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Microsoft 365 vs. Google Workspace: The Best Option for Your Business

Choosing the right productivity platform for your business is no easy feat, especially when it comes to Microsoft 365 vs. Google Workspace. Unlike personal use, there are many aspects to consider beyond user-preference and comfortability. You want a platform that can not only meet your needs of today but grow with you as your company expands. There’s also the matter of efficiency, compatibility, pricing and more to weigh out.

Between Google and Microsoft, there is truly no obvious answer. There are, however, some key unique differences that may help you decide which option is ultimately best for your business.

As an MSP, Managed solution has worked with hundreds of businesses and helped them navigate the world of digital workspaces to find the right fit for them. In this article we’ll walk you through the two suites and clarify the differences so that you can move forward with the best option for you.

Products Overview

Let’s start with the basics. Below is a concise list of some of the more prominent products from both Google and Microsoft offices:

google workspace image featuring the key tools included in google workspace

Google:

Gmail, Calendar, Meet, Chat, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Sites, etc…

       

Microsoft:

Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive, Planner, Viva, etc…

Of these products and applications, the work-based apps tend to be the first things businesses look at when faced with the great Microsoft v. Google dilemma. Between Docs and Word, Sheets and Excel, or Slides and PowerPoint – the general understanding is that Google’s offerings are more collaborative and user-friendly, while Microsoft tends to be the best choice for users needing powerful and robust solutions. For a more in-depth comparison of these applications, see what the experts at computerworld.com have to say!

Something else to consider here is that Microsoft’s Office Packages have the advantage of longevity. Therefore, if you utilize Google workplace, you will still likely work with other companies who utilize Microsoft Office Applications – to solve for this many companies on Google Workplace make separate local purchases of non-cloud-based Microsoft applications to be able to share and convert files with other Microsoft users.

To further consider which option will work better for you, consider your company-size and level of B2B communications. Do you need a more powerful, streamlined process provided by Microsoft 365 applications? Or will your team be able to work better with the more collaborative and accessible Google Workplace browser-based apps?

Email

Both Outlook and Gmail are renowned email applications. Here, the distinguishing factors boil down to simplicity vs. utility.

Gmail is the simpler option. To begin, it has much less tools on its interface compared to Outlook’s which some users prefer for easier navigation. However, with its new simplified Ribbon, Outlook has certainly made headway in becoming more user-friendly.

Outlook has all the email, contact and calendar features you can imagine. Microsoft has built-in capabilities you’ve likely never even thought of into this program. Whatever you need to accomplish within your email system, you can do it with Outlook.

The choice therefore mainly depends on how you and your team use email, and how much time you’re willing to spend learning new features. If you don’t have extensive or complex needs for your emailing service, Gmail will suit you just fine. Alternatively, if you and your team need more tools and utility for email, or if people in your organization have varying needs, consider opting for Outlook.

Data Security and Management

A key decision-making aspect that is often missed is the management and protection of your data. With the global increase in remote workers, cyber security is more important than ever. In fact, we have seen unprecedented increases in phishing attacks since 2020[link to data].

Security should therefore be top-of-mind in your decision-making process. Even the best user-features can’t make up for insufficient security. The golden rule here is that finding the right security resources for your business means finding the best security resources.

Here's what the experts at Computerworld.com had to say on the topic of security:

“…The simplified view in the Microsoft 365 admin center beats anything in Google Workspace because of how easily it lets you accomplish the most common tasks, including and editing new and existing users, changing licenses, paying bills, and installing Office on devices.

Interfaces aside, Microsoft 365 offers better admin account security, superior mobile administration, and more management controls. Both suites protect your data with enterprise-grade security and offer a central security center for managing user permissions and protections…”.

Because security is such a critical feature, we’ve got to stick with the experts here and agree that Microsoft is the reigning champion of security and safety. However, we have plenty of resources to help you take a deeper look at security between google and Microsoft.

Collaboration and Productivity

Another huge factor for many businesses is collaboration, especially in today’s digital age where so many employees are working from home. Both Google and Microsoft offer popular solutions, so the question here really boils down to your team's needs and preferences.

Microsoft Teams offers a virtually all-in-one solution that combines chats, digital meetings, and custom workspaces, while also offering seamless integration with other products like Outlook, SharePoint, and OneDrive. This makes Microsoft the best choice for users who prefer a more robust chat-centered solution to focus their collaborative efforts around.

