So, Google Apps and Office 365…
The way we work, the importance of emails and documents of all sorts has driven innovation of solutions that together make up a suite of tools for Productivity. The mega trend of Mobility and the desire to improve our tools used for Collaboration has made Cloud Services mandatory. The history of these suites is different, Microsoft is evolving and adjusting to a Cloud First world, while Google claims Born in Cloud. For me, this is apparent when using their applications.
Google Apps and Microsoft Office are the world’s leading productivity suites and also likely to be the first official SaaS solution subscribed to in most companies. The two suites are more alike than they are different. The intent here is not to compare the myriad of features or to describe various scenarios wherein one suite is preferred to the other. Instead, I offer you the perspective and thoughts of someone who has for a few years had one foot in a startup world and the other in a corporate world.
I like using Gmail a lot more than I do like the Outlook Web App, but I find the Outlook application – especially calendar features and integration with OneNote desktop client – very useful.
I was rather disappointed to learn that OneDrive for Business from Microsoft is essentially a SharePoint library and prefer the user interface and mobile apps for Google Drive. I also found it inconvenient how many steps were required to properly map the SharePoint folder as a network drive and how I sometimes experience authentication issues without a live browser session.
I use a few Google Apps accounts and I’ve found it easy to manage many on single apps and with one Chrome and Cloud Platform user. However, I found myself in somewhat of an identity crisis when mixing the use of Office 365 ID and Live ID, which I use for Microsoft Virtual Academy (Good stuff!), MSDN, Azure and SkyDrive. The experience helped me to better understand the importance of planning when it comes to identity management.
The Share experience with both suites are similar. Changing from a culture of attachments can be made easier when the Directory of a company is comprehensive. The use of groups, departments and organizations makes it easy to configure permissions and access when sharing. I have yet to try the recent advent of Azure Identity Management, but it looks good.
Facebook is the most used Social ID but Google follows behind. I don’t recall seeing “Login with Office 365” anywhere. Many application enable Sign in with Google and, for developers, it’s relatively easy to setup this service using Google Cloud Platform. Microsoft is thinking, as it seems to me, more about the enterprise ID and securing that ID across a hybrid platform that connects on-premise + service provider + public cloud.
The choice of which to use in your company depends entirely on what it is you do, the tools you use and the IT journey you’re on. I grew up using Microsoft Office and there are many features in the Office desktop clients Excel, Visio, Outlook, PowerPoint and OneNote that I use extensively. However, when it came to setting up solutions for a startup, Google was able to easily support the company’s internal business needs and provide added value to the business service generated by the company’s products.
by Gestsson @Gestsson