Hangouts, an online meeting, and chatting application
  • Drive, 30 GB of online storage
  • Sites, a basic website building application
  • Groups, a forum-hosting application

G Suite Business includes everything above, plus:

  • A more robust Drive application with between 1 TB and Unlimited amount of storage
  • Cloud Search, a network search application
  • App Maker, a low-code platform for building business apps
  • Jamboard, a collaborative whiteboard
  • Vault, an archiving application
  • Administrative controls

Just by looking at the features available from each company, it is clear they both offer comprehensive solutions for the most common needs of businesses. Microsoft’s Office 365 SaaS has the clear advantage when it comes to recognizable applications, but Google’s G Suite perhaps provides better bang for the buck in terms of storage, online meetings, collaboration options, scalability and additional add-ons such as site design and app development.

What Is It Going to Cost Me?

The good news is that cost isn’t a significant factor when deciding which product to use.

G Suite Basic costs $6 a month per user, and the Business version comes in at $12. That is slightly less expensive than the current Microsoft’s pricing. Office 365 Business is $8.25 per month, and Office 365 Business Premium runs $12.50 monthly. One significant point to know is while G Suite licenses are available on a per month basis, Office 365 Business plans lock you into an annual contract. For most companies, this won’t matter, but for businesses which hire temps regularly, it is something to keep in mind.

The Ease of Implementation

Both Office 365 and G Suite implementation use online wizards to help you through the process. Google support claims companies with 50 or fewer employees can be up and running in less than an hour. On the other hand, most Office 365 migrations take much longer, but there is a good reason for that. Since most companies already use the Microsoft eco-system, they will want to transfer over all of their data seamlessly. G Suite’s wizard does allow for the transfer of data, but it is more basic, and may not appear exactly the same as it did when using a Microsoft application.

So Where Does This Leave Me?

You have an essential decision to make, how can you decide?

The best way is to answer the following four questions:

  1. Is being part of the Microsoft eco-system essential for your business?
  2. What are your application, storage, and administrative requirements?
  3. How willing are your employees to learn new applications?
  4. What is your personal preference?

You really can’t make a wrong choice except by refusing to act. So, pick the SaaS that makes the most sense for your company, and you will be rewarding your employees with the benefits of cloud computing.

Nick Hess

Nick Hess is an authority for IT services in Portland, OR. Nick's team at SureTec IT has helped numerous companies with their day-to-day IT service needs. Nick also has years of experience with Google G Suite, Microsoft 365, and business VoIP Services.

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