G Suite vs Office 365

March 14, 2019 | Posted by: Meghan Donovan

G Suite vs Office 365

Product Comparison & Buying Guide

If you’re looking for a cloud platform and/or a suite of business apps for your office or startup, then you’re probably trying to choose between Office 365 and G Suite (formerly Google Apps).

Each is a fine option with distinct advantages and disadvantages.

In this article we’ll provide a complete G Suite vs Office 365 comparison, clarifying the differences between these two product suites to help you decide if G Suite or Office 365 is the better choice for your business, and which option within each of those office product suites will work for you.

We’ll compare these two products in terms of their

  • Pricing,
  • Features, and
  • Ease of use

These are the three factors which help most business owners and office administrators choose Office 365 or G Suite.

We’ll also provide some insights you can’t find elsewhere about what it’s like to use each product suite on a day-to-day basis.

And just as a quick reminder, Suitebriar is a Google Cloud Premium Partner, so if you choose G Suite and want some help optimizing your business’ setup, just contact us. We’ll be happy to add you to our list of satisfied clients, which includes Reddit, Century 21 Canada, and many other companies.

So let’s get started!

What Are Office 365 and G Suite and What Do They Do?

Office 365 vs G Suite - Working in the Cloud

G Suite and Office 365 are each a suite of productivity tools which allow businesses to perform common tasks in the cloud.

With either product suite you can create spreadsheets, documents, and presentations, and both Office 365 and G Suite allow you to collaborate with team members seamlessly while doing so. Each product suite offers cloud storage and video conferencing as well.

Cloud storage is something most businesses are migrating to, as it moves your business files to Google or Microsoft’s secure servers, which frees up memory on your local machines, provides added security for your files, and can make collaboration on documents faster and easier across your enterprise.

Each product suite is backed by a blue-chip tech titan.

G Suite is Google’s suite of office products, and Office 365 is from Microsoft.

Price Options: G Suite vs Office 365, Which is the Better Value?

Both G Suite and Office 365 provide a range of pricing plans. You can find a plan that will work well for your business with either product suite.

I’ll go into the specific pricing options (and what you get for each package these companies offer) for both Office 365 and G Suite in this section, but first I’d like to provide some general observations by someone who has worked with both suites of products that might save you some time.

To me, there are two key differences between G Suite and Office 365 in terms of pricing.

#1 Flexibility

G Suite provides significantly more flexibility because your cost per user is charged month-to-month, without an annual contract. Office 365 charges a monthly cost per user as well, but Microsoft requires an annual commitment for each user license you buy.

This is a big deal for companies that value agility and want to reduce wasteful spending. If you have a lot of seasonal turn-over in your business, or you’re a start up that’s expanding your team quickly as your business grows, then G Suite’s month-by-month contracts will probably be better for you, and save your business money.

Winner: G Suite

#2 Simplicity

Office 365 has a range of complicated product tiers and packages for you to choose from. While this will allow you to choose an office app package that’s a great fit for your business, it’s much more complicated to wade through their business and enterprise-level packages to decide what the best value for your business will be. This can waste time, and in my experience it can be much tougher to feel confident that you are getting everything that you need (and nothing you don’t).

G Suite, on the other hand, is simple and clear (like most things Google), with 3 pricing tiers to choose from and clear fees on a per user, per month basis so you can calculate your business expense quickly and easily, and add and subtract the user licenses you need as your business grows and changes during any given year.

Winner: G Suite

Now that these general observations are covered, let’s dig in and see exactly what you’re getting for the money with each product offered in G Suite and Office 365.

G Suite Pricing Options

G Suite PricingGoogle offers 3 pricing plans that you can choose from, which makes it easy to forecast your total expenditure and to choose a cloud product suite that will work for your budget.

Suitebriar’s experts are happy to go over each with you in-depth to help you choose the best G Suite package for your business, just say hello and we’ll work with you to come up with a custom plan to save you money and make your business more efficient.

G Suite Basic Package Price

Costs only $5 per user, per month and offers you:

  • Business email through Gmail
  • Secure video and voice conferencing
  • Shared calendars across the enterprise
  • Documents, Spreadsheets, and Presentations
  • 24/7 Support by phone, email and online
  • Security and administration controls
  • 30GB of cloud storage included.*

G Suite Business Package Price

Costs only $10 per user, per month and offers you everything in G Suite Basic plus:

  • Unlimited cloud storage (instead of 30GB). If you have fewer than 5 users, each user has 1TB of cloud storage included.*
  • Smart Search across G Suite and Cloud Search.
  • Archive and Set Retention policies for email and chat.
  • eDiscovery for emails, chats, and files.
  • Audit reports to track user activity.

