When you hear the term “productivity suite” chances are two products spring immediately to mind: Google’s G Suite, and Microsoft’s Office 365. 

Both products offer similar functionality and both are popular amongst business users - but which suite has the most to offer your business? 

Perhaps you’re starting a new business; maybe you’re an established organization who’s embracing digital transformation, or perhaps you’re a long-term Office 365 or G Suite user who’s wondering whether the grass really is greener on the other side. In this article, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at the pros and cons of Office 365 and G Suite, and highlighting some common scenarios where you may want to opt for one suite over the other. 

By the end of this article, you’ll have all the information you need to choose the productivity suite that’s the perfect fit for your business. 

What are G Suite and Office 365? 

G Suite and Office 365 are a pair of productivity suites that allow you to perform many common business tasks in the cloud, such as creating spreadsheets, sharing word processing documents, and collaborating with other members of your team regardless of geographical location. 

Google’s G Suite includes Gmail, Forms, Vault, Jamboard, Calendar, Keep, Sites, Hangouts, and other popular Google apps. If you’ve ever used Google Drive, then G Suite also includes Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides. 

Office 365 provides access to many popular Microsoft apps, including Outlook, OneDrive, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, One Note, Skype, Exchange Server, and SharePoint. 

Throughout this article we’ll be comparing and contrasting these two cloud-based services, but you’ll get all the benefits of migrating to the cloud regardless of which suite you opt for, including reduced maintenance costs, easier collaboration, and increased protection against the growing threat of mobile data theft. 

G Suite or Office: Which suite is right for my business?

When deciding which productivity suite is the best fit for your business, you should consider the following: 

Does this suite represent the best value for money?

Budget is a major factor when making any business decision, particularly if you’re a startup or a smaller business, who tend to have tighter budgets. However, even if you’re a global enterprise with a generous budget, getting the maximum possible return on your investments is essential to growing your business. 

The good news is that the pricing for cloud-based services tends to be more flexible, with most cloud providers offering multiple payment plans that can be tailored to suit your exact needs. 

G Suite has three pricing plans that specifically target business users: 

● Basic. This provides 30 GB of storage, a business email addresses, video and voice conferencing, shared calendars and Docs, Sheets and Slides, for £4.60 per user, per month. 

● Business. This provides all of the above, plus unlimited cloud storage and archiving, priced at £9.20 per user, per month. 

● Enterprise. This is Google’s premium office suite, which features advanced controls and capabilities, priced at £20 per user, per month. 

For Office 365, we can offer the following subscriptions for businesses with 300 users or under: 

● Business Essentials. This provides Office 365, a 50 GB mailbox, 1 TB of file storage, Skype and Microsoft Teams, priced at £3.68 per user, per month. 

● Business. This provides access to Office 365, 1 TB of storage and mobile applications for £7.72 per user, per month. 

● Business Premium. This package offers all the features of Business and Business Essentials for £9.05 per user, per month. 

● Microsoft 365 Business. This is a bundle of services which includes Office 365, plus additional services including Windows 10 Enterprise and Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS). Microsoft 365 Business is priced at £14.74 per user, per month. 

If you require unlimited users, then we can also offer the following subscriptions: 

● Microsoft Office 365 Enterprise F1. Priced at £2.92 per user, per month. 

● Microsoft Office 365 Enterprise E3. Priced at £16.98 per user, per month. 

● Microsoft Office 365 Enterprise E5. Priced at £30.08 per user, per month. 

● Microsoft 365 Enterprise F1. Priced at £7.35 per user, per month. 

● Microsoft 365 Enterprise E3. Priced at £25.75 per user, per month. 

● Microsoft 365 Enterprise E5. Priced at £50.44 per user, per month. 

At Systems Assurance we can work with you to devise a plan that fulfills all of your needs, while representing the best possible value for money. For more information, why not schedule a free consultation with one of our engineers?

How much storage space do I need?

One of the major benefits of cloud-based productivity suites, is the ability to access all of your documents and data from any location, at any time. If you’re going to take full advantage of one of the cloud’s most powerful features, then you need to ensure you have enough storage space. 

The amount of storage included in Office 365 and G Suite will vary depending on which plan you opt for. 

