When you think of office suites, what particular suite comes to mind? Chances are most people are thinking of either Office or Google. Personally, I’m a Google fanatic, so my thoughts typically drift towards the big kahuna. After all, it seems like they are gearing up to take over the digital world, so it makes sense to have a special place for the big guy here. When it comes to office products, though, Microsoft has more experience, so they tend to have an edge. There is definitely a war being waged between the two corporate giants, and recent trends seem to show an interesting shift in the battle. Regardless, we are going to take a look at the differences between Google for Work and Office 365. If you are in the market for an office suite for your business or school, knowing where the two big guns stand is the best place to start.
Differences Between Google for Work and Office 365
So while both services offer a lot of similar things, there are some minor differences that make each one stand apart. Depending on your size and needs, you may find one a better fit for your environment, but rest assured: the software is solid on both fronts. Below are three major categories for differences that you should be wary of when considering which suite is right for you.
With the big move to cloud computing, storage is always a major concern. Both Google for Work and Office 365 have a fairly decent storage capacity, though Microsoft definitely comes out of the gate swinging. Within every plan that Microsoft offers (more on that in a bit) Office 365 grants 1 TB of storage space per user. Conversely, Google’s default is a considerably smaller 30 GB per user. However, for premium accounts with at least five users, Google offers unlimited storage. Anything less than five users on a premium account will still net you 1 TB of storage, however, so Google isn’t too far behind here. Again, depending on your needs and your environment, the unlimited storage offered in Google’s premium package is definitely worth looking into. That notion leads us into the next big are of concern with these two solutions…
Of course, second item on the list for major concerns in the differences between Google for Work and Office 365 is pricing. No comments on the economy here, but with things the way they are, money always seems like an issue in every business. If you are hoping to produce an immense return on investment, you’ll need proper planning. Proper planning means vetting each service for price and viability in a given environment. Google for Work has two strict pricing options: $5 per user per month or $10 per user per month. Microsoft, however, has a bit more convoluted selection. There are 6 plan choices with Office 365: for Business customers, Office 365 offers plans from $5, $8.25 or $12.50 per user per month. Alternatively, Enterprise customers can choose from plans at the $8, $12, or $20. The variances here are based on the size of your environment. Microsoft limits features and services in some cases depending on which plan you fall into. This is an important option to investigate and use to define your needs more specifically. It may not make sense for smaller business, for example, to pursue Office 365 when Google for Work offers more features at a better price. The choice, however, is up to you.
The third major aspect to consider is the commitment to the service you are considering. Google for Work is a great choice because they offer month to month pricing plans, with an alternative discounted rate if customers purchase a full year of service in advance. Microsoft, however, requires an annual commitment. This requires a stronger commitment on your end as a consumer: you need to consider whether or not the service will be everything you need before making such a lengthy commitment. Alternatively, the same considerations may need to be made when considering Google’s year subscription model as well.
The differences between Google for Work and Office 365 are interesting to say the least. Among these variances is the notion of desktop applications. Desktop applications are also something that you need to consider when choosing a service. As illustrated by Cirrus insight, Office 365 has working desktop applications that can be adopted by any user in your environment. Google for Work, however, only offers mobile or in browser applications, which just don’t feel the same for some users. The pricing model may seem better for you, but if desktop applications are a necessity, making the switch to browser-based or mobile applications may prove too difficult to justify the lower cost. It’s all about finding the best possible fit.
All in all, the differences are very similar to the mobile battles of recent years. Similar in the sense that preference will likely play a major role in your final decision. InfoWorld put it best: “Microsoft’s and Google’s office productivity and collaboration clouds pit rich and complex against simple and lean.” Whether or not your users are up to making the shift from your current service, or if they simply prefer one product over another will definitely affect deployment and adoption rates throughout the environment.
While the features may vary on certain levels, one of the final things to consider when adopting an office suite like Office 365 or Google for Work is authentication and access. With the various applications provided by either office suite, a single sign on solution may be beneficial to your workforce for streamlining access and productivity. The benefits of a single sign on solution also extend throughout the environment by allowing for the inclusion of other programs and services needed per user. Whether it be Google or a dedicated single sign on service for Office 365, authentication should be handled smoothly and securely from within.
Well, there you have it. The differences between Google for Work and Office 365 and what you should consider when seeking the best fit for your environment. Don’t let the big names confuse you into thinking one is better than the other. There are even some companies who manage both services in their environment, depending on the needs of certain departments or user groups. Every situation is different. Take your users and your specific needs into account and choose the best fit for whatever your specific requirements are. Pairing them with additional solutions like single sign on will give you simple, convenient access to your new solution and keep your end users happy. The right service with the right deployment makes for the right choice.
Any Questions or Insights of your own? Give us a shout in the comments below.