G Suite Enterprise Package Price

Costs only $25 per user, per month and offers you everything in G Suite Business plus:

  • Data loss prevention for Gmail
  • Data loss prevention for Drive
  • Hosted S/MIME for Gmail
  • The ability to integrate Gmail with compliant third-party archiving tools
  • Enterprise-grade access control with security key enforcement
  • Gmail log analysis in BigQuery

* Note that the cloud storage limits do not include any files and documents created with Google Apps (like Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc.)

For most businesses the key difference between G Suite Package pricing options involves the differences in included cloud storage. The Business and Enterprise packages are an excellent value, particularly if you have more than 5 users (these packages will then offer you unlimited cloud storage space).

One important consideration that many people overlook when it comes to cloud storage from G Suite is that documents created with Google’s products (i.e. Google Sheets, Google Docs, Google Slides, etc.) do not count toward your cloud storage usage. These will probably be the bulk of your needs if your business chooses G Suite, which makes the additional storage of 1TB per user plenty for most small businesses with 5 or fewer users.

This is a real advantage for G Suite over Office 365, where Microsoft files can quickly eat up the cloud storage space you pay for.

The Enterprise plan is the best G Suite choice for companies concerned with data loss prevention - i.e. you want to prevent your users from moving files with sensitive data outside of your organization.

Organizations who want to be able to easily archive and search all business communications should choose the Business or Enterprise packages, as the e-Discovery features are great for this. If you ever need to dig up communications history for legal reasons, this feature gives you the ability to do that whenever you need to, which is a valuable feature for most businesses.

Microsoft Office 365 Pricing Options

Office 365 PricingMany businesses feel that the pricing options for Microsoft’s Office 365 product suites are more complicated, and they’re right.

Office 365 is structured with packages for home, business, enterprise business, and education. Within each of those categories there are a number of sub-versions, which can make it challenging for users to determine which will work best for them.

But this isn’t all bad.

One advantage to business users who choose Office 365 is that the number of options and sub-versions offers you some flexibility in terms of what you sign up for. If you have the patience, you can build a package that’s tailored to your business needs.

G Suite’s packages are designed to make it easy to choose a low-cost package that will work for most businesses. Office 365 can deliver a more tailored suite of products if you don’t mind slogging through a lot of information before you buy.

And that’s the real downside here. It’s time consuming and frustrating to determine what you need, why you need it, and to figure out exactly how much it’s going to cost you with Office 365 from Microsoft.

As I’ve mentioned, Office 365 also requires an annual commitment when you go with them, whereas if you choose G Suite, you can be month to month (something I really like for small teams that are growing, or businesses with seasonal employees where the number of business users changes frequently throughout the year).

Your dollars will be spent less efficiently with Microsoft.

To save time with this article, let’s focus on the Business and Enterprise Office 365 plans, and I’ll try to clarify exactly what you get with each product suite to help you choose the right one:

Office 365 Business Essentials Price

$5 per user, per month, annual commitment ($60 per user, per year).

The Business Essentials package only offers you access to Microsoft’s Web and Mobile office applications (you won’t have access to MS Word, MS Excel, PowerPoint, Access, or Outlook for your PCs, Macs, or mobile devices.

Microsoft describes this plan as being best for businesses that require business email and other business services and are satisfied with using web apps for all of these products.

Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint and Microsoft Teams are the included services for the Business Essentials package.

Office 365 Business Price

$8.25 per user, per month, annual commitment ($99 per user, per year).

The Office 365 Business package offers users access to Microsoft Office applications such as Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access (PC only) on PC, Mac, and Mobile.

Business email is not included in the Office 365 Business package, and the only service that is included is OneDrive.

Microsoft describes this package as being best for businesses that need Office applications and cloud file storage and sharing on their computers (but don’t want to primarily work in the cloud).

If you are looking for business email service, this is not the best choice for you, though you can use their Outlook application with other business email services with this option.

Office 365 Business Premium Price

$12.50 per user, per month, annual commitment ($150 per user, per year).

The Office 365 Business Premium package is the best small business package offered by Office 365 outside of their enterprise options.

Microsoft says Business Premium is ideal for business that need business email, office applications to use on their PC, Mac and mobile devices, as well as a collection of cloud services.

Included are MS Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access (PC only), and OneDrive, Exchange, SharePoint, and Microsoft Teams are included services.

Microsoft Office 365 Enterprise Pricing

Just like with their business offerings, Office 365 for enterprise requires an annual commitment, which I’m not a fan of.

There are four Enterprise packages offered by Microsoft:

Office 365 ProPlus

$12 per user, per month, annual commitment ($144 per user, per year).

Users will have access to Microsoft Office applications and cloud-based file-storage and sharing from Microsoft. Business email is not included in the Office 365 ProPlus package. The only service included is OneDrive.

Each user has access to 1TB of OneDrive storage

Office 365 Enterprise E1

$8 per user, per month, annual commitment ($96 per user, per year).