G Suite provides 30 GB of cloud storage for each user as part of their basic plan, and 1 TB of storage per user if you have less than 5 users on a Business or Enterprise plan. If you have more than 5 users, then you’ll get unlimited storage as part of G Suite’s Business and Enterprise plans. Meanwhile, Office 365 provides 1 TB of cloud storage with all their plans, including their Business and Essential plans. 

When deciding which productivity suite is best for your business, you need to evaluate how much storage space you’ll need. If 1 TB is plenty of space, then you can be confident that any Office 365 plan will meet all of your businesses’ storage needs, but if you require more than 1 TB of storage then you may want to consider G Suite and its unlimited storage options. 

Business communication tools: Helping your employees communicate

Digital communication tools are essential to businesses of all sizes, and spanning all industries. 

If you’re a globally distributed business, then tools such as instant messaging and video conferencing may be the main way you communicate with your colleagues. Even if you’re a small startup where everyone is located in the same office, sending an instant message is often far less disruptive than walking up to your colleague's desk and interrupting whatever important task they’re currently working on. 

Both Office 365 and G Suite include several communication tools. 

For video conferencing, G Suite provides Hangouts, whereas an Office 365 subscription includes Skype. Both are reliable video conferencing applications, but if you regularly host conferences with third parties, then it’s important to note that Skype is more well-known than Hangouts. Trying to arrange a Hangout with a third party who is unfamiliar with Google’s application, can be a frustrating experience. 

If you ever need to call a telephone number, then you can use Hangouts to make local calls at no extra cost. However, Skype-to-phone calls are not included as part of your Office 365 subscription. To make a phone call, you’ll need to purchase Skype credit on top of your Office 365 plan, or use an alternative tool. 

Office 365 and G Suite both include an instant messaging solution. Office 365 provides Microsoft Teams, which is a powerful instant messaging workspace, whereas G Suite uses 

Hangouts, which has a more limited feature set. If you simply want a way to exchange messages and files with your colleagues, then Hangouts should meet all of your needs, but it does lack some of the more powerful features found in Microsoft Teams. For example, you can use Teams alongside Microsoft Flow, to create powerful automated workflows where the relevant Teams are automatically notified every time your business is mentioned on social media, or when there’s a document awaiting your approval. 

Gmail or Outlook?

Both Office 365 and G Suite allow you to create a professional business email using your existing domain name. G Suite uses the same technology as Gmail, whereas Office 365 provides an Outlook-based solution. 

When it comes to accessing your emails, both Google and Microsoft give you plenty of options. Outlook is available as a desktop client and as a mobile app, and can also be accessed via any web browser. In addition, Outlook is compatible with the Gmail mobile app, so your employees have the option to access their work emails inside the Gmail application, if they’d prefer. 

Gmail can be accessed via any web browser or in the Gmail mobile app, which comes pre-installed on many Android smartphones and tablets. However, there’s no Gmail desktop client, which may be a deal-breaker for some organizations. 

When it comes to functionality, Google’s Gmail takes a streamlined approach, while Outlook delivers a more advanced feature set. For example, you can use the Outlook desktop app to create rules that manage all of your incoming and outgoing emails automatically, including sorting incoming emails into folders, and flagging specific emails as urgent based on their contents. 

If you’re looking for an email client that’s easy to use, and don’t necessarily require a desktop app, then Gmail should meet all of your needs. However, if you want to perform more advanced tasks, then Outlook is geared towards power users, and the fact that it integrates with Gmail and provides a desktop client, are both factors working in Outlook’s favour. 

How can I access my apps?

Both Office 365 and G Suite provide a portfolio of business apps that allow you to create, share, edit and store a wide range of files and data in the cloud. 

You can access all of G Suite’s applications in any web browser, and Google provides various mobile apps that make it easy to access your G Suite content on any iOS or Android device. Since G Suite is a Google product, it’s no surprise that many of these mobile apps come 

pre-installed on Android smartphones and tablets, which is an added bonus if your employees already own an Android device. 

