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Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365 (2022) ANZ SME Edition

By February 22, 2022 No Comments

The digital world is changing. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that the remote workforce has exploded in the past 10 years, with the number of non-self-employed people who work from home at least half-time increasing by 91% and this has increased substantially since 2020. The days of walking down the hall to get a colleague’s input are long gone. Feedback and documents need to flow quickly and easily between colleagues. Meetings need to connect team members seamlessly across cities and continents. To work in these challenging times your organisation needs to provide your uses with the best tools for this modern and ever changing environment.

Google Workspace (previously G Suite) and Microsoft 365 (previously called Office 365) are easily the most popular and commonly used suites of business productivity and collaboration tools designed for small to medium enterprises and digital natives. 

It can be difficult to decide which productivity suite is the right fit for your business. Both of these suites are feature rich, powerful, reliable and offer plenty of benefits to enterprises of all sizes. In this blog post, we’ll compare the two suites, analyse their key features, plans and pricing, and key differentiators to help you make the right choice for your business.

In this comparison we will only compare the SME (or business) versions of each product. Both Microsoft and Google provide their SME products for businesses with 300 or less users. Once you go over this user limit you will be required to upgrade to an Enterprise product. Look out for our Enterprise suite comparison also.

First step: Pick a solution

As with any org-wide platform, for it to be successfully adopted, what matters most is picking the solution that fits best in the organisation, as opposed to picking the solution with maximum perceived features.

Picking a solution is not easy. Whether you’re looking to adopt a new solution, or wanting to optimise your existing solution, follow these steps to get started:

  • Start with a detailed analysis of your current landscape — software stack, data requirements, business workflows and goals, nature of workforce (remote/co-located, mobile/desktop users), etc. 
  • Then understand the reasons why your organisation is migrating. This will help you accurately gauge the ROI that the SaaS platform will bring to your organisation. 
  • Map the business benefits you expect with the features in the SaaS platform that will accelerate/deliver them. 
  • Reality-check their feasibility with the detailed analysis of your organisation.

Transform your business with Kasna

The most efficient course of action you could take is to get in touch with our experienced team at Kasna and we can chat about your Collaboration journey. We also offer commitment-free workshops with our experienced team. Contact us today to get started.

However, if you’d like to do this analysis yourself, here is our guided feature comparison…

Editions and List Pricing Overview

Probably the most confusing part is trying to find the best edition for you and your business at the right price. We will try to make this as simple as possible for you here. All prices are in Australian Dollars ex gst and per user per month:

Google Workspace Business Starter
$8.40 AUD

Google Workspace Business Standard
$16.80 AUD

Google Workspace Business Plus
$25.20 AUD

 

Included applications with every edition

Google Workspace Business Starter

  • Custom and secure business email
  • Phishing and spam protection that blocks more than 99.9% of attacks
  • 100 participant video meetings
  • International dial-in phone numbers for meetings
  • 30 GB cloud storage per user
  • Digital Whiteboarding
  • Security and management controls
  • 24/7 365 support

Google Workspace Business Standard

Everything in Business Starter plus:

  • 150 participant video meetings + recording
  • Meeting Background Noise cancellation
  • 2 TB cloud storage per user
  • Google Shared Drives

Google Workspace Business Plus

Everything in Business Standard plus:

  • Custom and secure business email + eDiscovery, retention
  • 250 participant video meetings + recording 
  • Meeting attendance tracking
  • 5 TB cloud storage per user
  • Enhanced security and management controls, including Vault and advanced endpoint management

Microsoft 365 Business Basic
$6.90 AUD

Microsoft 365 Business Standard
$17.20 AUD

Microsoft 365 Business Premium
$27.50 AUD

 

Included applications with every edition

Microsoft 365 Business Basic

  • Online versions of productivity and collaboration apps only
  • Chat, call, meet up to 300 attendees
  • Web and mobile versions of Office apps
  • 1 TB of cloud storage & 50GB for mail
  • Business-class email
  • Standard security
  • Anytime phone and web support

Microsoft 365 Business Standard

Everything in Business Basic plus:

  • Desktop versions of Office apps with premium features
  • Easily host webinars
  • Attendee registration and reporting tools
  • Manage customer appointments

Microsoft 365 Business Premium

Everything in Business Basic plus:

  • Advanced security
  • Access and data control
  • Cyberthreat protection

At first glance

Looking at the feature set and functionality alone Microsoft wins on the lowest tier for amount of storage for the price, as well as larger meeting sizes. Microsoft 365 also provides a much greater application set once you move past the basic into the standard and premium versions with Publisher, access and intune provided. Microsoft 365 also offers Publisher, a desktop publishing app, Access, a database app, Project, a project management tool, and Planner, a browser-based kanban app, to organise and manage tasks. 

With all these included applications come lots of administrator overhead and possibly user confusion as well as navigating multiple admin portals. Google provides a much simpler and refined application set as well as an easier out of the box experience for administrators.

A study from the Harvard Business Review has found that while both suites have a positive impact in the area of collaboration, Google Workspace consistently drove bigger impacts, and sometimes by a sizable margin. The cumulative impact of these Google Workspace advantages is a company culture and workstyle in which people work together more, and better.

