Covid-19 has accelerated the shift to remote working. So much so, many businesses are asking: do we ever need to go back to an office full time again?
In fact, 74% of organisations plan to keep the increase in home-working after coronavirus, according to the Institute of Directors.
Whether you work from home full time, in an office or a combination of the two, one thing’s for sure – the right collaborative platform is crucial as flexible working looks set to stay.
Two of the most popular cloud-based productivity software are Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) and Google Workspace (formerly G Suite).
Both offer a host of tools that can significantly boost your team’s productivity, but there are some key differences. Which one is best for your business?
Read on to see how Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace compare in the key areas of:
- Collaboration tools
- Productivity apps
- Cloud storage.
Microsoft 365 vs Google Workspace
Let’s start by saying that Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace are both worthy contenders. It’s not so much a case of whether a particular feature exists. Rather, how each feature is implemented and their ease of use.
They offer the same basic core applications, including:
- A hosted email with custom domains and calendar sharing
- Online file storage and sharing
- Productivity apps (word processing, spreadsheets, presentations)
- Communication tools (instant messaging, video conferencing)
Both also have web-based management consoles to manage areas like compliance and user access, along with additional security features like two-factor authentication (or two-step verification).
The management tools can be daunting for smaller businesses that don’t have a full-time IT department. But there are platforms you can use to securely manage your G Suite or Office 365 accounts and users easily from one location.
JumpCloud, for instance, is a cross-platform solution that integrates with G Suite and Office 365. Any changes made from its admin portal automatically sync to your account.
What’s more, its True Single Sign-On™ functionality provides one central area for users to log in before accessing applications, including G Suite and Office 365. Your business’ security is greatly improved by reducing login to one set of credentials and authenticating access.
Pricing options for business
Office 365 and G Suite are subscription-based. You’re charged per user each month, in varying tiers depending on your business requirements.
Microsoft 365 pricing
Microsoft 365 Business Basic – £3.80 per user/month
Microsoft 365 Apps – £7.90 per user/month
Microsoft 365 Business Standard – £9.40 per user/month
Microsoft 365 Business Premium – £15.10 per user/month
Compare Microsoft business plans. [https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/microsoft-365/business/compare-all-microsoft-365-business-products?&activetab=tab:primaryr2]
Microsoft 365 F3 – £6 per user/month
Microsoft 365 E3 – £28.10 per user/month
Microsoft 365 E5 – £48.10 per user/month
Compare Microsoft enterprise plans. [https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/microsoft-365/compare-microsoft-365-enterprise-plans]
Google Workspace pricing
Business Starter – £4.60 per user/month
Business Standard – £9.20 per user/month
Business Plus – £13.80 per user/month
Enterprise – custom pricing
Compare Google Workspace Business plans.[https://workspace.google.com/intl/en_uk/pricing.html]
It’s clear to see the pricing plans for Google Workspace are more straightforward than Microsoft 365. The features, storage space and user numbers vary for each tier, so it’s crucial to compare each plan to make sure they meet your needs.
Microsoft 365 vs Google Workspace: Core features
Both Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 provide a range of collaboration tools to keep teams connected.
For Office 365 users, there’s Microsoft Teams – ideal for video conferencing, instant messaging and voice calls. Similarly, G Suite offers Google Meet, but this is solely a video conferencing solution. Google Workspace also has Chat, which supports simple text chats.
As Teams offers an all-in-one solution, workplaces often prefer it. You’ll find many businesses that use G Suite tend to use another collaboration tool like Slack or Skype, particularly to communicate internally.
Simultaneous document editing is another collaboration benefit of both suites, which we’ll come onto next.
Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace come with equivalent office apps with varying quality. While Office 365 has Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint, for example, G Suite has Google Docs, Sheets and Slides.
G Suite is a web-based software designed to work exclusively in a browser or mobile app. In contrast, Office 365 customers can install the Microsoft Office apps on their desktop, depending on their subscription. They also have the option to use Microsoft’s (less powerful) web-based versions of its apps.
Having these full-featured desktop alternatives can be crucial to some businesses, especially because the web apps – both Office 365 and G Suite – pale in comparison.
When it comes to file sharing, you can give people access to view, comment and edit using Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace. But it’s fair to say that real-time document collaboration is far superior using Google Workspace. Document sharing seems a lot clearer with Google’s apps – everything’s right in front of you to invite people to collaborate.
So, choosing between Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace depends on what’s more important to you: a greater range of creation and editing features (Microsoft) or easy collaboration (Google)?
How much storage you get with each suite is an important consideration. After all, you don’t want to be cut short and end up paying more to upgrade in the long run.
All Microsoft 365 plans come with 1TB of personal cloud storage per month. Unlimited storage is available, but only with Microsoft’s pricier Enterprise E3 and E5 tiers, and you need to have at least five users. Businesses with fewer than five users will get 1TB of space (additional storage can be requested).
In contrast, Google Workspace’s Basic plan only offers 30GB of cloud storage – a nearly useless amount for most businesses. However, its Business Standard and Business Plus plans give you 2TB and 5TB file storage, respectively, at a reasonable cost. You can also get as much storage you need with its Enterprise plan.
If a large amount of cloud storage is an overriding factor for your business, it might be best to opt for Google Workspace.
Microsoft 365 vs Google Workspace: Verdict
Microsoft 365 versus Google Workspace – which is better? Rather unsatisfyingly, the only fair answer is ‘it depends’.
Choosing the best suite for your business is all down to your business’s requirements. Your working environment is also a key factor. If your business uses a mix of devices, for instance, Google Workspace could be a better option since it’s designed to run online.
Small businesses may find Google Workspace easier to implement and manage user accounts and a bit more affordable. Not to mention, its real-time file sharing and editing come up tops.
Microsoft 365’s features – including the bonus of its desktop apps – are undoubtedly more sophisticated. Couple this with its all-in-one communication platform, and you may find Office 365 is better suited to larger businesses with multiple teams.
Price: This depends on the plan you choose, but Google Workspace tends to be more affordable in most cases when you compare what’s included in the price.
Collaboration tools: For more functionalities and ease of use, Microsoft 365 arguably offers a gold standard communication platform with Teams.
Productivity apps: Microsoft 365 is excellent for the desktop versions, which have better for creating and editing. G Suite is best for real-time collaboration with different teams.
Cloud storage: The plans are comparable, but Google Workspace could offer an overall better value with 5TB of storage with its Business Plus plan.
Need help finding the best Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace plan for your business? Get in touch today – the Helpfully team are on hand to help.