Placing your bets on Enterprise Software
Office 365 vs Google Apps
The first thing any new company has to do is setup their domain, and choose their email provider. No one wants to build their own mail server infrastructure anymore, it simply doesn’t make sense.
Our decision had nothing to do with cost because the fact is both work out to about the same price at the end of the day. The decision all boiled down to one thing: Gmail.
Gmail is the Gateway Drug for Google Apps and Google knows this
Office 365 mail is not the same as Outlook.com for some reason. Gmail is the only cross platform cloud email that allows for instant search, massive archives, ease of use, etc. You don’t need to download an email client to use it … and there’s better than instant cloud search vs local search for any email ever in a large archives. There are also many third party cloud plugins that just work with Gmail. Gmail is universally the same across all devices, and thus it is the gateway drug to Google Apps.
Once you start working with the productivity tools you realize that calendaring on Outlook is much better than Google Apps. Excel, PowerPoint, and Word all beat Sheets, Slides, and Docs hands down. Things like font management, financial modelling, and effective presentations are all Office 365 all day long.
Real time collaboration on Google is better, you can tell it was built from the cloud up. Google Drive is much easier to administer than OneDrive. Google makes it very easy to share, search, and access documents from virtually any device, anywhere. Drive has quickly become the core of everything we do in our business. SharePoint almost felt like a bolt-on to Office 365, and trying to rationalize the difference between SharePoint and OneDrive just felt weird for the people on our team. Both companies continue to improve their products which is always nice to see.
Microsoft Office 365 could gain significant ground with new company by doing one thing
We may not be “enterprise class” companies, but today’s new companies are indeed tomorrow’s large companies. Microsoft needs to get more people at every accelerator and co-working space using Office 365 without even thinking about it. They need to make it easy and automated so the growth happens organically rather than through sales motions, pr, or blog posts. People just have to want to use it “just because”.
So how does Microsoft drive immediate usage and significant new company interest to Office 365 Apps like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel? They need to make it fully compatible with Google Apps. They should create a third party app for Google Apps, fully compatible with Drive, Gmail, and Adobe Acrobat Reader. If Microsoft can introduce better calendaring for Gmail, with integrated Skype and/or Hangouts support, that would be a huge bonus.