When making a purchasing decision for your organization, there are typically only a few key points to consider at a high-level:
- Meets current needs and goals—Frivolous spending is typically a personal problem rather than a business problem, which means if you’re looking to make a purchase there must be an organizational need somewhere. In addition to meeting your needs, it would be great if a few of your organizational goals were met as well, such as reducing costs, improving user productivity and competitive advantage.
- Meets mid to long term needs—It doesn’t hurt to look into the future a little bit. The last thing you want to do is go through a “rip and replace” every year; it’s a strain on finance, IT, users—everyone.
- Price—A brand new Bentley would sure meet my short and long term needs, but sadly it’s out of my price range. What good is finding a great solution if it’s not economically viable?
- User experience and satisfaction—Let’s say you find a solid solution that meets your short and long term needs, is completely affordable, but your users hate using it or can’t acclimate and as a result experience a permanent loss of productivity? —No good.
Choosing the right productivity software is no different. In most cases the decision is between Office 365 and Google Apps. There are a few other choices out there, but these two easily make up 90% of the market share.
Let’s see how these stack up in each of the decision points:
Meets current needs and goals
- Both solutions will provide users with basic email, word processing, spreadsheets and shared cloud storage. However, only Office 365 will offer advanced features.
- Let’s face it, since the 90’s Microsoft Office has been the office productivity suite. That means any competitor is trying to be Office. And what can be more Office than Office?
- For example, perhaps your organization relies on Excel files with complex formulas or custom Visual Basic? It’s more common than you might think. The same goes for Word Docs.
Meets mid to long term needs
- Maybe you don’t need an advanced email server configuration right now, but is there a possible need in the near future?
- For example, a hybrid mail server configuration? You’ll Need Exchange Server to do that, which Office 365 provides. Basically, if you need the standardization and flexibility that Exchange Server provides, then Office 365 is the only reasonable choice.
- In summary, if you’re interested in making the most “future proof” choice, that would be Office 365.
- Comparing pricing is very straightforward: Google Apps is a couple dollars less per month per user than Office 365, which can add up if you have hundreds or thousands of users. However, for most small businesses the price difference is negligible.
In many ways, Google for Work is a low-cost equivalent of Office 365, and it’s a great fit for startups and small businesses that need to limit costs while achieving ‘good enough’ status.
However, the cost savings come with a number of nuances that limit its fit for enterprise customers,” says Shawn Wiora, CIO, Creative Solutions in Healthcare
User experience and satisfaction
- Some users may be very attached to using Office apps and averse to switching
- Sometimes web apps simply don’t cut it. With higher subscription levels, Microsoft includes licensing for the traditional, full desktop apps as well as native mobile apps, such as its iOS apps.
It’s largely Microsoft’s ability to offer continuity, as it is a legacy brand, that keeps it ahead of the game. That, and how it consistently makes an effort to evolve and keep with up with modern business needs, pushing for more cloud-enabled features, anchored on the familiarity and ease of use the platform is traditionally known for.
Attention schools / educational organizations
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- Office 365 offers Exchange Server, which is the world’s standard in email and calendar collaboration.
- For more complex IT needs, it supports a Hybrid Exchange implementation.
- Office 365 provides an option for companies to bundle desktop app licensing, to be used for on-premise desktop and service licensing.
- Microsoft Office is still the benchmark for on-premise productivity software and Google’s productivity apps doesn’t offer compatibility.
- Office 365 offers more pricing plans that are designed to fit your business needs and budget.
- As a legacy brand, you are guaranteed access and compatibility to the feature-rich MS Office Suite online or offline.
Need help deciding between Google Apps and Office 365?
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