Although many organizations have already migrated their email to the cloud, some organizations are still looking to make the change. And many organizations that have migrated to a specific solution are now considering migrating to another one.
One of the first questions nonprofits ask when considering cloud hosting is Office 365 vs. Google Apps. Which one should we use?
There is, obviously, no simple answer. At the same time, the consultant’s canard, “It depends” is not particularly helpful. I’ve put together a few resources and also offer my own opinion below.
The Community IT View
Many comparisons of the two services pay a lot of attention to price, but for qualified non-profit organizations the price question is removed because both services are available at very little cost.
In a feature by feature comparison, the two services appear fairly equal, though anyone familiar with both services wouldn’t for a moment get the two confused. Their feature sets match, but they are not the same.
The choice between the two is really a choice of ecosystems:
- Office 365 comes out of the world of Windows and Office Desktop Suite and the corporate enterprise. Users of Microsoft Office Desktop Suite (whether for Windows or Mac) will find the service is tuned for their needs. Microsoft cares about and understand enterprise needs: management tools and security structures are oriented around the idea of corporate ownership of data.
- Google Apps is designed for the browser first and foremost (with Android mobile close behind). It’s aptly named and really is a collection of interconnected “apps” and has an app-like feel. While Google for Work is real, the backbone of the service was/is designed for the consumer market so enterprise features sometimes seem tacked on. Google Apps can sometimes feel “quick and dirty” (but that’s not necessarily a bad thing).
We have clients who use Office 365 and we have clients who use Google Apps. Both are great alternatives to on-premise messaging and file sharing/collaboration solutions. Both services are very generous with non-profit customers.
Notable Blog Posts on the Subject
https://betanews.com/2014/01/10/from-google-apps-to-office-365-why-my-company-ditched-google/ – This is an older article, but interesting and probably still very applicable.
https://blog.bettercloud.com/google-apps-vs-office-365/ – Recent article describing results of surveys of customers of both services.
https://www.techrepublic.com/blog/the-enterprise-cloud/google-apps-v-office-365-head-to-head-comparison-of-features/ – Older article, and as the services continue to evolve age matters, but one of the better feature by feature comparisons available online.