With the Enterprise E1 version of Office 365, your enterprise employees can take advantage of file storage and sharing, Office online, meetings, and instant messaging, and more. None of the Microsoft Office applications for PC, Mac, or Mobile are included (so you won’t have Microsoft Excel, Word, Outlook, etc. with Enterprise E1.

Office 365 Enterprise E3

$20 per user, per month, annual commitment ($240 per user, per year).

The more expensive Office 365 Enterprise E3 package from Microsoft provides users with all of the features of both of the less expensive Enterprise solutions (ProPlus and Enterprise E1). Additionally, security and compliance tools are included with Enterprise E3, so you have access to legal hold, data loss prevention, and more. This brings Enterprise E3 more closely in line with G Suite’s enterprise package.

Office 365 Enterprise E5

$35 per user, per month, annual commitment ($420 per user, per year).

Microsoft’s most expensive Enterprise E5 product combines all of the features of Office 365 Enterprise E3, and includes advanced security, analytics, and voice capabilities.

What’s the Difference Between Office 365 Business and Enterprise?

If your business requires services for more than 300 employees, then Office 365’s business offerings are not on the table.

If you have more than 300 users you have to choose an enterprise product from Microsoft.

Microsoft's E3 and E5 enterprise products also include more features in terms of data loss and security, something that is offered with the less expensive G Suite Enterprise product as well.

Other Key Takeaways About Office 365 Options for Business & Enterprise

Here are 4 key points to consider when you’re shopping Office 365 products for your business:

  • The Business Essentials and Enterprise E1 Office 365 plans do not provide access to desktop versions of popular products like Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint, etc. If you want to work locally with these products, make sure you do not choose either of these plans. (This makes your minimum cost $8.25  per user, per month for Office 365 vs. $5 per user, per month for G Suite).
  • Not all Office 365 plans provide users with an email account. If you need email service from Office 365 make sure you do not choose their “Business” or “Enterprise Pro Plus” plans.
  • Similarly, “Business” and “Enterprise Pro Plus” do not offer calendar functionality, something that’s critical for many businesses.
  • If Video collaboration is important to you, You will have to choose an Enterprise plan, as “Microsoft Stream” is only available in those options.

So Which Is Cheaper, G Suite or Office 365?

The short answer is it depends.

For most businesses G Suite will be the less expensive option, driven in large part by the flexibility to increase and decrease your user licenses month-to-month as your business needs change.

Best Shoestring Budget Option: Office 365 vs G Suite

In general the most comparable products at the “cheap” end of the spectrum are G Suite Basic ($5 per user, per month) and Office 365 Business Essentials ($60 per user, per year).

Each offers a suite of web and cloud based apps. Office 365’s option offers 50GB email storage and 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage per user (compared to G Suite’s 30GB per user). That’s a pretty significant difference in cloud storage capacity, but remember that all of your Google Docs, Slides, and Spreadsheets don’t count toward G Suite’s cloud storage limit.

Best Overall Value for Businesses: G Suite vs Office 365

G Suite Business ($10 per user, per month) and Office 365 Enterprise E1 ($96 per user, annually) are another set of packages that are “basically” comparable offerings to businesses.

For most startups and small businesses with more than 5 employees, G Suite’s business package stands out as the best overall value in either set of offerings.

Both Office 365 E1 and G Suite Business offer web and cloud based apps to businesses, but G Suite’s Business package offers unlimited cloud storage (as long as you have over 5 users), whereas E1 offers only 1 TB of OneDrive storage.

Smart Search, Cloud Search, and eDiscovery are incredibly useful in G Suite Business, and I prefer them over Microsoft’s Delve offering in Enterprise E1.

Best Enterprise Cloud Services Platform: Office 365 vs G Suite

Office 365 E5 ($420 per user, per year)  is more expensive than G Suite’s Enterprise package ($25 per user, per month), and as I’ve mentioned, being locked in to annual user licenses does result in some contract bloat for most businesses.

With that said, the Enterprise-level Microsoft product does offer a few more options which Google’s suite does not offer. The first is personal and organizational analytics with MyAnalytics and Power BI Pro. Everyone knows about Google’s analytics platform, but many enterprise-level businesses will like the features offered by Microsoft for evaluating internal performance.

The second option (which is offered as an add-on option for additional money), is that Microsoft can be your provider for domestic and international calls at your enterprise. The domestic-only phone package is $144 per user, per year, and domestic + international phone packages will run you an additional $288 per user, per year. Whether this is a valuable add-on for your business is a question you’ll have to answer internally, but for many businesses, having one provider for many organizational services simplifies things.

If you’re going with Office 365 E5 over G Suite’s Enterprise, and are going to add on the domestic-only calling, you’ll be spending $564 annually per user, and those licenses require an up-front annual premium. With G Suite Enterprise, you’ll be spending $25 per month per user, with the flexibility to add/subtract users to control costs throughout the year.