However, G Suite doesn’t include any desktop applications, and it has limited support for offline editing. If you’re offline, then you’ll only be able to access and edit a G Suite document if you explicitly marked that document as available for offline editing, prior to you losing Internet connectivity. It’s frustratingly easy to find yourself in a situation where you lose your Internet connection, only to immediately realise that the document you were working on isn’t available offline. 

Even if you did have the foresight to make this particular document available offline, G Suite has limited offline editing functionality, so you may still struggle to continue working on that document without an active Internet connection. In particular, G Suite’s lack of offline support can cause serious problems if your employees regularly work offsite or travel, or if you ever experience issues or interruptions with your office’s network. 

By contrast, Microsoft provides cloud-native and desktop deployments of all their Office 365 business apps. Even if you lose your Internet connection, you’ll still be able to access and use all of Microsoft’s business applications, by switching to their desktop counterparts. 

If you require a productivity suite that’s accessible regardless of the state of your Internet connection, then this is one area where Office has a very clear advantage over G Suite. 

Will my data be secure?

The cloud isn’t inherently any less secure than storing your data locally, but security is still one of the major concerns many businesses have when migrating to the cloud. 

Both G Suite and Office 365 have a wide range of features dedicated to ensuring your private data remains private, including spam, virus and malware detection tools that automatically scan all documents, emails, and attachments. 

Both G Suite and Office 365 support multi-factor authentication, sometimes referred to as two-factor authentication. Once you enable multi-factor authentication, you can be confident that even if a malicious third party does acquire one of your employee’s passwords, they won’t be able to hack into your company account without passing at least one additional security check. 

Uniquely, Office 365 uses powerful artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to learn each of your employee’s habits, which gives it a significant advantage in identifying suspicious behaviour. Office 365 also has powerful device management capabilities that allow you to perform tasks such as remotely wiping a lost or stolen mobile device that contains confidential corporate data, or restricting your employees’ Office 365 access to approved, company-issued devices. 

Regardless of whether you opt for Office 365 or G Suite, you can be confident that you’ll have access to all the advanced threat detection and security tools you need to keep your corporate data safe - although you’ll still need to ensure your employees are using the cloud responsibly

So, which productivity suite is right for me?

In this article, we explored the strengths and drawbacks of two of the most popular cloud-based productivity suites. However, if you’re still unsure whether G Suite or Office 365 is the best fit for your business, then it may help to focus on the following: 

What do I want from my productivity suite?

At a high-level, if you’re a startup or smaller businesses who’s looking for an online suite that’s straightforward and easy to use, then G Suite is generally a more natural fit as it has a gentler learning curve and a more focused feature set. 

For enterprises who require a rich, advanced feature set and a suite that’s capable of processing detailed documents and large amounts of data, Office 365 is more likely to deliver the horsepower you’re looking for. 

How do the minor differences impact me?

Office 365 and G Suite are both modern, reliable productivity suites, to the point where many of their differences seem relatively minor. However, you should consider whether any of these minor differences could have a major impact on your business, for example if your staff regularly work offsite then G Suite’s limited offline support could have a huge impact on your employees’ productivity. 

What technologies are my employees already familiar with?

You should consider which platforms you and your employees are already familiar with, as this will affect the amount of time, effort and training required to get your business up and running with your new productivity suite. 

If your existing systems are based on the Windows operating system, then migrating to Office 365 may be more straightforward than adopting G Suite, as your employees will likely be familiar with at least some of the Office applications. 

What’s next?

Once you’ve chosen your productivity suite, you’ll need to purchase the plan that represents the best value for your business, roll out your new suite, migrate any existing data and documents, 

and perhaps consider organizing some staff training to ensure you’re getting the very best out of your new productivity suite. 

At Systems Assurance, we have extensive experience helping businesses through every step of migrating to both Office 365 and G Suite. 

If you’re ready to migrate to the cloud, then why not get in touch to find out how we can help you get up and running with your chosen productivity suite? Or, if you’re still unsure then our team of experts will be happy to book a free consultation where we can discuss your unique case, and help you decide whether Microsoft or Google has the most to offer your business. 

Claim Your One Month FREE Trial of Microsoft 365 E5 Today.

Speak to a member of our team today 0114 292 2911 or email sales@systemsassurance.com if you need any assistance.

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