G Suite vs Office 365 - What's the best productivity suite for business?

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Google Hangouts are good for a quick message or chat, but it seems that it lacks the complexity to perform other tasks that Microsoft Teams can. The user experience is also very simplistic, which is good if you don't expect much, but Teams is a better choice for people who often work on group projects or need constant collaboration.

Google recently announced that it has added some AI driven features to Google Hangouts, including introducing Smart Reply here too. This is the feature already rolled out to Gmail, which uses AI to prompt you with suggestions for quick replies. This feature has proved popular, with Google reporting that 10 percent of communications through consumer Gmail now begin with these responses.

Let's not forget, Microsoft also offers Skype for Business, which is great for group conference calls and video meetings. And while Google Hangouts does offer its own video calling capabilities, Skype for Business has greater user uptake and is well established in the video conferencing arena.

It was recently announced by Google that voice commands will be increasingly available for Google Hangouts, meaning you can give instructions such as: "Hey Google, start the meeting".

Price

Price is probably one of the biggest deciding factors when purchasing any business software and Google and Microsoft are priced competitively.

Google offers a three-tiered pricing option for business users; Basic, Business or Enterprise however, as of April 2019, two incremental list price updates were introduced to better "reflect [the] value" offered by G Suite.

Small businesses could still comfortably go for the Basic option, which offers 30 GB of storage, business email address, video and voice conferencing, shared calendars and Docs, Sheets and Slides for £4.63 per user per month.

For larger organisations, the Business option will suit. It offers all the above features but unlimited cloud storage, audit reports, e-discovery for emails and chats and archiving policies for £9.26 per user per month. Its Enterprise model isn’t impacted by the price increase and continues to cost £20 per user, per month; including all the same features as the Business option but with advanced security features.

Microsoft Office 365 also offers three pricing options, Business Essentials, Business and Business Premium.

Business Essentials gives users access to Microsoft's online Office 365, a 50 GB mailbox, 1 TB of file storage, Skype and Microsoft Teams for £3.80 per user per month. The next package up, Business offers the full desktop version of Office 365, 1 TB of file storage and tablet/phone apps but does not include email for £7.90.

The Business Premium package offers all the features of Business and Business Essentials for £9.40.

Microsoft also offers a range of enterprise packages offering different sizes of mailboxes and storage.

We've compared both G Suite Business and Microsoft Office 365 Business Essentials, back to back, on storage, price, users and applications.

As there are plenty of options out there, we found that G Suite Business and Microsoft Office 365 Business Essentials were the most comparable for medium-sized businesses as both offer online-only suites.

Read next: Microsoft Azure vs Amazon AWS public cloud comparison

Microsoft Office 2019 release

Microsoft released Office 2019 on 24 September 2018, differing from the traditional Office 365 suite in that it is not a subscription service. Office 2019 is sold as a one-time purchase, which means you pay a single, up-front cost to get Office apps for one computer.

While it provides a good option for consumers who are still unwilling to take the plunge with a fully cloud-based platform there are no upgrade options, which means if you plan to upgrade to the next major release, you'll have to buy it at full price.

Security updates are included in the purchase however ongoing technical support after your initial installation period is not.

The one-time purchase price for the Office 2019 Home and Business offering will cost you £249.99.

Verdict

Both G Suite and Microsoft Office 365 can compete with one another across the board.

Google comes out on top in terms of collaboration and ease of use, while Microsoft strengths lie in offering a suite that is feature rich and capable of processing detailed documents and large amounts of data.

Organisations currently using Google's email client will find it an easy transition to move further down the G Suite path, with the same being relevant for those currently using Microsoft's Outlook email client.

For businesses wanting an online suite that is most simple to use, Google is the ideal option. Its one-stop-shop approach is particularly attractive to businesses starting out and those looking for a clean and responsive productivity suite. Yet Office 365's user interface is one that most will be familiar with, drawing on Microsoft's extensive experience with productivity tools.

Read next: Windows 10 for business: Pros and cons for enterprise users

Read next: Microsoft launches training programme to boost digital skills in the UK

Read next: 10 Google Apps add-ons for business users

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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