Without adding phone service, you’ll save $120 annually per employee license by going with Google’s enterprise product suite.

Features: Office 365 vs G Suite, Which Offers More?

Features: Office 365 vs G Suite

In this section of our comparison between G Suite and Office 365 we’ll compare some of the key features which matter most to most small businesses and enterprises.

File Storage: G Suite or Office 365

G Suite vs Office 365: Cloud File Storage

As far as the cheapest, entry-level plan Office 365 is the clear winner in terms of file storage. Office 365 Business Essentials plans offer 1TB of storage per user, whereas Google’s Basic plan offers only 30GB of cloud storage per user. While Google Docs, Sheets, and other files in Google Apps do not count toward this total, your emails do.

However, if you move up to G Suite’s Business plan and have more than 5 user licenses, you have unlimited cloud storage for every user for only $10 per month. This beats all but the most expensive Microsoft plans in terms of file storage, and is an incredible value -- the best value you’ll find for cloud storage almost anywhere.

While 1TB of storage offered by Microsoft’s Office 365 in comparably priced and slightly more expensive plans sounds generous, you’ll be surprised how quickly employees burn through that terabyte of cloud storage … especially if you have teams that work with high-resolution images and/or video files. It’ll be gone in a heartbeat, at which point you’ll be piling on extra money for extra storage space.

If you have employees that work primarily with documents and spreadsheets, Office 365’s 1TB will probably be sufficient, but if I can get unlimited storage space for the same (or a lower) price, I will do it every time, which is why I offer the edge in file storage to Google’s G Suite, providing you are not a solopreneur or small business with fewer than 5 employees on your team.

To give you an idea of the cost of extra cloud storage for both companies, let’s take a look at the add-on storage costs for both companies if you want to purchase additional space for specific users or across your business.

Cost to Add Cloud Storage: G Suite

As I’ve mentioned, the only time you’ll need to buy additional storage space is if you go with the basic plan, or the business plan and buy fewer than 5 user licenses.

If this describes you and you need additional storage beyond the 30GB per user included in the G Suite Basic plan, it will cost you an extra $4 per user, per month per 4GB of extra file storage space. At the high end, you can go up to 16TB per user, but that will cost you an extra $1,430 per user, per month … which is crazy. At that point, just upgrade to the Business plan and buy a few extra licenses that you won’t use to get everyone in your organization unlimited file storage.

As an example, if you have 2 employees who work for you and you currently pay $15 per month for your three G Suite Basic licenses, upgrading to five G Suite Business licenses will cost you only $35 more per month and your whole team will have unlimited file storage in addition to the other perks that come with G Suite’s Business package. This works for most very small business teams, and $50 per month total is still a very good value, especially when you compare it to the cost of adding cloud storage by the gigabyte or terabyte.

Cost to Add Cloud Storage: Office 365

Microsoft’s website is confusing, but it looks like every 1GB of extra cloud storage space you add to the 1TB plans costs $0.20 per user, per month (or $200 per user, per month for each additional Terabyte).

This underscores the value of buying an Office 365 plan that comes with 1TB … you might be paying $12 per month for Office 365 ProPlus, a package that includes a terabyte of cloud storage and feel great about the fact that Microsoft charges $200 for that 1TB as an add-on by itself.

With that said, just as with G Suite it’s much cheaper to upgrade to one of the Enterprise-level licenses that comes with unlimited file storage instead of adding on storage to less expensive licenses, and that’s what I recommend you to do if you’re working in Office 365.

File Storage Winner: G Suite

G Suite is the clear winner when it comes to cloud file storage unless you work alone, or you work with just 1 employee (2 team members total).

If you work alone, or have only 2 people on your team, the Office 365 Enterprise E3 license ($20 per user, per month … annual commitment) is the least expensive way to get unlimited cloud storage.

If you have 3 or more people on your team, you can save a minimum of $10 per month by purchasing five G Suite Business licenses (and get unlimited file storage for everyone on your team) rather than buying Office 365 licenses.

Business Email: Office 365 or G Suite

Office 365 vs G Suite: Which Has the Better Business Email

At the entry level offering, you’ll be better off going with Office 365 over G Suite Basic. This is mostly because of the difference in available storage at the entry-level price of $5 per user, per month.

For $5 per user, per month (although it is charged annually for $60 up front), Office 365 offers a dedicated 50GB inbox to each user in addition to the 1TB of file storage they provide at their entry-level business plan.

G Suite Basic, on the other hand, caps storage for email and all files at 30GB at their $5 per user, per month package. That’s not a lot of storage.

The good news (as discussed previously), is that if you upgrade to G Suite Business at $10 per user, per month with a minimum of 5 licenses, your email (and other) file storage becomes unlimited, at which point G Suite offers the better email option to small business and enterprises.

