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Choosing your cloud platform can be an overwhelming experience. Here we compare two major players.

Email & Communications

You are probably familiar with the e-mail offerings from Google and Office 365 - Gmail and Outlook. From a features perspective, the two are neck and neck. There is however one particular comparison that most small businesses should consider.

Gmail, like Google’s other free-to-use services, is ad-supported. Ads are contextual and personalised - they’re served based on the sorts of e-mails you’ve been receiving. So if privacy is important to your business, this factor alone might help you make your decision.

If you’re focused just on e-mail, these two offerings are relatively comparable. But if you’re looking at the Cloud as the big picture - as a complete business solution - then the breadth of the Office 365 offering is likely to scale more to your needs.

Sharing & Collaboration

Most businesses work in teams with various staff members needing to contribute to a project at one time. Add to this the complexity of staff working across multiple offices, or out in the field and you have a real need for effective collaboration tools.

While both Office 365 and Google Drive offer real-time collaboration, allowing multiple users to work on a document at the same time, only the Office Web App allows desktop and cloud users to collaborate with the same privileges.

Usability

While both options possess intuitive interfaces, if your business, like 99% of other businesses, has been using Office on the desktop, you can’t really deny the seamless move from this to Office Web Apps from a usability perspective.

The browser versions of the Office suite look, feel and operate just like their desktop variants. So, if it’s a suite that your staff are comfortable with, its functions meet your business needs, and you don’t want to invest time and resources in training your team on a new system, then Office 365 seems the reasonable choice.

Productivity

This is where Office 365 really takes the cake. Office Web Apps completely support offline editing, meaning you can make the most of your downtime. Whether you’re on a plane, have an internet outage, or just looking to save on data, those times offline needn’t be spent twiddling your thumbs.

In comparison, Google currently only offers offline editing in the Chrome browser, and only for Document docs and spreadsheets. The effect of this limitation becomes noticeable when it comes to presentation apps. Offline editing of Office PowerPoint means you can tweak and perfect your presentations right until you get to your client’s door. If you find yourself using the ‘track changes’ function of Office as a productivity tool, you may also be reluctant to embrace Google’s version, which is less about editing efficiently and more about recording your ever move.

Document Management

Ultimately, Google Drive is aimed for collaborative editing of documents rather than the creation of documents, whereas Office 365 with Sharepoint Online is designed to be the genesis point of your files. So your choice might depend on how deeply you want to go into the Cloud.

If you see Cloud as your long-term solution and can’t foresee a return to physical hardware, Office 365 is the right choice for you.

Scalability

Office 365 is a platform for growth. Even if you’re a small business now, the fact that Office 365 is powered by enterprise-grade productivity tools means that if you suddenly find yourself growing from 50 seats to 500, it will still work for you.

Office 365 grows with you - the bigger you get, the more features will become relevant and you can adapt the way your organisation utilises the Cloud. With Google Drive, no matter how big you get, you’ll never get any more features.



Compare Office 365 and Google Drive feature-to-feature


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