Which productivity suite is best for your business?
Office 365 vs G Suite (formerly known as Google Apps) – which one is better? A question a lot of businesses ask, especially start-ups and businesses making the move into the cloud.
As the products battle it out to be your one-stop shop for business productivity software, it can be a hard question to answer. So, in this post we’ll be putting the two suites head to head.
Read on to see how G Suite and Office 365 compare against each other in the key areas of pricing, plans, features and ease of use.
Let’s get started.
What do Office 365 and G Suite do?
Office 365 and G Suite are office suite productivity tools that allow you to go about daily tasks in the Cloud.
Both suites allow you to create and share documents, spreadsheets and presentations and communicate and collaborate with both clients and team members.
Pricing – how do Office 365 & G Suite compare?
G Suite’s pricing is straightforward and offers three editions, Basic, Business and Enterprise.
Schools and nonprofit organisations may be able to qualify for the special editions, which provide features of G Suite for free or at a discounted rate.
Let’s take a look at what’s included in the three different plans.
- Basic – £4.60 per user per month
- Business – £9.20 per user per month
- Enterprise – £20 per user per month
Basic plan – £4.60
Professional office suite with 30 GB storage
- Business email addresses (email@example.com)
- Video and voice calls
- Secure team messaging
- Shared online calendars
- Documents, spreadsheets and presentations
- 30 GB of online storage for file syncing and sharing
- Google sites
- 24/7 phone, email and chat support
- Security and administration controls.
Business plan – £9.20
Enhanced office suite with unlimited storage and archiving – in addition to the above you get:
- Unlimited file storage (or 1 TB if your organisation has less than 5 users)
- Smart search across G Suite Cloud Search
- ‘Low code’ app development environment (these allow you to develop bespoke apps without resorting to a lot of programming)
- Email archives / message-retention policies
- Data regions for G Suite
- E-Discovery for emails, chats, docs and files
- Audit and reporting insights for Drive content and sharing
Enterprise Plan – £20
Premium office suite with advanced controls and capabilities – you get all the features of the ‘Basic’ and ‘Business’ plans plus:
- Advanced admin and security controls / reporting
- Data loss prevention for Drive (files & folders) and Gmail
- Integration with third-party archiving tools
- S/MIME for Gmail (improved encryption for emails)
- Gmail log analysis in BigQuery
The biggest difference between these plans for many users and the deciding factor for businesses is file storage. With the basic plan users are restricted to 30GB, but if you have more than 5 users in your organisation, there are no storage limits on the Business plan.
Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and Drawings, plus files shared with you by other Google Drive users, don’t count towards your G Suite storage limit. So this is worth making a note of when considering which G Suite plan is right for you.
Big organisations are likely to sway towards the Business and Enterprise plan for the e-
Discovery feature – this feature allows you to archive all communications in your organisation according to rules you define.
If you have strong data loss prevention requirements, then the Enterprise plan might be the one for you. Admins have the ability to stop users sending critical information outside of the corporate network and to set thresholds and extra security measures.
You can find more information on the G Suite editions here.
Microsoft Office 365
The pricing options for Office 365 aren’t as straightforward, as there’s home, business, enterprise and education versions available and within that there’s more layers of sub-versions.
There’s a lot of research to be done, but on the plus side there’s a lot of flexibility. For this comparison we’ll focus on Business and Enterprise plans:
- Business Essentials — £3.80 per user per month
- Business — £7.90 per user per month
- Business Premium — £9.40 per user per month
- Enterprise E1 — £6 per user per month
- Enterprise ProPlus — £11.50 per user per month
- Enterprise E3 — £17.60 per user per month
- Enterprise E5 — £30.80 per user per month
As you can see there’s a lot of plans to get your head around, but here’s a list of important factors to consider:
- All plans require an annual commitment (G Suite plans can be bought on a per-month basis, which may suit some organisations better).