Google, on the other hand, their communication applications focus on intuitive functionality and real-time collaboration. Because of the simplicity and user-friendly quality behind the interface, many people feel that Google ranks higher for collaboration.

Although Google is initially more effective for collaboration, productivity is ultimately hindered businesses begin to scale and find themselves needing more detailed work practices. Not to mention, storage of data and information becomes one of the key issues Google users face. Collaboration and productivity become hard to maintain when you can’t access lost or disorganized information.

Summary

Although so much of the great Microsoft 365 vs. Google Workspace debate boils down to personal preference of functionality – there are also certain aspects from each solution that cater better to certain demographics. Typically, many start-up/small businesses find that Google is an easier and cheaper fit for their needs due to its accessibility and collaborative capabilities.

However, as these businesses scale to more mid-market and even enterprise-level sizes – Microsoft’s robust solution packages streamline storage and communication processes better – while also providing a higher level of security and support.

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Microsoft 365 Immersion Experience Workshop

The Microsoft 365 Immersion Experience offers an interactive environment designed to be engaging, informative, and fun. You will test-drive best-in-class technologies -- Microsoft Office 365, SharePoint, Skype for Business, Teams, Flow, Delve and more.
You'll go beyond the familiar MS Office suite and explore solutions to your business challenges. You will get expert advice on using your current technology to strengthen productivity.
The workshop is led by a Microsoft-Certified Facilitator and customized to let attendees explore at their own pace and focus on first-hand experience with tools that address their business needs.
INTERACTIVE LEARNING:
  • Cutting-Edge Cross Departmental Communication Tactics with Microsoft Office365 Teams
  • Co-Authoring Documents and File Version Management in Office365
  • DIY Internal Process Automation through SharePoint & Microsoft's FREE "Flow" Product
  • New & Hidden Outlook Tips and Tricks your Team Never Knew Existed

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Complete the form to schedule a workshop with a trained facilitator.

*All "in YOUR office" experiences are for 6-10 executives and funded by Microsoft to include breakfast or lunch for your team.

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Leaning on a managed IT service provider (MSP) for a subset of your IT services can be a boon. More than just tackling a specific domain such as email hosting or customer relationship management, having an MSP as part of your IT mix can free up internal IT staff for more strategic projects.
But establishing a strong, strategic partnership with your MSP is essential. Here we take a look at the current state of managed IT services, where companies are employing the MSP model and how to get the most of your MSP partnership.

Managed services growth is steady

Managed services comprise the second-most popular business model in the channel today, according to IT industry trade association CompTIA's Fifth Annual Trends in Managed Services study. Three-in-10 MSPs surveyed by CompTIA ranked managed services as the leading generator of revenue in the previous 12 months, second to the 44 percent that pointed to IT solutions (such as projects incorporating hardware, software and services), but ahead of other business model choices like value-added resellers (VARs), IT support, and held desk and consulting services.
The study, authored by Carolyn April, senior director of industry analysis at CompTIA, found that the rate of growth of managed services is continuing, but more or less at a steady pace.
"I think the managed services space is moving slowly at sort of the same pace as we've seen over the past five years," April says. "Where we're seeing more momentum right now is the channel that's growing around SaaS applications and SaaS ISVs."
"A lot of these SaaS players are actually MSPs themselves: They've either been born in the cloud or they are existing MSPs that are adding a SaaS component to what they sell in their portfolio," she adds.

Resist the urge to bargain shop for managed IT services

Organizations are continuing to turn to MSPs to handle elements of their IT needs as part of a collaborative arrangement with the internal IT department, according to CompTIA’s research. Companies have become more familiar with managed services and are turning to them for certain IT functions, particularly email hosting, customer relationship management (CRM) applications, storage, backup and recovery and network monitoring.
When it comes to mobile apps, speed is everything. Find out how Forrester ranks key development platforms. Hint: It’s all about low-code platforms that enable rapid delivery and business agility.
However, CompTIA is also seeing commoditization occurring because of oversupply, especially at the lower end of the stack. April says this may tempt CIOs to bargain shop for managed services, but they should resist the urge.
"Look for MSPs that understand your business and that speak less about the technology," she says. "I think that's important across the board. You want a partner that can talk about business outcomes and how their services are going to help further your goals from a business perspective, not a technology perspective."
Here, April says a proven track record is key — especially customer testimonials from existing customers. She warns that it should be a red flag if an MSP offers you a cookie-cutter service-level agreement (SLA). It's a much better sign if they seek to craft a customized contract based on your business and needs.

