Office 365 vs. Google Docs

office 365 vs google docs Office 365 vs. Google DocsThe office showdown between Microsoft and Google is in full force now as both giants vie for dominant market share in the productivity tools space. Evidence of Microsoft’s clever marketing campaign for Office 365 are seen everywhere today. And not to be outdone, Google also has undertaken a media blitz of its own with the now popular tagline, “Join the 5 million businesses using Google Apps.”

As lines have been drawn in the sand, pundits on both sides are ready to extol the benefits of each particular suite. Deciding which office cloud solution to use certainly has become a daunting task, with many different choices, options, and bells and whistles. There are deeply embedded reasons why people choose one over the other. But ultimately this choice may have more to do with personal preferences and business needs than an itemization of the various pros and cons of each productivity suite.

This article will provide a view of these two office cloud solutions to help small businesses make a more informed decision about the best option.

Office 365

The release of Office 365 has proven to be a huge game-changer for Microsoft in terms of how it manages and distributes software to the consumer. The basis for this obviously has been the Cloud. Microsoft wants its’ users to take Office with them anywhere. Its’ release back in June of 2011 marked the first time that the software giant made its Office productivity tools available as a cloud-based, monthly subscription based service.

The recent release of Office 2013 has also meant a major update to Office 365 to include a new Home Premium version. This version provides access to the Office 2013 suite on up to 5 PCs, expanded SkyDrive storage (20GB), 60 minutes of Skype calls monthly, as well as a planned integration with Yammer’s enterprise social networking suite later in 2013. This level of access costs $99 per year, which is a real bargain for what you get.

Microsoft has also recently released its new Office 365 Small Business Premium suite. The package costs $150 per user per year and provides access to the MS suite of desktop tools (Access, Excel, InfoPath, Outlook, OneNote, PowerPoint, Publisher, Word), in addition to Exchange, Lync, and Sharepoint, and 25GB of mailbox space as well as an additional 10GB + 500MB of cloud storage per user. The following chart provides a very good summary overview of the major options available in the Office 365 Suite.

Microsoft is not known for making things push button easy, and in fact there are a myriad of options available for its new line of productivity tools. This is the case even for those that might wish to keep the more traditional delivery model and order the Office 2013 suite of tools. A convenient breakdown of the various offerings and price comparisons between Office 365 and the Office 2013 suite is also available here.

Google Apps for Business

Google Apps is a cloud-based productivity suite of tools for your business that helps you get work done anytime, from anywhere, and on any device. It started with Gmail in 2006 and gradually grew to encompass the full set of Web applications that have similar functionality to traditional office suites like Microsoft. The tools available in Google Apps for Business include Gmail, Google Groups, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Sites, and more. Google built the cloud ecosystem for the office from the ground up over the last 7 years. Google Apps is a fully integrated host of tools and resources with push button simplicity and offers superb integration for BYOD and ‘work from anywhere’ functionality.

Google Apps is available in two main versions. The first is “Google Apps for Business,” which offers the full range of productivity tools listed above, 25GB of inbox mail storage, 5GB of cloud storage, custom email address, unlimited users, 24/7 support, and more, all for $5/user per month or $50/user per year(if you take the annual package). The second version is “Google Apps for Business with Vault” and offers the additional features of the Google Vault tool for a cost of $10/user per month.

The Google App Vault feature adds advanced data management and information governance capabilities to the productivity suite. The system lets you retain, archive, search, and export your company’s email for your eDiscovery and various compliance needs. Its primary purpose for business users is to reduce risks associated with litigation, investigation, and internal and regulatory compliance.

The Google ecosystem of tools emerged from the web and was designed with a focus on web collaboration and productivity. Therefore, when it comes to creating and publishing documents online, and integrating your work with other applications, Google will have the clear advantage over Microsoft. Google also excels at mobile device integration with more options available.

However, one pain point that has been observed on Google Apps for Business is the inability to port over your existing individual Google account into Apps for Business. In other words, if you already have a Gmail account setup and tied to your calendar, Google chat, incoming Gmail, your YouTube favorites . . . these cannot be tied to the new account you get for Google Apps.
best cloud solutions for business Office 365 vs. Google Docs

The choice of which productivity suite of tools is best for your small business will depend heavily upon personal preference and style as well as the needs of the business. Start-ups that don’t currently have a lot of investment in the Microsoft suite of tools and which conduct their operations primarily on the web, will be drawn to Google’s ecosystem of tools. The ability to seamlessly create and publish every document on the Web for public access, with easy integration between various Google applications, can be a major draw for those businesses that want an easy, smooth, push-button solution. On the other hand, those accustomed to Microsoft’s superb set of desktop tools and who have experienced that functionality online, may be reluctant to leave them in favor of Google.

About the author:

Jeffrey Walker’s experience in the technology sector has consisted of various roles, ranging from startup entrepreneur to web developer and research/support analyst. He’s also a budding hobbyist in the field of Telepresence Robotics and is interested in how these devices can provide viable solutions for the growing virtual workforce.

Jeffrey is a writing for Monitis and Monitor.Us blogs.

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