Your choice of productivity suite is integral to how efficiently your business runs, so it’s an important one.
A productivity suite is a group of programs that typically includes a word processor, spreadsheets, slides (for presentations) and email.
The top two leading choices for businesses today are Microsoft’s Office 365 and Google’s G Suite (formerly Google Apps). Office 365 has apps like Word and Outlook and while G Suite has Docs and Gmail.
They are equally rated and share a very similar level of functionality. However, there also some differences and this article will explore them in more detail.
Keep in mind that there is a range of pricing plans for each suite. For the purpose of this article, we will compare two plans designed for start-ups or small to medium-sized businesses.
Businesses that fit into this category typically opt for the G Suite Business Plan. The most comparable Office 365 plan is ‘Enterprise E3.’
Overview of Features
For the most part, both Office 365 and G Suite have the same sort of applications or features. For comparison purposes, it breaks down like this:
Word VS Google Docs
Excel VS Google Sheets
Powerpoint VS Google Slides
Outlook Online VS Gmail
One Note Online VS Google Keep
Sharepoint VS Google Sites
Skype for Web and Microsoft Teams VS Google Hangouts
Most Office 365 plans, including their Enterprise E3 plan, have both desktop and cloud-based versions. That said, keep in mind that this means that desktop apps have to be installed locally, which requires additional time and, in some cases, additional IT costs.
Both Office 365 and G Suite offer a similar level of more advanced features as well, including Intranet building functionality, advanced reporting and email archiving to name a few.
Beginning with Office 365, their pricing plans are much more complex than G-Suite. There are home plans, business plans, enterprise plans, education plans and several different options within some of these categories.
Since this article is catered toward businesses, we will focus on the Business and Enterprise plans, which break down as follows:
- Business Essentials – (no desktop version – only online)
- Business – (no email account, no calendar functionality)
- Business Premium
- Enterprise E1 – (no desktop version – only online)
- Enterprise ProPlus – (no email account, no calendar functionality)
- Enterprise E3 – $20 user/month
- Enterprise E5
* A key thing to note here is that you have to pay upfront for all Enterprise plans.
G-Suite offers three plans, including:
- Basic: $5 user/month
- Business: $10 user/month
- Enterprise: prices available upon request
Keep in mind that G Suite will also have lower IT costs since you don’t have to maintain any desktop apps.
Winner: It Depends
There’s ultimately a $10 dollar difference between Office 365 Enterprise E3 and G Suite’s Business plan, with G Suite being the cheaper option. You also don’t have to pay upfront.
The question is a matter of whether the additional cost is worth it. Ultimately, it will depend on how heavy duty you need your applications to be.
Word Processing (Word VS Google Docs)
Office 365’s Microsoft Word is a heavy duty word processor and has an extensive list of features that are not available on Google Docs. That said, it can be also be argued that some of these extra features aren’t necessarily essential to the average business.
In terms of ease of use, many people tend to be familiar with Word, which gives it an edge in that area.
In contrast, Google Docs is minimal in terms of its features compared to Word and is easier to use when comparing the two from an objective standpoint.
While Google Docs once had the upper hand in terms of real-time editing and sharing, Microsoft now offers co-authoring, which makes the two pretty equal in terms of collaboration. However, G Suite is a bit easier to use in that regard.
Winner: It Depends. Most businesses can get away with using Google Docs for word processing. It’s also easier to use than Word, except for the fact that many people are already familiar with Word.
For businesses who need to use Word or are in need of heavy-duty word processor, Office 365 would be the best fit in this category.
Spreadsheets (Excel VS Google Sheets)
When it comes to spreadsheets, Microsoft Excel is much more powerful, capable of handling much more data and number crunching than Google Sheets.
Google Sheets is adequate and can handle basic tasks (for example, it can create graphs, or calculate auto-fill sums) but is certainly not nearly as powerful as Microsoft Excel when it comes to the amount of data it can handle.
Winner: Office 365. Office 365 is much more powerful than G Suite’s offering. If you need to do a lot of serious number crunching – and many businesses do – Office 365 would be a better fit. Otherwise, you can get by with Google Sheets on G-Suite.
Email (Outlook VS Gmail)
When it comes to email, both Microsoft and Google offer great email options. But they have different things going for them.
Like all Microsoft products, the desktop version of Outlook is feature-heavy but this can sometimes come at the cost of slowing your computer down if your computer is older.
That said, Microsoft’s web email client makes up for its sometimes slow desktop email client with greater ease of use and responsiveness. In this way, it’s on par with Gmail.
Gmail, on the other hand, while fast and with great searching capabilities, doesn’t offer as many options for organizing emails. For example, Google doesn’t allow you to sort or group emails. In this way, Office 365 exceeds at email management, particularly in the offline version.
That said, keep in mind that you can increase the level of functionality of both suites in their respective app stores.
Outlook takes the cake again in another regard: its desktop software offers social media integrations that Gmail doesn’t.
Lastly, on the topic of storage, the Enterprise E3 plan offers 50 GB of storage while G-Suite offers unlimited email storage (again, as long as you buy 5 or more G suite accounts). For businesses with a lot of incoming mail, this is certainly an advantage.
Winner: Undecided. Office 365 doesn’t offer as much as storage space as G Suite but it also offers more customizability in terms of organizing and sorting your emails. Office 365 also offers social media integrations.
Instant Messaging and Video Conferencing (Skype for Business/Microsoft Tools VS Google Hangouts
In terms of messaging tools, Office 365 and G Suite offer a combination of both instant messaging and video messaging applications. Office 365 offers both Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business while G Suite offers Google Hangouts.
Microsoft Teams allows you to create group chats, send private messages and send instant files.
Google Hangouts offers these same core features but Google misses out on some additional features that can enhance collaboration with others. One example is the fact that users can create multiple channels (one for sales, one for marketing, etc.).
Google Hangouts allows users to create multiple channels but only one person can add that person. If you work on a lot of team projects, Microsoft Teams is the better option.
Remember, too, that Microsoft also offers Skype for Business, ideal for conference calls and video meetings. Google offers video calling, but Skype for Business is much for established.
Winner: Office 365. Office 365 simply offers more options. However, Google Hangouts is certainly sufficient.
Both Office 365’s Enterprise E3 plan and G Suite’s Business plan offer unlimited storage as long as you have 5 users.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is always an important consideration, especially when it comes to productivity suites that play such an important role for businesses. This is where Office 365 and G Suites tend to differ.
Broadly speaking, Office 365 tends to be feature heavy, making it more cluttered compared to Google’s minimal interface. G Suite tends to be easier to use due to its simplicity, but for people who are already familiar with Word, for example, this won’t be a problem.
In terms of collaboration, however, it is generally concluded that G Suite tends to be a bit easier to use.
Winner: G Suite. G Suite’s clean and minimal interface tends to be a bit more user-friendly overall (however, this comes at the price of having less features).
Ultimately, both productivity suites are very similar in terms of their functionality and applications.
However, Office 365, which is $10 more per month/user, tends to be more heavy duty in terms of those capabilities. G Suite has ease of use going for it and may be better in terms of collaboration.
Most startups and small to medium-sized businesses will find that G Suite meets all of their needs. If they need to do a lot of number crunching or work with a lot of Word documents, they may want to choose Office 365.
For larger businesses (enterprises), Office 365 tends to be a better fit.
What productivity suite does your business use and why? Let us know in the comment section below.
If you are looking for more tools to power your business, Yocale is a free, powerful scheduling software that also offers a free suite of business management and marketing tools. For more information, click here.