You can contrast this with Office 365’s most expensive plans, which cap your mailbox at 100GB (even at the $20 and $35 per user, per month Microsoft plans).

In reality, though, through archiving you’re able to store more than 100GB of emails with Microsoft’s top enterprise-level plans. It’s more complicated to set this up than it is with G Suite Business (which gives you an unlimited inbox and requires zero set-up), but with Microsoft’s most expensive Enterprise plans you won’t really have to worry about inbox storage capacity either, it just requires some set-up to get there.

In terms of the actual email apps, Gmail has an edge in G Suite. It’s fast, easy to use, with a powerful search functionality. Also, the popularity of Gmail has produced a number of strong third-party email apps which allow you to customize your set-up and improve its functionality as well.

However, Outlook (the offline version available in some, but not all Office 365 packages), does have an advantage to business users in terms of mail sorting, labeling, and generally managing your inbox.

Email Cost Winner: G Suite

From a cost perspective, you get more for less with G Suite and Gmail in the Business package with at least 5 user licenses.

Email Functionality Winner: Office 365 (but it’s close)

It’s close, but for the Office 365 packages that have the desktop Outlook app, we have to give the edge to Microsoft if you require advanced grouping and labeling functionality in your email inbox.

Desktop Applications: The Primary Argument for Office 365

Office 365 or G Suite: Desktop Applications

For many businesses who are selecting between G Suite and Office 365, the availability of desktop apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and more tip the scales toward Office 365.

But should it?

Well, it depends upon your needs.

Many businesses will be fine with a suite of web applications in terms of their day-to-day needs, and in terms of the web-based versions of these apps, the advantage goes to G Suite, where the apps themselves are lighter-weight, faster, more robust, and come with a more expansive set of third-party extensions and integrations that only add to their utility.

But you simply cannot say that Google Sheets has the functionality of Excel for advanced number crunching. What Sheets does offer is the ability to save your spreadsheets to MS Office format to work locally outside of the cloud, and chances are Google Sheets has plenty of functionality for most employees in most businesses (and, again, I like it more than the Microsoft cloud-based spreadsheet app).

While the Microsoft desktop apps are familiar, and robust, one other consideration your business needs to make is the advantage (or disadvantage) of working locally vs. working in the cloud.

All of these apps will have to be installed locally by someone in your organization that knows what he or she is doing, and there will be more ongoing maintenance and troubleshooting involved as well. For most businesses (especially enterprise-level businesses), this creates a hidden IT cost that you need to be aware of when choosing Office 365 or G Suite.

Another thing to consider is that if you choose Microsoft Office 365 for your business, your employees are more likely to work locally vs. working in the cloud. It’s human nature to continue to do things as you’ve always done … so if people have access to the desktop version of Excel, they’re more likely to work there than in Microsoft’s cloud-based spreadsheet app. This will probably reduce the collaboration, security, efficiency, and other advantages your business is seeking in migrating to a cloud-based product suite for your business.

And if you simply cannot let go of the MS Office desktop applications you’re familiar with using, consider a combination of Microsoft and G Suite, leveraging the power of affordable, unlimited cloud storage from G Suite to enhance security and collaboration on work done with Microsoft’s powerful suite of desktop apps.

With that said, we don’t encourage a setup like this, as once you transition to working in the cloud, and give your team the tools and training they need to be comfortable doing so, you will give a jolt to your team’s productivity, improve collaboration, and more.

Remember, we can help you transition to a cloud-based model in your business, no matter how you’re set up today.

Desktop Applications Winner: It depends

The decision, ultimately comes down to the nature of your business, and how you want to work. If your clients expect you to regularly deliver large, perfectly formatted and immaculate Excel files, then you probably will need to go with Microsoft’s Office 365 suite of products. If that requirement isn’t there for your business, G Suite will probably be perfect for your business, and it will save you time and money over working locally with Microsoft Office files.

Web Applications: G Suite vs Office 365

Both Office 365 and G Suite offers a suite of web applications to your business, which you can use to work in the cloud.

These equivalent web-based applications are, loosely:

Office 365 G Suite
Word Google Docs
Excel Google Sheets
PowerPoint Google Slides
Outlook Online Gmail
One Note Online Google Keep
Sharepoint Google Sites
Skype for Web Google Hangouts
Microsoft Teams Google Keep

 

Remember, these are not exact equivalents. The feature set of each product differs, so which suite of web-based applications is best for your business will depend upon how you work, the functions you need, etc.

Each of these web apps will run in your browser, and Google’s Chrome browser is the best choice for the Google products (obviously).

I should note, also, that there are a few Office 365 web apps which aren’t really direct equivalents to G Suite. These are “Stream” and “Yammer.”

