Categories : Cloud, Collaboration, Strategic IT Sourcing

Bluewave | May 8, 2020

Productivity Showdown: Microsoft Office 365 vs Google G-Suite

When it comes to business productivity, Microsoft Office 365 and Google’s G-Suite stand head and shoulders above the other software options. But even with the choices seemingly narrowed down to just two, it can still be a challenge to decide which is right for your business. This guide will help highlight some differences between the two popular platforms and make selecting the right productivity suite for your business a bit easier.

Subscriptions and plans

Delivered as services, both Office 365 and G-Suite offer a variety of subscription options for access to productivity tools without downloads or additional purchases. G-Suites plans are slightly more limited, with three options—Basic, Business, and Enterprise—but offer increasingly more tools and features at each level.

By contrast, Microsoft Office 365 has compiled a list of options that includes one more package option than G-Suite for a more comprehensive selection. You should note, however, that Microsoft does not present its plan options in order of increased pricing; the lowest cost option is listed second, which might cause some confusion among visitors comparing the service with other options.

File Storage

One of the most convenient aspects of productivity services is the cloud storage availability. Both G-Suite and Office 365 offer storage options that eliminate the need for storing data and files at your office. At the entry level, Microsoft appears to have an advantage, providing 1TB of storage per user with their Business Essentials plan, which is significantly more room than Google’s 30GB offering on its Basic plan. Also, note that Google counts emails as storage space within the 30 GB limit.

The 1TB limit is standard to all Office 365 plans and if you’re just using conventional Office applications such as Outlook, Word, or Excel, the 1TB storage limit per user should be adequate for SMBs.

With the exception of Office 365’s entry-level storage plan, G-Suite boasts a significant storage advantage. Starting with the Business Plan ($10 per month, per user), Google offers unlimited storage, a huge benefit to any business that produces large volumes of data, uses large multimedia files, or doesn’t want the hassle of having to delete files to clear additional room. Another side note: the G-Suite Business Plan only provides unlimited file storage for purchases of more than 5 user accounts; otherwise each user is restricted 1TB of data like Office 365.

Applications and Services

Microsoft is a pioneer of productivity apps, so it’s no surprise that Office 365 offers both local and cloud-based versions of its apps, while G-Suite emphasizes cloud-based access only.

With the exception of its Enterprise E1 plan, Office 365 offers a desktop version of apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, which also includes cloud access. Each tier provides access to OneDrive and Skype for Business, including HD video conferencing and 50GB user email boxes starting with the Enterprise E1 tier.

Where Office 365 really shines is in its Enterprise E5 service tier, which offers a comprehensive unified communications solution including all the productivity apps your business could need, along with SharePoint, cloud-based call and conferencing management, and advanced threat controls for increased security.

Meanwhile, G-Suite was specifically built for the cloud and is better suited to businesses simply wanting to streamline sharing and enhance document-specific collaboration. G-Suite offers essential tools such as word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation software that mirrors Microsoft’s Office point products for creating files, automatically saving them, and one-click sharing capabilities for effortless collaboration. The solution also integrates natively with the ubiquitous Gmail platform, as well as Google Hangouts for video collaboration, and offers enterprise-grade security and data loss prevention controls at the top end of its offering.

Though G-Suite does allow users to open and save Microsoft Office documents, you should be aware that the formatting may be affected, which can impact some collaborative efforts, particularly when users are working offline. Learn more about working offline here.

User Interface

Usability is a key component to adoption and getting the best return on your investment, so a solution’s user interface is an essential consideration prior to purchasing. Most companies and users likely have had prior experience with Microsoft Office products, so the learning curve for adoption should be pretty short, as Office 365 will have a consistent and familiar user experience such as a classic folder structure for users to categorize their emails and up to 50GB of dedicated storage for their inbox.

However, for some users or businesses, Office 365’s interface may be a bit too busy or overwhelming. G-Suite provides a fresher, cleaner, and simpler interface with a consolidated apps menu offering one-click access to each productivity tool. The interface is intuitive and easy to navigate, as apps tend not to get lost in the shuffle. G-Suite also employs many of the organizing features like email filters and labels Gmail users are familiar with, making it easy to get up and running with little need for instruction or training.


Few topics are as important or prevalent in today’s digital landscape as network and data security. Both Microsoft and Google are at the forefront of integrating protection into their productivity platforms, albeit in slightly different ways. Office 365 provides an array of security features including email filtering, rights management, and compliance solutions for standardizing archiving, auditing, and data storage. You can get a full list of security features for Office 365 here.

Meanwhile, as a service born in the cloud, G-Suite prides itself on providing an easily managed, secure infrastructure for its productivity solution that includes data loss prevention (DLP), access controls with security key enforcement, 2-step verification, and user audit reports to track suspicious activity. Learn more about G-Suite’s security features here.

Microsoft Office 365 and Google’s G-Suite have dominated the work productivity landscape. While many of the features and functions are similar in design and intent, each comes with its unique twist on the user experience and standard features list. Please reach out to Bluewave so our team can assist in determining which will work best for your team and identify the best partner to help with migration, implementation, licensing and support.

Need help with Microsoft Office 365 and Google’s G-Suite decisions? Bluewave can help.

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