Difference between Gmail and Outlook

It’s not all apples for apples. When we start to look at the real differences between the two suites it’s always good to start with the traditionally most used communications platform and that is email. These companies approach this most used tool in very different ways. 

Gmail has been born in the cloud and designed for the cloud native from the ground up to make the best use of the power of the cloud and Google’s strength in search. Google uses both AI to present relevant just-in-time content to users and encourages users to search for content quickly and easily find the emails or email threads they are looking for. Google is working hard to provide users with all the tools they need in one place by integrating Google Chat and Spaces, Google Meet via picture in picture and Google Docs editing directly into the Gmail interface. Calendar, Tasks and Google Keep as well as multiple marketplace apps are also integrated using a handy pop out side-bar.

Outlook on the other hand keeps chat in Microsoft Teams separate from email and is designed for users who like to organise their email into relevant folders and to display as much information in the main window as possible. Outlook also allows users to sort emails in various ways which Gmail does not. 

Microsoft 365 has always had the better solution for Shared Mailboxes as you can easily add them to your folder view in Outlook. Gmail has mail delegation which allows you to use different mailboxes and view them in a separate browser tab.

Difference in Cloud Storage and Collaboration

Both suites come with substantial amounts of storage, aside from the cheapest Google Workspace version, Basic, which offers only 30GB per person. The two more expensive Google Workspace options include 2TB and 5TB’s respectively while Microsoft 365 provides 1TB for users across all plans.

There’s little to differentiate Google Workspace and Microsoft 365’s Storage and shared documents features from one another. Both Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive for Business integrate directly with their own office suites, and both allow you to access the files on any device although the Google Drive mobile versions are considerably more refined and user friendly than OneDrive or Sharepoint Online. 

When it comes to collaborating on documents, Google Drive is far more natural than Microsoft 365 as it’s baked right into the interface and designed specifically for the digital native, rather than feeling like an afterthought as it does in MIcrosoft 365. Everything is in front of you to invite people to collaborate, set their collaboration rights, and chat with them while you do the work together. There’s a deeper learning curve for using collaboration in Microsoft 365, and even when you learn how to do it, it’s not nearly as seamless as Google Workspace.

Difference in Administration and Security

Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace are designed to meet stringent data privacy and security standards and both platforms are IRAP accredited in Australia (although Microsoft 365 has some caveats). The online suites are regularly updated and patched, which keeps them secure for the most part. Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace allow platform administrators to customise security protocols to control user access and permissions.

A consideration here is that if desktop apps are not updated automatically then you are dependent on the users to update applications themselves to patch security issues. Google Workspace is completely cloud based so all applications are patched automatically in the background. This means Google manages security so you don’t have to.

Both suites provide comprehensive reporting features also. Google Workspace has these all in one place while with Microsoft 365 you may need to traverse multiple admin consoles or use powershell. The data you can gather with Microsoft 365 API’s beats Google in detail while Google provides essential data in a single place. 

Phone, email and chat support is provided by both companies 365 days a year and 24 hours a day.

Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365, which one is for you?

In today’s changing environment, much of the burden of facilitating communication in a dynamic digital workspace falls on the productivity suite. In this critical area of company productivity, studies show that Google Workspace continues to outpace Microsoft 365 by large margins. 

Google Workspace was born in the cloud and built with a mobile-first design ethos. 

It works out of the box on a browser with a seamless device-agnostic UX from desktop to mobile devices. Owing to its leanness, it works at a high speed even with slow connectivity and low device processing power making it the essential tool for hybrid working. Microsoft 365 has evolved over time from a product that is designed to be used by users working alone or offline and this is often visible in the online and mobile collaboration experience.

According to a report from The Economist’s Intelligence Unit, employees who use mobile technology are typically more productive, creative, satisfied, and loyal. The 2016 study concludes that the “ability to work anywhere at any time” has a strong impact on workers’ productivity and job satisfaction. The data shows that Google Workspace delivers a more seamless mobile working experience than Microsoft 365. 

Google Workspace’s best quality is its usability; It’s intuitive enough for employees to use from their first day with minimal training. Underpinning all these features, admins have just the right amount of tools to manage users, settings and resources. This is all particularly helpful for SMEs, educational institutions and non-profits with non-technical users and stretched IT teams. 

Microsoft 365 is really a set of desktop tools that has remained the gold standard for personal productivity. Consequently, Microsoft 365 has robust desktop clients for both Windows and Mac, providing productivity tools for a work-from-anywhere user. This combined with the offline capabilities of OneDrive for Business helps employees to easily work offline on documents. 

The main differentiating factor that separates Microsoft 365 from Google Workspace is that Microsoft 365 apps are available in both desktop and web versions. This enables you to download and install desktop versions on your users’ local devices. However, in the world of being consistently online, are there any real benefits to having local applications and locally stored data? 

Looking at the topic of security, a workforce that is not centralised in managed infrastructure can be tricky in the new world of constant online attacks. 

If your users must have installed applications and often work alone and possibly in offline situations, then Microsoft 365 may be the best choice for your organisation.

If you are a progressive, security focused, mobile first and fast moving organisation with a small IT team and your users like to work together to get things done more efficiently then Google Workspace may be the best product for you.