Top MSPs extending their reach to meet demand

Strategic MSP use doesn’t have to be confined to commodity IT services. Many CIOs, says April, are looking for MSPs that can deliver advanced services, including cloud infrastructure management, application management and business process outsourcing.
April also notes increased demand for services around data analytics, business intelligence (BI) and advanced application monitoring. And while some upper echelon services are offering managed services to meet those needs, most MSPs have yet to extend beyond their heritage in managing network infrastructure and basic software infrastructure.
"I think mobile is an area where the channel is getting some traction but they're really not tapping the full opportunity there," she adds.

Partners, not replacements

It is also important to note that while companies are increasingly relying on outside providers for part of their IT needs, MSPs generally complement rather than replace internal IT.
"Very few of these companies get rid of their IT staffs just because they join up with an MSP," April says.
Instead, especially in larger companies, bringing an MSP into the mix frees up existing IT staff to focus on more strategic projects.
"It elevates the IT staff and brings them out of the shadows within the organization," she says. "It allows them to focus on a custom app dev project or cloud initiative — something highly strategic. I think that's a win-win for your IT staff."
That also highlights that the reasons that organizations turn to MSPs have begun to change. In the past, April says, cost savings were seen as the primary benefit of MSPs. Now, she says, cost benefits are considered table stakes and customers are looking for additional benefits like generating revenue and helping the company become more efficient. Even security has evolved from being considered a roadblock to using MSPs to a reason for doing so.
April explains that companies have shifted their views over security as it has become clear that security problems are often the result of human error by internal staff.

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Office Store brings you Power BI custom visuals

As written on blogs.office.com
The Office Store is introducing Power BI custom visuals to download and use in Power BI service reports and Power BI Desktop. Users will be able to easily discover and quickly download BI visualizations that interact with data to find key insights and drive important business decisions. Power BI custom visuals provide compelling data visualizations created by members of the community and by Microsoft. They behave just like the native rich visualizations already included with Power BI but can also be filtered, highlighted, edited and shared.
Here are some examples:
  • Word Cloud—Visualize the text in your data in a beautiful way.
  • SandDance—See all your data as grains of sand with animated transitions between views to help you explore, understand and communicate insights in your data.
  • Correlation plot—An advanced analytics visual based on R script to highlight correlations in your data.

Check Power BI custom visuals out for yourself—get started today!

WEBINAR: Commitment Phobia – How Today’s Pay-as-You-Go Licensing Really Works

Pay per user, per month has revolutionized the way companies are forecasting expenses, consuming technology and boosting productivity. But how does it really work? Do you really save? What about software assurance? Tune in for all of those answers and more.

 

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ministry-of-defence-managed-solution

UK Ministry of Defence on the frontline of cloud-based data protection with Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection

By Ron Markezich as written on blogs.office.com
Today, providing security on any front requires a willingness to adopt leading-edge technologies. So it’s great to see the Ministry of Defence (MOD) in the United Kingdom assume a leadership role in their decision to adopt the Microsoft Cloud, as well as Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection and Customer Lockbox from a Microsoft U.K. data center.
According to Mike Stone, chief digital and information officer (CDIO) at the Ministry of Defence, Microsoft cloud services bring world-class reliability and performance to its operations in a way that fits perfectly with its digital transformation agenda:
“The MOD chose Microsoft cloud technologies to support our transition to a more cost-effective, modern and agile organisation. Microsoft offers the security, privacy, control and transparency that meets our stringent criteria for cloud services—all available from data centres in the U.K. Additional cloud-based services such as Advanced Threat Protection provide us with complementary capabilities to keep our employees productive and our network secure.”
Mike’s statement resonates with any highly regulated government entity that must find the right balance between enabling employees with anytime, anywhere data access while ensuring security.
Now that MOD mailboxes will be protected with Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection, staff will stay productive and secure around the clock. That’s because, despite the escalating severity and complexity of today’s malware, Advanced Threat Protection offers better protection and control. Additionally, with Customer Lockbox, the MOD gets full visibility and control of their customer data during service operations, which can help them meet compliance obligations.
Aligning its vision for digital transformation with the Microsoft Cloud, the MOD gets the best of both worlds—productivity-enhancing agility in a highly secure online environment. I’m happy to see that by empowering staff to achieve its goals in our rapidly evolving digital world, the MOD is entering a new era of heightened performance—at home and abroad.