Stream is a video service which allows members of your organization to upload, view, and share videos securely (such as classes, presentations, training sessions, etc.).

Yammer is an app that allows you to set up a social network (sort of) for your business that mirrors the functionality of a traditional intranet.

Collaboration in Web Apps: Office 365 vs G Suite

Collaboration: G Suite or Office 365?

One huge advantage to your organization if you transition to working in the cloud is the ability to collaborate across your enterprise.

Your team can collaborate and edit a document together in real time, from their workstations anywhere in the world.

Both Office 365 and G Suite offer good functionality that will enhance collaboration on your team, but Google’s suite of products make this collaboration easier, more intuitive, and (in my experience), more trouble-free.

While Office 365’s apps may have some more features, G Suite’s web-based apps have the features most users need, and were conceived and built as apps with collaboration in mind, wherease Office 365’s web apps were developed as desktop applications first, and evolved to help businesses work in the cloud.

Collaboration Winner: G Suite

Video Calls: G Suite vs Office 365

Both G Suite and Office 365 provide video conferencing options in their suite of applications, and both apps (“Hangouts” from Google, and “Skype” from Microsoft) work well.

There’s not really a data-point to support this that I’m aware of, but having used both apps extensively I’ve experienced fewer drop calls with Hangouts than I have with Skype. The thing I want most from a video conferencing app is one that works, and one that works consistently … so this matters.

The advantage of Microsoft’s video conferencing app is capacity. If you regularly need 250 or more participants on a video call, you’ll want to go with Office 365. In the Enterprise E3 or E5 platforms you can have up to 10,000 participants on a call (but really, you might want to consider a more streamlined way to communicate to a team of 10,000).

By contrast, Google Hangouts has a maximum capacity of 25 users in the Basic and Business plans, but this number rises to 50 if you use “Meet by Google Hangouts” on the Enterprise plan. You can compare the features in classic hangouts and Met hangouts here.

Video Conferencing Winner: G Suite for small teams, Office 365 for large teams

Syncing Local Data to the Cloud: Google Drive Stream vs One Drive

One important feature of working in the cloud is the ability to sync and backup data when people do work locally, or work offline.

Both Google and Microsoft offer desktop apps that provide this service. These apps include:

  • Google Drive File Stream
  • Microsoft OneDrive
  • Microsoft OneDrive Files on Demand

What these apps do is they allow you to save a file in the cloud and then have that file available locally for working offline (and vice versa). This makes backup a breeze (automatic) across your enterprise, which is a feature a lot of organizations really value.

But it also makes data security lower, as if someone is working on a laptop and the laptop is stolen, all of your organizational data may be available locally on that machine, something to consider when you think about which data is available locally to which employees.

Each of these backup apps work in slightly different ways.

OneDrive makes all of your files available locally (or at least the ones you set up syncing for). This is ideal for team members who often work offline.

With Google Drive Stream and Microsoft’s OneDrive Files on Demand, files in the cloud are not downloaded to your computer or device until you open them there. You’ll be able to see all of those files, but they’re only available in the cloud until you open them locally.

This latter approach is better for a few reasons.

First, you will save across your enterprise on local disk space usage … using only what you need without having unused files taking up a lot of storage space on each computer and device used in your organization.

Second, there’s no need to wait for all of your files to sync … you only have to wait for syncing on the files you actually work on. Also, with either Google Drive Stream or Microsoft OneDrive Files on Demand there’s an option to make syncing of any file permanent (good for files you use and update daily anyway), which is nice.

Syncing to the Cloud Winner: Tie

Mobile Apps: G Suite vs Office 365

G Suite or Office 365 Mobile Apps?

Both Office 365 and G Suite offer good mobile apps to access and update files from your smartphone or tablet.

Both Google and Microsoft offer good apps. If you are planning to travel and will want to pull up key docs and spreadsheets to review data on the road, just make sure you open those files while you’re on WiFi so they’re downloaded locally to your device and you’ll be able to view them without eating into your data, and even if you don’t have service where you’re going.

The primary app that most businesses will be concerned with is email. The short answer is that both the Gmail and Outlook apps are “okay.”

Gmail’s app is my favorite of the two, especially now that you can turn off “conversation view,” something I found cumbersome on my phone when it was a fixed feature of my mobile inbox.

Many of the advantages of the desktop version of Outlook are harder to access and utilize in the mobile app, so while it’s good I prefer Google’s email app over Microsoft’s offering.

Mobile App Winner: G Suite

Advanced User Features: Office 365 vs G Suite

Both G Suite and the enterprise plans for Office 365 offer advanced features that many businesses will need or, at the very least, appreciate.

