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Insight and analysis of technology and business strategy

Google Workspace vs. Microsoft 365: Which is Right for Your Organization?

These days, most businesses don’t have a heterogeneous IT environment—even if it seems like it on paper.



You might be a Google shop, but have a group of users who are die-hard devotees to certain Microsoft 365 tools. Or, they may be working with clients, partners, suppliers or other external parties who use a different set of collaboration and productivity tools than the ones authorized by the IT department.

Or you might be a Microsoft shop, but some departments and lines of business use Google Workspace. And there’s probably a few other apps like Slack or Dropbox—and some unauthorized ones, too—that are part of the overall mix.

With distributed and hybrid workforces, it can be harder to manage which applications and devices employees are using—and they’ll gravitate toward the ones they’re most familiar and comfortable with while working from home or on the road.

This can lead to an administrative headache for IT teams, as they try to rein in shadow IT, manage multiple platforms and ensure they’re staying on top of compliance.


Google Workspace vs. Microsoft 365

If you’re debating between Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365), it doesn’t have to be an either/or scenario. Both Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 have similar features, such as business email, mobile apps and cloud storage, so it depends on the needs of your organization.

Google Workspace was built in the cloud for agile creation and collaboration, so it’s a great fit for distributed and hybrid work environments, as well as teams that regularly collaborate on documents, spreadsheets and presentations. It’s constantly updated, without the need for local devices or native apps. And, since Google plays well with other clouds, it’s also a natural fit for cloud-centric business models, whether you’re using Google Cloud, hybrid cloud or multi-cloud.

Microsoft Office has been around a long time and many users are already familiar with Word, Excel and PowerPoint. With most Microsoft 365 plans, you have access to the ‘classic’ desktop versions of Microsoft apps as well as the cloud-based versions. The desktop apps offer a full range of functionality, which can be a bonus for some users, though they also tend to have a higher learning curve.

But it’s also possible to support both environments. Google has invested in ‘conversion fidelity,’ which means Google Workspace users can collaborate with anyone using legacy files in Office formats. In other words, they can view and edit Office files right in Google Workspace, without any format conversions or the need to install Microsoft 365.

Plus, Google Drive can handle more than 40 different file types, which means IT admins can manage mixed environments and/or shadow IT by allowing users to safely access the right data and applications from any device. And employees, clients and partners who still use Microsoft 365 won’t be shut out.

Also, Work Insights provides insight into the impact of your Google Workspace deployment with easy-to-read metrics on adoption, productivity and collaboration. This allows you to compare and contrast usage of your Google Workspace apps with legacy apps or other tools.


Supporting mixed environments

But managing multiple platforms can still be challenging. A partner with experience across Google, Microsoft and other platforms can provide support, best practices and even managed services to help you get the most out of your investment.

Pythian is vendor- and cloud-agnostic, with competencies across Google, Microsoft, AWS, Oracle, SAP, open source and many other environments. So regardless of your situation, we’ll find a solution that’s tailored to your organization’s needs—so you can focus on creating value for your business while we focus on supporting your Google Workspace and users.


Speak to a Google Workspace expert to learn more or download our Google Workspace Guide for IT Managers to learn how Google Workspace can support your needs.

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