Today’s Tech: How A Startup Attorney Uses Cloud Computing

By Nicole Black as written on abovethelaw.com

Cloud computing used to be a foreign concept to many lawyers, but these days most lawyers are working in the cloud whether they know it or not. Cloud computing offers so many advantages over traditional on-premises software — including convenience, mobility, flexibility, affordability, and 24/7 access — that it’s hard to avoid using cloud computing for work-related purposes. That’s why so many lawyers start using cloud computing services like Dropbox to share documents — oftentimes after being prompted to by other lawyers involved in a case — without even realizing they’re collaborating on documents in the cloud.

But not all lawyers stumble into the cloud unknowingly. Some choose cloud computing with their eyes wide open, after carefully researching their options. Steven Ayr is one such lawyer.

Last year Steven joined Fort Point Legal, a Boston law firm that focuses on representing small businesses and startups, after practicing law as a solo practitioner for a number of years. As a solo, his law practice was 100% paperless and all of the firm’s data was stored in the cloud. So when he started at Fort Point Legal, he was first in line to help move the firm into the cloud: “When I got here, the firm was on its way to a cloud-based practice but I nudged it along. For a firm like ours that’s growing quickly, it’s scalable and it takes out a lot of the management costs since we don’t have to worry about having an in-house IT department. And, from a productivity and security standpoint and the built-in ability to have 24/7 access from anywhere, it just makes sense for us.”

But according to Steven, it’s not just cost savings and convenience that make the cloud so appealing; the cloud also allows them to compete with larger law firms.

“We use the cloud-based software since it’s a relatively inexpensive way for a smaller law firm to get the capabilities that used to be reserved for larger firms. Whether it’s data management or security, the cloud really is the great equalizer,” he explains. “There aren’t many law firms our size in Boston that do what we do. Instead you typically find small departments within very large firms. So web-based software levels the playing field for us.”

The firm uses a number of different cloud-based tools. First, there’s Google Apps. “We use Google Apps for our email contacts and calendars. It’s the hub of our practice. We share calendars amongst team members so we can see what’s going on with everyone’s schedule and we can create specific calendars to keep track of different issues. So, for example, we have a calendar to keep track of corporate filings throughout the year that is accessible to everyone.”

The firm also uses Asana, which provides web-based task management software. “We can forward emails into Asana and it will create a task using the body text of the email and will also add any email attachments to the newly created task. Team members can then comment the task as well. And over time you can follow each matter as it progresses and tasks are checked off.”

Dropbox is another web-based tool that the firm relies on. “We use Dropbox as our central file repository. We use it to collaborate, but it’s not ideal for collaboration since it doesn’t update in real-time like Google Drive’s collaboration. We use Dropbox Pro because of the higher level of encryption it provides, since in Massachusetts we have very strict data privacy laws. Another reason we prefer Pro is because you have access to more security features when it comes to team members, including the ability to remotely wipe devices.”

Another cloud-based tool the firm uses is Phone.com. “We recently switched from Ring Central to Phone.com because we were seeking a more user-friendly interface and better customer support. Another reason we really like this service is because there’s no limit to customization you can set up in terms of how you want phones to ring and at what time of day and in what order.”

Cloud-based tools benefit their firm in many ways. Not only do they provide convenience and save their firm money, they also make the firm more appealing to their target market. “Our startup clients would be put off if we didn’t use these tools with them. We use them regularly with clients and many of my client interactions take place online now.”

Of course there can be drawbacks when collaborating with clients online, as Steven acknowledges: “There is arguably lack of human touch when a lot of client communication occurs online. So it’s important when using cloud computing tools for client communication to be cognizant of that fact and to take steps to maintain those connections.”

His advice to lawyers seeking to use cloud computing software in their practice? Plan carefully. “Think through your needs before you start implementing different types of software. Take the time to research your options and sit through demos with sales reps. Figure out what you truly need ahead of time so you can avoid wasting time by constantly switching between systems and software.”

About Managed Solution

We're technology enthusiasts with a people-first approach. For over two decades, we've witnessed the profound impact that the right technology and support can have on businesses and individuals. Success, to us, is seeing our clients, partners, and team conquer challenges to achieve their greatest goals and build lasting connections. This relentless pursuit of inspiration drives us forward, pushing us to deliver innovative solutions that empower growth and lasting success.

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