- The Business plan has a maximum number of 300 users, so larger organisations will need to consider the Enterprise plans
- All plans provide you with with the desktop versions of the Microsoft Office product suite (Word, Excel, Powerpoint etc.) except for the ‘Business Essentials’ and ‘Enterprise E1’ plans, which only provide the online ones.
- If you want to use Office 365 as your email service provider, you’ll need to steer clear of the ‘Business’ and the ‘Enterprise Pro Plus’ plans, as these plans don’t provide users with an email account
- ‘Business’ and ‘Enterprise ProPlus’ plans don’t feature calendar functionality.
- Microsoft’s new video collaboration service — ‘Microsoft Stream’ — is only available on the Enterprise plans.
Which is cheaper, Office 365 or G Suite?
The pricing plans are quite different, but the plans most comparable are:
- G Suite Basic (£4.60) and Office 365 Business Essentials (£3.80).
- G Suite Business (£9.20) and Office 365 Enterprise E3 (£17.60)
As you can see there isn’t much of a saving between the lower end of the basic plans, so to get a better understanding of ‘which is cheaper’, we’ll take a look at the features of each product and see how well they fulfil your business needs.
Office 365 vs G Suite: Features
Both office suites offer a great load of features allowing you to efficiently run your business. Let’s take a closer look and see how Office 365 and G Suite compare.
G Suite and Office 365 both allow you to create professional business email accounts using your own domain name.
The basic Office 365 plan is more generous that G Suite’s entry level offering when it comes to email storage, with a dedicated 50GB inbox available on top of the 1TB file storage already provided.
However, if you’re on the £9.20 G Suite ‘Business’ plan (and have 5+ users) there isn’t a cap on your inbox size; which works out better than the Office 365 plans, because the best you’ll get on Office 365 is a 100GB mailbox on the £17.60 and £30.80 Microsoft plans, although you need to consider Microsoft’s feature called ‘auto-expanding archiving’. There is some amount of configuration involved, but this will allow you to archive old emails to an archive which is essentially unlimited in size.
Moving on to apps, Gmail is fast, simple to use and has a powerful search functionality; given the popularity of Gmail, there is a large range of third-party apps available, which can add extra functionality, improving your working day.
If we’re talking basics, then Office 365 takes the lead, you get 1TB of storage with the ‘Business Essentials’ plan compared to Google’s 30GB on its ‘Basic Plan’, Google also counts emails as taking space in this 30GB limit).
However, if you take it up a level to the G Suite ‘Business’ plan, you’ll find that all of Google’s plans beat all but Microsoft’s most expensive plan, when it comes to file storage.
The G Suite Business plan offers unlimited storage, which is really useful to any business that has a need to store large files in the cloud. So if you’re uploading images, audio files etc to the cloud, you’d be surprised how quickly you’d get through 1 TB included in Microsoft’s Business Essentials, so if it’s storage you’re after G Suite is your winner, unless you’re just working with standard documents and spreadsheets.
One important thing to note is that the G Suite ‘Business’ plan only provides you with unlimited file storage if you buy more than 5 user accounts. For small companies with less than 5 employees and ‘solopreneurs’, Google’s cheaper storage feature becomes a bit less attractive, which is a real shame.
Communication and collaboration
The main advantage of working in the cloud is the collaboration possibilities it opens up. Instead of ‘tracking changes’ and stuck to one device, people who want to work on the same file, in real time and anywhere.
Both G Suite and Microsoft Office 365 make this sort of online collaboration straightforward using their online apps.
When it comes to collaboration, G Suite was built with collaboration as a key feature, whereas Office 365, has evolved from being a suite of desktop applications into a solution that features collaborative tools. Which is probably why the collaboration functionality in G Suite is a bit easier to get your head around.
All in all though, both product suites definitely allow you to collaborate with colleagues effectively, but to get the smoothest collaboration experience with the Microsoft apps, you might want to use the cloud-based versions.