What makes one brand of productivity software stand out from others? There are variables that determine what kind of operating tools will make work easier and more efficient, but the vast majority of businesses are going to choose software based on simplicity, connectivity, practicality, and universality—and these are the qualities that Google, Microsoft, and others are taking great pains to provide. The already established trend towards using cloud-based operating software is not surprising, due to the growing need for seamless communication across all platforms and borders as more and more business is conducted online and remotely, which is where Google has put its best foot forward, and Microsoft is following suit with Office 365.
Give Office 365 a Try
The best way to decide what software works better for you is to simply try both, or should I say, try Office 365 because you’re probably less familiar with it, right? And this is at the heart of the reason why Google has excelled in business software—people have already been using Google Apps in their homes and offices for quite a while now, and it’s somewhat of a standard. You can look at all the features of both, academically, but the only way to gain an intimate knowledge of their functionality and performance is to try it at work and decide what you prefer. Before you start, here’s what you can expect from Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365:
Google’s Wonderful World of Apps
As you probably already know, Google Apps feels like it was designed to be an amusement park for professionals, containing a wide selection of apps for everything you need for your team to stay productive. From Gmail and Drive, to Calendar, Docs, and Sheets, as well as more specialized tools like AdWords and Translate, you will find easily-accessible solutions for a variety of purposes.
Office 365 Competes
Microsoft Office programs like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint have long been staples for businesses, and since professionals have trusted these tools over their Google counterparts for a long time, Microsoft is giving businesses some time to convert wholly to Office 365. The truth is that a large number of businesses use a hybrid of Google and Microsoft work programs, with a mix of cloud-based and on-premises software.
Foresight is the Strength of Google
Google had the jump on cloud-based software as early as 2006 when they began beta-testing for Google Apps, at first targeting the education sector, and it gained traction fast. Before many companies even knew what the Cloud was, Google was preparing its infrastructure to put it to work for private and professional use. Google has been continuously improving their software in the meantime, while they won over the masses in favor of Google Apps.
The Genius of Gmail
It all started with Gmail, and this may have been the key to the success of Google Apps. Now, when you log into your Gmail account, all you have to do is click on an icon, and there you have every other application they offer in one centralized place. You start with Gmail, and this is the touch point from which you have quick access to the rest of Google Apps, a one-stop shop.
The Difference is in the Strategy
An article published by Better Cloud Blog analyzed how businesses are responding to Google’s and Microsoft’s promotion of cloud-based software; their research revealed the differing strategies of each. After surveying over 1,000 companies in 53 countries, Better Cloud’s study showed that “68% of Google Apps organizations rolled out Google Apps all at once while 62% of Office 365 organizations implemented a hybrid deployment strategy,” utilizing cloud-based tools in combination with on-premises software. So it is only a matter of time before all business moves to cloud-based technology, but at the moment many companies still require the use of classic, on-site programs for their purposes.
At the present time, most businesses show bias for Google Apps, while many also incorporate a variety of Office products because programs like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote are superior in many ways to Docs, Sheets, etc. The price points of Google Apps plans for small businesses and large enterprises differ slightly from that of Office 365, but they both boil down to generally the same cost for business. When deciding which cloud-based software works best for your business, the proof really is in the putting. Take some time for a trial of both to get a feel for all the services and apps because that’s the only way to get a clear idea of which is the best fit for you. You may choose, like many others already do, to take a little from column “A”, and a little from “B” to suit your purposes.
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.