We are going to take a comprehensive look at two different applications: Google Docs and Microsoft 365.
To get started, let’s start off with what each application is: Google Docs is a web clip board that basically allows you to manage content across different documents (these documents can include text, images, audio files, etc.).
Microsoft 365 is the name for the group of software services such as Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook. The major focus of this piece is the advantages in utilizing these services in a business context – namely, what are some key features that may not be readily obvious which will help a person choose what will work best for them.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both, it really depends on your strategic objectives. Each has a different way of managing the content within it’s own framework and how much content can be stored and managed in the cloud.
Google Docs vs Microsoft 365
Google Docs is most useful in the transferring and customizing content to websites, allowing users to conference with each other or pick up edits as a live conversation, and provides a major cost advantage to start-ups.
1. Templates – Google docs provides a diverse list of existing templates for drafting a project. The range of these templates include everything from resumes, project proposals, brochure design, and business letter writing. Google docs has a homepage where you can customize these templates for your own needs (i.e. which one’s you use most frequently, or which one’s you favor).
2. Comments – This may sound silly to some but the practicality and usefulness of this should not be overlooked. Since Google docs is used by many start-ups, and with that comes a lot of individuals hustling and on the go, the comments section stores, edits and remarks on a document and exists as an ongoing conversation thread between all the users. If team members are not able to physically meet, they can easily open up the thread and not lose track of what the other team members are aiming to do.
3. Conference Calls – Now this is cool: again we are speaking in terms of collaboration…when viewing a document, making edits or storing comments in the document, you are given the option to link up with a person on a call while reviewing the document. All that’s required is to turn on the add-on labeled ‘Uber Conference’ and you can invite multiple people to the call.
4. Cost, storage and plans – Google Docs subscription is available on a month to month basis for only $5 per month and can be canceled at anytime. Google Docs storage capability is 30 gigabytes for the plan; this amount of space can be increased if you have a minimum of five users on the account.
Microsoft Office 365
Microsoft Office 365 is all about optimizing the functioning of a business and connecting people. Let’s take a look at a few key points that may not be readily noticeable to users
1. Linking Android Phones – Whenever users are working on Microsoft Offie 365, there is a central point of location – meaning, that the cloud and the documents, or files that are stored on it, can be linked to corresponding phones within the network.
This has a cost advantage to businesses given the major discounts available with choosing to use one provider for all areas. A current trend that major corporations are experiencing, especially sales driven organizations like Robert Half, is the use of the Microsoft Tablet for demonstrations. With wireless capability, employees can access any marketing material and present to their customers within seconds.
2. Image Aggregator – Office 365 contains a feature known as an aggregator for images; what it does is automatically pull up images off of Bing to support the theme of a presentation you are giving. Obviously, this goes well past simply having the modules we are used to such as Word or Excel. Importing images into these documents without having to search for them is a big plus.
3. PDF Files – As simple as this may sound, in the business world it is major. Everyone knows the pains of converting PDF files to Word documents and having to edit them. Microsoft Outlook allows you to edit PDF’s, which helps when you are in a time crunch with a colleague or a client, and needing to quickly convert and edit before entering a meeting is essential.
4. Cost, Storage and Plans – Microsoft 365 is similar to google docs in price, save for the exception that it requires a contract. It is on a yearly basis not a month to month basis. The storage capability is 1TB per user regardless of the amount of users. Microsoft 365 offers six different package plans.
Pros and Cons
It is important to keep in mind the context in which these suites of service are being used. For myself, Google Docs seems like the ideal pick for start-up businesses; for medium and larger sized business Microsoft 365 seems better. A key difference that makes this apparent is the cloud storage capability.
The cloud storage capability for Google docs does not compete with the amount given in Microsoft 365. So with the clear advantage going to Microsoft, google docs ideally works for small start-ups or small service based businesses…however, if the smaller business requires more than 30gb you are out luck.
Another glaring disadvantage for Google docs is that a number of the formulas the Excel spreadsheets contain do not always allow you to keep all the formulas when transferring spreadsheets. This can be a disaster – believe me, I work with accountants, and if the formulas are not there, everything gets backed up.
This is not really the fault of Google, it simply showcases how prevalent Microsoft Office applications are in the world.
A major advantage on the Google docs side is the month-to-month subscription. If you are running a start-up, or just a person trying a few business ventures or consulting, the sheer fact that you can cancel at anytime is great.
The video conferencing and linking of mobile devices are major features that deserve attention. Google docs and Microsoft 365 don’t really differ to much on this front, except for the fact that android phones can link up with Microsoft 365 and provide multiple storage space and share the storage space between the users, the central network and the phone storage.
After comparing both suites, a few things stand out. Individuals running small consulting business or freelance outfits can benefit more from Google docs, and most likely will enjoy the month to month subscription.
When businesses start to scale up, Microsoft clearly takes the lead since the majority of documents used in business today are Microsoft based. However, Google docs scores major points for image editing, navigation within documents, and live editing and comment sharing.
What it all comes down to is business/strategic objectives; if the business is seeking to enter a marketplace and scale up, then 365 may be the better option. However, if it’s a start-up or consulting venture, Google docs is an optimal choice.