Both products enterprise-grade offerings include:

  • E-discovery Tools
  • Advanced Reporting
  • Email Archiving
  • Intranet Building Tools
  • Data Loss Prevention Tools
  • Legal Holds on Inboxes

Additionally, with Office 365 you’ll have the following available in their most expensive (E3 / E5) plans:

  • Rights Management
  • Cloud Based Phone Call Hosting Services (add-on)
  • Advanced Virus Protection

While we’ve already covered many of these features in-depth in this article when comparing the features between Office 365 and G Suite, the short comparison between advanced user features is that G Suite offers what most businesses will want/need for less money than Office 365.

E-Discovery, advanced reporting, email archiving and legal holds are all standard on G Suite’s $10 per user, per month “Business” plan, which is the cheapest way to get your organization these features.

The $20 per user, per month and $35 per user, per month E3 and E5 Office 365 plans (both of which require a pre-paid annual commitment) offer all of the advanced features your business might need, at more than twice the cost of G Suite.

Advanced Features Winner: G Suite (best value)

Customer Support: Google’s G Suite or Microsoft Office 365

Both G Suite and Office 365 offer 24/7 phone support in English, and email support and support forums are available for each product as well.

Microsoft offers Fasttrack deployment service if your organization has more than 150 users and you go with one of their Office 365 product suites.

And if you go with G Suite, Suitebriar is available to help you transition from your existing setup and train your team to make full use of Google’s suite of cloud products. Just reach out and one of our certified pros will get to know your business and help you choose and implement the perfect plan for you.

Customer Support Winner: G Suite & Suitebriar

Ease of Use: Does G Suite or Office 365 Have the Better User Interface?

One of the most important questions you’re likely to have before you transition to a suite of web applications for your business is how easy those apps are to use.

Remember, that if you’re transitioning to G Suite, Suitebriar can offer enterprise-level training to your entire team to help you hit the ground running.

One of the primary points that needs to be made in terms of ease of use is how popular and universally available the Microsoft suite of office products are. Most people have used Microsoft Word and/or Microsoft Excel before, so from a familiarity standpoint, the web-based versions of those products will probably be easier to use right out of the gate for most of your employees.

With that said, I feel that the simplicity of the productivity tools offered in G Suite packages have a lower learning curve and will be easier to master for most employees. I know that after using both Google Docs and Microsoft Word, I much prefer working in Google Docs. My work is saved to the cloud on the fly, I never have to wait for a document to load, and I don’t get distracted by features I don’t need anyway.

While the online version of Word is similar to Google Docs it definitely takes longer to load and feels more “temperamental” than Google Docs. The one clear edge that Microsoft’s online Word app is that saving documents in MS Office format for someone else to open in their desktop app, you’ll run into much fewer formatting errors.

Overall, both products are relatively easy to use, even if you’ve never used them before. Google’s web applications are more intuitive, lighter, faster, and what I prefer, but if your business requires you to format many of your cloud-based documents and files to be formatted for Microsoft to send to clients, then Office 365 might work better for your company.

Ease of Use Winner: G Suite

Working Offline: Is it easier in G Suite or Office 365?

Is it Easier to Work Offline with G Suite or Office 365?

If you or your employees regularly have to (or want to) work offline, you’re probably wondering if that will be possible with G Suite. After all, most of the apps in the G Suite packages run in a web browser.

Well yes, you can work offline with G Suite. On a PC there are two steps you need to take to work offline with G Suite.

  • Make sure you have installed Google’s Chrome Browser
  • Make sure File Syncing is turned on

This allows you to access and edit Google documents even if your internet connection is down. When it returns, the updates you’ve made will be synced to the cloud.

That’s great for Docs, Sheets, and Slides, but what about Gmail?

The same is true for Gmail, you just have enable offline mail and make sure you’ve downloaded your mail before going offline. As you send emails offline, they get routed to an offline outbox and they will be sent instantly as soon as you reconnect to the internet, allowing you to keep working, even when your connection is not available.

With Office 365, working offline is easy … you simply save your work locally and work in the available desktop apps like Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and more. You do have to make sure all of your documents in the cloud are saved locally and synced locally before you disconnect, and the work you complete offline can be synced as soon as you reconnect to the internet in much the same way as Google’s suite of products.

The key you need to remember with both product suites is to download and save locally any docs and files that you plan to work with before you leave the office or disconnect from the internet to work offline. You can’t go to the park with your laptop and work offline on the latest version of your memo if you haven’t downloaded that file to your laptop before leaving the office.

Working Offline Winner: Tie

Summary Table: Comparing Office 365 to G Suite’s Web Apps

 

Web Application Type Winner
Collaboration

G Suite

Video Calls

G Suite (small teams)

Office 365 (large teams)

Syncing Local Data to the Cloud Tie
Mobile Apps G Suite
Advanced User Features

G Suite (best value)

Customer Support G Suite & Suitebriar
Ease of Use G Suite
Working Offline Tie

 

This table should make it easy for you to decide whether Office 365 or G Suite's web application features will work better for your business by considering which type of web applications you'll use the most.

