With Microsoft set to end their support for Office 2003 and XP tomorrow (8 April 2014), we are set to see many businesses migrating into the Cloud. Thus far, Google have attempted to rule and dominate the cloud debate. Through their Google Apps for Business offering the company have attempted to be the go to solution for cloud migration. However, Office 365 is set to challenge this dominance, and I believe will become the go to choice for business.
A graceful move into the cloud
The majority of Google Apps users will not be able to use it entirely for their work, simply because of its lack of functionality. The Cloud is a very new concept for businesses and they do not all want to have to immediately work in the Cloud as Google Apps requires. There will still be some businesses and customers who choose to use Office 2010 and would rather receive files as attachments rather than being shared as collaborators. A basic problem with Google Apps is users are unable to access and edit files offline. Office 365 solves this issue, allowing users to gently slide into the Cloud without falling in deep.
A key advantage of Office 365 over Google Apps is integration. Exciting new Windows PC’s and devices integrate Office 365 into their slick and attractive new user interfaces, allowing for easy collaboration with the latest Windows phones and touchpads.
Keeping to what you know
The key benefit of Office 365 to users is that they are able to retain the parts they liked about Office 2010, whilst benefitting from new Cloud storage and access features. Businesses are able to go to full Cloud integration whilst retaining their previous office systems, allowing users to work in and out of the Cloud whenever they choose. Migrating into the Cloud via Office 365 means you do not have to upload everything and start trying to learn new programmes as with Google Apps.
The household names, Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook all stay the same in Office 365. Google does provide some highly simple and similar tools, however they are still different to Office and do not offer the same high level of functionality.
Practicing and getting to know a brand new system wastes precious time and productivity. Businesses who want to migrate to the Cloud want to go there as seamlessly as possible through an easy to use system which causes as little time wasting as possible.
Office 365 as THE business tool
As the Google vs. Microsoft debate goes on, it is likely some companies will choose to set up Google Apps in conjunction with Office 365. However, Office 365 remains to be the key tool for business. Microsoft have been the dominant force in the computing world for decades, and it is unlikely their users are going to switch to Google Docs, losing that familiarity. Businesses are naturally apprehensive about changes to their processes, and moving into the Cloud is likely to be faced with the same apprehension. Businesses need to be able to move into the Cloud without having to drastically change their processes, making Office 365 the obvious choice.
The majority of businesses already use Microsoft products. The simple and smooth transition to the Cloud with the comfort of Microsoft Office makes it the obvious choice. Google Apps are brand new pieces of software to most, therefore moving into Cloud with Google is all new. Office 365 on the other hand is an upgrade, requiring much less effort to migrate.
Microsoft Office is set to continue to be the first choice for business and is likely to continue to quash Google’s dominance of the debate and cause their growth to dwindle.
About the Author
Chris Dunning is Founder and CEO of TechQuarters. Chris launched TechQuarters just as the Cloud Computing phenomenon started to get whispered about by business leaders around the globe. TechQuarters main focus is IT Support and Cloud Migrations and last year (2013) TechQuarters was awarded the World Cloud Partner of the Year award 2013 by Microsoft.