10 June 2024

Is Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 better?

Is Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 better?

Choose the right platform for you.

We put the two tech giants’ competing cloud productivity offerings against each other to help resolve the workplace debate of the day: Google or Microsoft?

The modern office is no longer confined to a traditional workspace. Today, work happens everywhere, but predominantly at home. Parents of young children are particularly aware of this reality, as they are hyper-aware of the time spent on their phones checking emails and responding to Slack messages after hours and on weekends.

It’s the invasion of personal time and encroachment on personal space in a remote-first working world that makes the need for seamless collaboration one of the key priorities for businesses in the 2020’s. It is, after all, how companies best retain and maintain a happy workforce.

You might be inclined to think that cloud productivity is mainly a requirement for the C-suite, while, in fact, over 70% of front line workers say more technology would help them do their jobs better (source).

So, without further ado, let’s find out which of the world’s two leading cloud productivity services will help your team – be they in a conventional office, on their couch, or at the front line – collaborate snag-free and clock more productive hours.

Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365: An honest comparison

While writing this article, our first draft had a good ol’ comparison chart, pitting Google’s entry level plan against Microsoft, comparing features like storage and cost. Although these are important considerations, a decision maker shouldn’t put their money behind a plan’s features alone.

Google and Microsoft’s plans, when compared like for like, are much of a muchness, so you won’t find that nitty gritty covered in this article.

(But if you’d like this info, you’ll find it on our Workspace Pricing page.)

Instead, we’re going to compare the ethos of the services.

It’s this approach we follow when advising new clients.

Granted that, as a Google Cloud Partner, we’re biassed towards Google and the comparison therefore leans in Google’s favour, but that’s only because we believe it to be the best option for 99% of SMBs that knock on our door.

Here, the reasons why.

The now is in cloud-based apps: Easy deployment
Both Workspace and Microsoft have cloud-based apps. However, Google is cloud-only, while Microsoft maintains the conventional heavy apps that require installation, personalisation, updates and anti-virus software.

Google’s apps simply require an Internet connection and the user’s up-to-date data is available on all their devices. Updates to the apps happen in the back-end without you even knowing about it and data is kept secure with an architecturally superior browser-based approach.

Known, loved, consistent: Easy onboarding
If we’re to believe stereotypes, the widely accepted consensus would be that Generation X prefer desktop apps, as they joined the workforce in Microsoft’s heyday, while Generation Y (Millennials), who joined the workforce as Google became a household name, use Google products every single day.

If businesses are to plan for the future, they’d be best advised to onboard a service that the vast majority of the current workforce already use and are familiar with (3 billion to be exact), as this makes onboarding that much easier.

As strong as your weakest link: Attract the best talent
People want to work for companies that are innovative and provide flexible productivity tools. To base this statement on fact, we quote another survey (source, page 4) where 82% of Google Workspace switchers said that after switching their team became more innovative vs almost half that of Microsoft users (47%).

Also consider that nearly 170 million students use Google Workspace worldwide…

Return on investment: Increase collaboration & productivity
Real-time teamwork increases productivity and ultimately ROI. Real-time teamwork is the hook on which Google Workspace hangs its hat – giving users up-to-the-minute access to their team’s shared data on all their devices, while Microsoft is not as effective at this so their users are generally more desktop bound.

With Google Workspace, your team can collaborate from anywhere at any time with seamless connectivity, regardless of workflows, working hours, or time zones.

And because users’ digital workplace is everywhere, all the time with Workspace, it’s much easier for employees to turn otherwise dead time into productive working hours: According to a report, 65-83% of Google Workspace users are likely to work from their phone compared to 40-59% of Microsoft users.

The verdict: Is Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 better?

Neither is better, but choosing one or the other must take the size, type and culture of your business into account, as well as the following factors:

  • Collaboration style: If real-time teamwork on any device is important (with data always being in-sync), Google Workspace might be a better fit.
  • Distribution of employees: If your workforce is characterised by asynchronous workflows, be it due to a mix of onsite and offsite team members, or staff in different time zones, Google Workspace dominates here.
  • Desktop vs web preference: If the majority of employees prefer traditional desktop applications, M365 might be the way to go, and if you want to maintain a low-tech footprint, Workspace is your best bet due to its browser-based nature.

In a nutshell, Google Workspace is ideal for SMBs that regard themselves as innovators, prioritise real-time collaboration, and are comfortable with web-based apps.

Microsoft 365 is better suited to enterprises that need powerful desktop applications and have traditional workflows, working hours and working habits.

Can Workspace and M365 work together harmoniously?

YES.

Many new prospects ask us about the compatibility of the two services. In reality, few businesses have a workforce solely made up of Gen X and Y, and, understandably – and admirably – these businesses want to accommodate everyone’s preferences.

Google Workspace is compatible with 100+ file types and integrates with many tools, including Adobe, Atlassian, Autodesk, Box, DocuSign, Dropbox, Salesforce, Slack and Zoom – so there’s virtually no barrier to marrying to the two platforms, at least as a start.

In offering both you can appeal to all types of users. And, because people that switch from Microsoft to Google experience a big uptick in collaboration and productivity, your teams may organically default to using Google Workspace (versus IT forcing everyone to move) – a competitive advantage for your organisation to be sure.

I’m ready to switch to Google Workspace.

Look no further – you’ve come to the right place. Cozan Consulting is a Google Workspace Partner that offers migration and management services. Please complete a short form that will give us the info we need to help you. Let’s get started.
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