What If You Need More Functionality from G Suite or Office 365?

G Suite vs Office 365 - Customization

The default versions of either suite of cloud-based apps may leave something to be desired for certain businesses, and if that’s the case for you, you have options.

The first is to rely on third-party plug-ins or extensions to get these Google or Microsoft product suites to where you need them to be.

The Office 365 Store and G Suite Marketplace each offer a number of tools you can leverage to improve the functionality and customize the Microsoft or Google products to work better for your business and meet your specific needs. Some are free, some require payment.

The other way to improve functionality is to code something yourself, or to have someone like Suitebriar (that’s us!) do it for you using the Microsoft or Google API (application program interfaces).

With G Suite, you also have the option (Business plan or higher) to leverage their App Maker tool, as a low-code way to develop apps to perform functions for your business without paying a third-party developer.

If you’re ready to get started and need improved functionality, Contact Suitebriar’s Team of Google Premier Partners to build a custom solution for your business.

Final Thoughts: Is Office 365 or G Suite the Better Choice?

Office 365 or G Suite

Each product suite offers advantages and disadvantages, and while I’ve tried to cover these in-depth in this product comparison guide, it’s likely that you still have questions.

If you do, contact us and one of our experts can talk you through your options and help guide you to the best choice for your business.

In the meantime, here are my final thoughts on why you might pick Google’s product suite over Microsoft’s, and vice versa:

Key Reasons Why You Should Choose G Suite over Office 365

Why Choose G Suite Over Office 365

  • G Suite is very scalable. There are no limitations on the number of users, regardless of the plan you choose. This flexibility is great for most companies, and is a unique advantage of G Suite when compared with Office 365 (their cheaper plans are not an option for companies with 300 or more licenses).
  • File Storage is Cheaper. As long as you are buying at least 5 licenses in the Business plan, everyone on your team will have unlimited cloud storage. Starting at only $50 per month, you cannot beat that price and Office 365 doesn’t come close.
  • More Document Types. You can create both G Suite and Microsoft files with G Suite, something you cannot do with Office 365.
  • Best for Collaboration. G Suite was created with collaboration as a central tenet of the product development team’s mission. It’s the best product suite for collaboration across the enterprise.
  • Advanced Features are Cheaper. eDiscovery, email archiving and legal holds on inboxes, and site building tools are all available in G Suite for a much lower cost than these features are with Office 365.
  • App Maker can Reduce Development Costs. Google’s new app maker product allows you to create custom apps and extensions in-house for less money than you could with Office 365.
  • Best User Interface. The interface for the Google apps (like most things Google) are clean, simple, and clear. This makes the product suite very accessible and user-friendly, which in turn makes the use of these tools more efficient at your company.
  • Forces Adoption of Working in the Cloud. While there are not desktop versions of Google’s web apps, I see this as an advantage because it forces your employees to adopt cloud-based processes. That is what you want.
  • Best for Businesses with Multiple Devices. The mobile apps and interfaces available with G Suite’s products are better than those offered by Microsoft.

Key Reasons Why You Might Choose Office 365 over G Suite

Why Choose Office 365 Over G Suite

  • You Get Desktop Versions of Applications. Many of the Office 365 plans come with the desktop versions of the Microsoft Office Applications. This can make Office 365 a better choice for some businesses who are gun-shy about abandoning all legacy systems and processes.
  • Feature-Rich Apps. I you need advanced features of the applications, you’ll be more satisfied with the Office 365 versions, even the web-based versions are more feature-rich.
  • More File Storage in Entry-Level Plans. While G Suite offers unlimited storage for less money than Office 365, if you’re on a tight budget with a small number of team members, Office 365 offers more cloud storage for less money.
  • More Participants in Video Conference Calls. Skype allows you to have 250 (and up to 10,000 on their most expensive plans) participants on a video conference call. Hangouts from Google is capped at 25-50 depending upon your plan.
  • Phone Call Management Options. Microsoft offers you a phone call integration option as an add-on to some of their most expensive, enterprise-level plans.
  • Outlook Makes Inbox-Management a Breeze. If you’re looking to sort and group your email, Outlook has an edge over Gmail (unless you use Outlook or Thunderbird to access your Gmail inbox).
  • Advanced Functionality is Better. If you need features like virus protection or rights management, Office 365 gives you more options (but these options are pricey).
  • Access and Publisher for Windows-Based Offices. If your team works in Windows, Microsoft Access and Publisher are available to you and may provide a more natural fit in some use-cases.

I hope this article has provided you with the information to make an informed decision for your business between G Suite and Office 365.

If you have more questions about G Suite, or would like to hear more about what Suitebriar can do to help move your business to the cloud with custom G Suite development, training, and implementation contact us today to speak with an expert.