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Office 365 vs Google Apps for Work: Part 2 – Collaboration Matured

By Scott Gosling, National Practice Manager – Microsoft Solutions

[Reading time: 2.40 mins]

In Part 1 of this article, we looked at the battleground between Microsoft’s Office 365 and Google’s Apps for Work. In particular, we observed that Microsoft is changing the conversation regarding the collaboration capabilities it is placing into Office 365.

In Part 2, we’ll examine how Microsoft’s cadence of innovation in Office 365 is solidifying their enterprise lead. This cadence is enabling persistent improvements to core services such as Skype for Business and SharePoint, and supporting the emergence of new platforms such as Delve and the recently debuted Planner.

Google has long held a deserved reputation for innovation, particularly in Internet search. Recently however, Microsoft’s renewed vigour has revealed a company more clearly intent on putting the customer first, integrating feedback and bringing new features rapidly to market with greater agility than ever.

Office 365 vs Google Apps

THE INNOVATION OF PERSISTENT ITERATION

To provide some recent changes to illustrate this point, let’s look at Microsoft’s latest May updates for Office 365.  These updates have brought a slew of new features that enhance the collaborative capabilities of the Office suite. This includes upgrades to Skype for Business (formerly Lync), Office 365’s text, voice and video solution:

  • Users can now chat real-time in both locally installed and web-based apps such as Word, PowerPoint, Outlook and Excel.
  • When joining a Skype for Business meeting from Outlook 2016 or Outlook on the web, all attached files slated for the meeting load automatically, to enable instant collaboration among attendees.
  • Improved integration with mobile devices, allowing users to join Skype for Business meetings directly from an events page.

With these updates, Skype for Business has evolved into an even more powerful solution for meetings and voice, developing greater integration into Microsoft’s modern productivity stack and allowing more frictionless collaboration and sharing.

Future releases will cover a new SharePoint mobile app for iOS (with Android to follow), bringing your corporate Intranet to your pocket, with fully compatible, on-the-go access to your company’s content, sites, and apps. Microsoft has also recently debuted Planner, a Trello-like project management solution deeply integrated with Office 365 apps and services.

These new products and features not only add to the already-robust capabilities of the Office 365 platform, they also suggest a deepened commitment on the part of the company to better cater for and continually improve upon the enterprise mobility experience.

While Google often announces the introduction of new products and features – such as its new machine-learning ‘enterprise assistant’, Springboard – it’s Microsoft’s roadmaps and releases that are increasingly the productivity attention-getters. Rather than reacting to innovation ushered in by others, it appears that Microsoft are now driving it, and sharing this roadmap with their large corporate customers.

NEWFOUND AGILITY FROM THE ORIGINATORS OF PRODUCTIVITY

Microsoft are displaying the sort of velocity that many have been hoping that Cloud would provide. They’ve adapted with considerable speed to an enterprise environment that now emphasises a deep integration across web and mobile, and seem intent on adding value at every opportunity through consistent updates and improvements to consolidate their lead in the market. The result is an Office 365 suite of products growing ever more capable and attuned to user needs.

Nonetheless, when it comes to deciding on which productivity platform is right for your business, it pays to take the time to honestly assess what is of value to your organisation, and what you need a productivity suite to deliver. Those needs undoubtedly vary from one company to the next, and will define how you approach the question of adoption.

Microsoft has demonstrated that they have and will continue to mature the collaboration capabilities in Office 365.  So in terms of the decision for your organisation as to which solution is right for your business, there are a couple of questions that will assist you to navigate your choice.

  • Do you need end-to-end integration, comprehensive file compatibility, advanced data manipulation or seamless video conferencing and messaging?
  • Do you want a familiar look and feel for traditional productivity tools?

If these are essential to your business, then Office 365 offers a better whole-of-business value proposition for your organisation.

If you want to touch base with me directly, feel free to do so via LinkedIn.

Tags: Cloud, Mobility, Microsoft, Skype for Business (S4B), Collaboration, Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Office Delve, Microsoft Planner

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