Google Apps or Microsoft Office? Survey argues which cloud office is best for your business

James has more than a decade of experience as a tech journalist, writer and editor, and served as Editor in Chief of TechForge Media between 2017 and 2021. James was named as one of the top 20 UK technology influencers by Tyto, and has also been cited by Onalytica, Feedspot and Zsah as an influential cloud computing writer.


If you’ve ever talked to an acquaintance about what technology they use at their place of work, then this might be the article for you: a survey from BetterCloud has found the benefits of Google Apps and Microsoft Office for organisations of all sizes.

The report argues there is a “clear trend” for larger organisations to run Office 365 as opposed to Google Apps – Office 365-based organisations are more than four times larger and five years older on average, while companies who run Office 365 have IT teams five times the size of their Google counterparts.

As befitting smaller businesses, more Google Apps implementations are done in one go. More than two thirds (68%) of Google Apps organisations roll out at once, compared with 62% of Office 365 respondents who opt for a hybrid deployment strategy. This is not a surprise, according to the report authors, citing Google’s push for organisations to undergo transformational change – rolling out Google Apps over the course of a weekend, or across several weekends.

“When looking at all organisations, the deployment strategy for Office 365 organisations is essentially the exact opposite of those deploying Google Apps,” the report notes, adding: “Office 365 organisations are easing into the transition, allowing employees to choose their preferred working style, rather than abruptly shifting to a cloud-only workplace,” it adds.

Organisations utilising Google report increased collaboration levels (84%) when compared with Microsoft (72%), while running Google Apps also means a greater likelihood of cost savings. Organisations using the search giant’s cloud office experiences cost savings of 41% on average, while for Office 365 companies that number drops to 27%.

For firms which utilise more than 50% of applications, the most popular apps for Google were Gmail, Calendar and Drive, while for Office 365 the most popular apps were all desktop – Word, Excel and Outlook. Yet there’s a caveat, with BetterCloud noting the importance of Office 365’s nascent nature, the more likely older workforce at Office 365 organisations, and the hybrid approach in moving to the cloud.

As a result, BetterCloud gives a hypothetical description of a Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365 customer based on their data. The average company which uses Google was a SaaS company founded in 2010, with 110 employees, three in IT, with a high percentage of millennial workforce.

For Office 365, it’s more likely to be a company founded in 1982, with complex on-premises infrastructure after 30 years of growth. While they have moved some infrastructure to the cloud, it’s not fully there yet, although the company is experiencing productivity and collaboration gains. None of the larger enterprises surveyed – 5000 or more employees – run 100% of their IT in the cloud, either from Microsoft or Google.

“The role of IT is evolving,” the report concludes. “IT admins aren’t sitting back and waiting to fix what breaks any longer; now, with the benefit of the cloud, they’re given more opportunity – and time – to spend on getting things done proactively.”

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