Entrepreneurs at an early stage of their business development face a critical choice that will determine what tools will their team use for cooperation, communication, and data storage. Although there are many solutions on the market, the battle for customers in need of a subscription-based all-in-one cloud service takes place mainly between Microsoft and Google.
Why is this comparison important?
We usually avoid comparing Google and Microsoft office productivity software because of (justified) allegations that a company that has the title of Google Premier Partner cannot be objective.
However, we decided to take up this topic because of feedback from our customers. It turns out that although decision-makers in companies do not have problems with an independent assessment of the functionality of both services and the scope of applications that make them up, it is difficult for them to draw global conclusions.
That is why we decided to list the basic similarities and differences between services and to present a generalized profile of organizations that already have this decision behind them. We hope that thanks to this, people who are still hesitating between G Suite and Microsoft 365 will make the decision best suited to their needs.
G Suite vs. Microsoft 365 – similarities
G Suite and Microsoft 365 are not opposites. There are thousands of in-app features that they share. Plus, they produce files with the same extensions (.doc, .xls, etc.), so they’re compatible. You can open a Google Doc in Word and vice versa.
Subscription – both office productivity suites are services that you can “rent” for a specific period. Every licence you bought is an account for one user. Thanks to this, you do not have to decide on a large investment in advance, and business scaling is just a matter of buying more licences or upgrading the package.
Communication tools – both Microsoft 365 and G Suite provide a mailbox, video conferencing space, information exchange platform and group chat. Outlook with Teams and Gmail integrated with chat and Google Meet give similar possibilities in this respect.
Office software – The functions of the G Suite and Microsoft 365 applications overlap to a large extent, however Google was created as cloud-native software, while Microsoft still offers immortal classic programs. In both services, we can cooperate on files over the internet and share them with people outside our organization.
Security – both cloud services leave administrators maximum control over company data and security.
G Suite vs. Office 365 – differences
Gmail and Outlook – The biggest difference between Microsoft and Google services is visible in the mailbox. Google integrated Gmail with all G Suite applications so that users can have emails, chats, documents, and video conferences simultaneously in one browser window. Thanks to this, you can keep your external and internal communication under control without switching tabs. Gmail is also known for its advanced search options. However, supporters of local email clients still prefer Microsoft Outlook over Gmail.
The functionality of office productivity software – Although G Suite wins in the field of communication and optimization for online work, Microsoft programs still offer the most possibilities of editing files and performing complex operations in Excel spreadsheets.
Cloud storage – Microsoft 365 gives users 1TB on OneDrive in any package, while in G Suite the capacity depends on two factors – the service variant and the number of users. In the Basic package, each account has 30 GB of space, in the Business package it is 1 TB, but when there are more than 5 licenses, the organization gains unlimited space in Google Drive.
- Google Drive – How to Store Company’s Documents and Files in the Cloud?
- How to introduce and maintain Inbox Zero in Gmail?
G Suite vs. Microsoft 365 – which one is cheaper?
There is a huge chance that both you and your employees have already used Google and Microsoft applications. Both of these services offer free variants for individual users who set up a Gmail or Microsoft account.
Private variants offer the same applications and functions, but do not provide several key business solutions:
- Custom domain in the email,
- Vast cloud storage space,
- Accounts and devices management options,
- Integration with other business tools.
If you run an organization that wants to clearly mark its presence on the Internet, look professional in the eyes of customers, and at the same time freely work online, then you need G Suite or Microsoft 365 in one of the business variants. The costs of both services do not differ much.
Microsoft 365 net prices per user per month:
- Microsoft 365 Business Basic – €4.20 with an annual commitment
- Microsoft 365 Business Standard – €10.50 with an annual commitment / €12.60 with a monthly commitment
- Microsoft 365 Business Premium – €16.90 with an annual commitment
G Suite net prices per user per month:
- G Suite Basic – €5.20 with a monthly commitment
- G Suite Business- €10.40 with a monthly commitment
- G Suite Enterprise- €23 with a monthly commitment
- Under certain conditions, you can get a 10% discount with an annual commitment. Then the prices are €4.68 for G Suite Basic and €9.36 for G Suite Business for new customers on the first 20 accounts.
How to make a decision?
The cost of the service should not be the only factor that influences the decisions of the responsible team leaders. What else should be considered?
Workstyle in an organization – do you focus on the mobility and versatility of tools, or more on the advanced functionality of local solutions? For a more static and traditional office work mode, Microsoft 365 will do better, while flexible teams should choose G Suite.
Team preferences and habits – some employees from Generation X have many years of studying and working in local Microsoft Office programs behind them. In contrast, Millennials and their successors are accustomed to Gmail and thrive in online collaboration in web applications. If your team is large and diverse, it is best to resolve key tool changes during a collective discussion followed by voting.
Suggestions of future system administrators – convenience lies not only in the functions of the applications themselves, but also in console panel for managing security, accounts, integration, and data archiving. Only administrators will have access to these options, which is why it is so important to consult this decision with them and discuss each option.
When should you choose a compromise?
If each department in your company has a different work style and specific needs, then you can consider one more solution – provide employees with G Suite and Microsoft 365 simultaneously.
Contrary to common belief, this is not a rare path. Although, without a doubt, a unified system of mail, office programs, and communication tools is the best possible setup.
Both Microsoft 365 and G Suite services are based on a monthly subscription fee for each user account. Thanks to this, the implementation of both services in one organization is not a problem. Some companies offer a choice of tools for entire departments and others for individual employees.
For example, if a company consists of the IT, HR, Accounting, Marketing, Purchasing, Sales, and Customer Service departments, the division could be:
Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, and IT are departments that work very dynamically and use a large number of external tools for analytics, communications, and promotional activities. Therefore, in their case, G Suite office software would be better suited – due to a large number of integrations, fast inbox searching, and simple web applications.
On the other hand, employees from Accounting, Purchasing, and Human Resources operate on large databases and have a more individual work style. Thanks to this, it might be better for them to use the extended functionality of the Microsoft 365 application.
Advantages of a mixed solution:
- The possibility of testing both solutions and collecting feedback before making the final decision.
- Every employee has access to tools they know, like, and prefer.
- Documents from Google and Microsoft 365 applications are compatible, so the multitude of file formats will not interfere with the flow of information.
Disadvantages of a mixed solution:
- Two consoles for account management and security is a double effort for the administrator.
- There is no unified contact channel throughout the company.
- Complicated cost optimization.
Miinto mixed Microsoft and Google for some time before they decided to transfer all accounts to G Suite, which you can read about in the case study.