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Google Apps to O365: Why and How You Should Make the Shift

Posted by Indusa Admin on August 2, 2016 12:59 pm

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Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365 have been the leading contenders in the cloud-based business productivity applications marketplace. There are similar features and categories, from mobile apps and connectivity to document sharing, instant messaging, calendar, emails, storage, and more.

O365 vs GoogleApps

Both options come with unique strengths: Google Apps with the familiarity of the Google suite, and Microsoft O365 with the legacy of tried-and-true Microsoft Office and SharePoint apps.

1. Pricing. Both services start with a similar pricing model. While Google’s suite is available on a monthly plan, O365 requires a full-year commitment for its enterprise plans.

2. Storage. Office leads the storage criteria on all plans, offering 1TB at the minimum as against Google’s 30GB for the starter plan.

3. Installation. Google Apps cannot be installed on computers, which restrains their access. O365, on the other hand, can be installed on five devices including your computer, phone, and tablet.

4. Apps. Google Apps includes Gmail, Hangouts, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Forms, Slides, Sites, Admin, and Vault. Office 365 includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access as cloud-based and desktop apps. Its business tiers include Skype for Business, Exchange Online, and OneDrive for Business. There are other services like Yammer and Sway offered with certain plans.

5. Collaboration. Google Sites come with basic collaboration features while SharePoint in O365 allows you to integrate other apps into your intranet and can be used as a central business dashboard.

6. Flexibility. Google Apps offers two plans, while O365 comes with several plans for Business and Enterprise (five additional tiers beyond its basic plan), allowing you to choose the plan that best fits your organization.

While Google misses some key features in productivity, Microsoft delivers a full-service productivity suite that meets the needs of all sizes of businesses, whether large or small. Google App users may face issues such as sharing calendars, problems transferring Excel formulas directly to Google Spreadsheets, compatibility issues, lack of support, and domain specific issues. As a result, businesses are realizing that while Google Apps may be a low-cost equivalent to O365, it presents too many constraints when it comes to productivity apps. Many O365 users as well as CIOs, on the other hand, use Microsoft’s legacy products which are now cloud-enabled and easy to manage. Gartner has also recognized Microsoft as a leader in the Magic Quadrant for Social Software in the Workplace 2015, further positioning Microsoft’s completeness of vision and ability to execute.

If you’re looking for a unified, integrated digital experience, having to work with disparate tools reduces productivity. “As a CIO, the goal is to run a balance between keeping all the employees happy and keeping the IT staff from pulling out their hair trying to centrally administer everything,” the CIO of an IT consultancy says. “Most IT staff are very familiar with Microsoft infrastructure already. The Office 365 platform is essentially built on Active Directory (AD) and that’s integrated into most networks. Anyone that has had an Exchange server knows how to create routing, groups, calendars, collaboration…”

As a result, a large number of customers are making the shift from Google Apps to Microsoft O365. How can you go about this transition while ensuring that your data remains secure and the shift is smooth?

You can conduct the migration manually by creating the mailboxes in Office 365, assign licenses, and switch the DNS MX records. Use the Exchange Email migration tool to migrate emails and the Exchange ActiveSync support for access to your calendars, contacts, and email.

Or you can use the third-party migration option if the manual process becomes overwhelming. Tools available in the market help migrate users, emails, contacts, and calendars without a lot of manual effort.

When you’re ready for migration from Google Apps to O365 (whether manual or automated), you should:

  1. Prepare for migration: get stakeholder buy-in, prepare the Google Apps accounts for migration, and perform verification.
  2. Prepare source Google Apps environment and destination O365 environment
  3. Add users to O365
  4. Use a migration wizard or manually perform the migration
  5. Move email – connected accounts and migration batches
  6. Export and import calendar and contact data
  7. Route Google Apps directly to O365
  8. Change DNS and stop synchronization with Google Apps

The transition from Google Apps to Microsoft Office 365 can be smoother with a migration/implementation partner, especially if you have large volume of data or users. Once all the data has been migrated, keep your Google Apps accounts live for a short period to ensure everything is working smoothly in O365 after the migration.

With better software, direct support from Microsoft Office Desktop Software, flexible pricing, training, and better SLAs, several industry analysts, trade pundits, and organizations are vouching for the 365 suite being a winner in the cloud-based business productivity market space. Preparing well for the transition from Google Apps to O365 and pilot testing the migration will help make it a success. The migration isn’t as hard as you think!

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Nandita
About the Author – Nandita Nityanandam

Nandita is a Marketing Professional with specific skills in marketing automation, sales/marketing alignment, go-to-market strategy and ROI analysis/metric based reporting for global markets. She has over a decade of experience in marketing and demand generation operations to boost branding, positioning and lead generation.

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Topics: Office 365