Ask any small business owner, especially one with ambitious growth plans, and they will tell you how important the IT infrastructure is. With the correct systems in place, businesses can become more efficient, effective and gain real competitive edge. In addition, having the right technology in place makes scaling up when growing rapidly far easier.
However, with so many options to choose from, it can be hard to know which is best. While asking for recommendations can be one way to go, just because a friend or peer is using a certain software application for their business doesn’t mean that same technology will work for your unique business needs.
When it comes to IT infrastructure for small businesses and startups, two names that stand out are G Suite and Office 365. While many are no doubt familiar with Microsoft’s Office 365, G Suite is Google’s new version of Google Apps. So, which one is best for small businesses with ambitious growth plans?
Both Google’s G Suite and Microsoft Office 365 offer a range of great features that are essential for small business owners and market themselves as a ‘one stop shop’. They both include business email and calendars, online storage for personal and collaborative use, apps for the creation of spreadsheets, documents and presentations, in addition to the ability to collaborate on these, messaging, calling and video conferencing tools and management features, including sophisticated security elements.
While Office 365 is essentially an extension of the familiar Microsoft Office suite of tools, G Suite is cloud-based.
Cost Effective Solutions
Although there are many more factors than price to consider when choosing technology for your business, cost does, of course, come into it. Both G Suite and Office 365 are fairly competitively priced, offering a range of packages to suit usage levels and needs. They also both come with a reasonable amount of cloud and email storage.
However, G Suite stands out here, as it offers unlimited cloud storage on its plans for over five users and also offers free local calls using its Hangouts and Voice solutions. Office 365 uses Skype Business, which comes at an additional cost.
When it comes to email, both offer the ability to create business email addresses using your domain name. G Suite uses Gmail technology and Office 365 uses Outlook for Business. Preference tends to be quite personal here, depending on which interface people are most familiar with. However, when it comes to integrating with apps on mobile and tablet devices, G Suite pips Office 365 to the post.
All about the Apps
G Suite offers familiar apps such as Gmail, Google Docs, Sheets, Calendar and Hangouts. These are all web-based although they can be used on all operating systems on a desktop browser. Offline functionality, therefore, isn’t great, but for remote teams of workers, it is a good system. They are also inherently more collaborative than Microsoft products, meaning multiple users can work on one document at once.
Office 365 gives access to Word, Excel, Outlook and Powerpoint. These apps do stand out, especially on desktops, for being more sophisticated and offering a higher level of functionality. They have also been industry standards for decades, meaning they are almost ubiquitous with most people having a basic working understanding of how to use them. Microsoft also offers mobile versions of these which are good, but not quite at the same level as the desktop ones. Overall, for business users, Office 365 wins this round.
G Suite tends to lead the way when it comes to communication tools. Video conferencing or messaging in Hangouts or Voice is intuitive and really easy to use. It is also pretty simple to create shared to-do lists and tasks, as well as events.
Office 365 lags behind a bit here. While Skype is a great tool, it is perhaps not as easy to use as the G Suite tools.
Keeping it Safe
Security is obviously a major concern for all businesses and both Office 365 and G Suite come with some really good security features. Office 365 allows users to select multiple factor authentication. It also harnesses the power of AI to flag suspicious activity. The management tool can also be used to restrict access to devices if a data breach is detected. In addition, it uses virus and malware detection tools from Microsoft as an added layer of protection
G Suite also has tight security measures, including two-factor authentication and has ready built-in detection for viruses and malware. In addition, it has sophisticated ways of spotting identifying activity such as hacking attempts.
In all honesty, both Office 365 and G Suite a great tools. A great deal will come down to personal preference and existing familiarity with both interfaces. However, for remote teams especially, G Suite may be the better choice.
Image Credits: Office 365 vs G Suite from WPixz /Shutterstock