Office 365 vs. Google Enterprise for Nonprofits: Part 2 - Comparisons

Office 365 vs. Google Enterprise for Nonprofits: Part 2 - Comparisons

In my first blog in the series, I noted how after years of little movement, Microsoft finally got its stuff together on moving software and services to the cloud.  They are moving quickly to innovate the modern work environment.  I also noted that in the last decade, the novelty of gmail and google docs waned and that Google offers seemingly little innovation to its Google Enterprise suite.  This post compares features of both packages at a high level.  

Functionality Office 365 Google Enterprise
Email Big Improvements. Microsoft vastly improved the experience of Outlook webmail product over the last two years and Exchange/Exchange online is still the category killer in corporate email.  Of course, you can access your email from its leading desktop client Outlook and an improved mobile Outlook app. Advantage, but decreasingly so.  Gmail is still the better product of the two webmail products providing an intuitive interface on desktop and mobile.  There have not been many improvements in the last few years.
Office Productivity Software Significant Advantage. MS Office has long been the standard for desktop productivity software.  From a cloud perspective, Microsoft was very late to the game, perhaps out of fear of cannibalizing one of its major cash cows.  Microsoft recently launched the cloud based version of its MS Office software that is already superior in functionality and interface to Google Docs.  Microsoft also launched iOS and Android versions of Word, Excel, Powerpoint and OneNote, which immediately became the best Office productivity software on a table or smartphone.  MS now uses the same code base for MS Office across platforms allowing for continuous improvement and consistent experience across your iPad, cloud and desktop versions of the software.   Stagnating Product.  When Google Docs was introduced, we were fascinated with the ability to work in the same document at the same time.  If we needed to do professional documents spreadsheets and presentations we would switch back to MS Office.  Ten years later, there have been small improvements, but not at the pace you might expect from Google.  Very few professionals build their final presentations or documents in Google Docs.  With few improvements to Google Docs/Sheets/Presentations, MS Office is still the standard. 
Audio/Visual Communications Ready to take corporate telephony and communications by storm. Last year, Microsoft rebranded its unified communications platform (Instant Messaging, Voice and Video meetings with screen sharing) Lync as Skype for Business.  Within the last few months, Microsoft launched virtual PBX telephony service that allows your organization to use Skype for Business as your phone system in addition. They also launched a Skype broadcasting service. Slight Advantage for now. Google Hangout and GChat are both easy to use and nicely integrated tools into the Gmail interface. Google Hangouts on Air allows for mass meetings.  
Groupware Significant Advantage. SharePoint became the standard for organizational intranets, not because its easy to use or manage, but because of the inertia of corporate environments already being in the Microsoft ecosystem for Servers and Office Productivity Software.  Over the last 15 years, Microsoft made vast improvements to the platform and the cloud based version, SharePoint Online.  Furthermore, Microsoft has groupware at the core of its platform allowing self service group formation.  The Groups technology combines email and calendaring, One Drive, Notebook.  MS also bought the leading enterprise social network tool, Yammer which has its own group work functionality.   Weak and not improving. Google sites is an easy to use tool for beginning users, but I would not recommend it for anything other than informal groupware.  The application essentially allows for wiki-like pages, some file storage and embedding of widgets, but really has nothing like the sophistication of SharePoint.  
Cloud Storage Advantage Office 365 customers have an unlimited storage with One Drive for Business. The early desktop sync tools created headaches for IT departments and users who were running into issues syncing their file libraries with the cloud, but the latest sync tool resolved the existing issues.   Wait, what?  Last week, Google lowered the amount of storage that required payment with no notice on my Google enterprise account.  The included storage still has limits. Enough said.  
New Products

Advantage Microsoft is churning out new products and creating new features in existing products.  Microsoft maintains a roadmap for new feature development to keep you up to date.  

  • I would recommend trying out Sway for digital storytelling.  
  • Significant add ons to Powerpoint to improve presentations and Excel for dealing with large data sets have been developed.  
  • Power BI for data crunching and visualizations
  • Underlying Social graph technology powers Delve which exposes relevant work content from your colleagues.
  • Planner built on the Groups technology for light project management.
Forms and not much else.  Google launched a survey builder that integrates with Google spreadsheets.  It will work in a pinch, but its  no survey monkey.  Not much else doing for new products.  The early innovation advantage was lost and overtaken by their rival.


Overall Functionality Advantage: Microsoft Office 365. 



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