Thinking About Migrating From G Suite To Microsoft 365?
Migrating from one business technology to another isn’t necessarily a simple process. Do you know how to manage the switch effectively?
Key points in this article:
- Microsoft and Google’s productivity suites have a lot of competing features
- Microsoft 365 is more popular in business settings for a variety of reasons
- If you plan to move to Microsoft 365, you need to plan the migration carefully
Microsoft and Google are two of the most recognizable names in the world of technology, so it should come as no surprise that they both have something great to offer businesses looking to add a productivity suite to their tech arsenal—Microsoft 365 and G Suite.
Despite having very similar current functions, their roots couldn't be more different. Microsoft 365 has been around in one version or another for many years, with programs like Word going back to nearly the beginning of personal computing.
G Suite, on the other hand, started as the powerhouse Google search engine, eventually offering users the option to edit documents collaboratively and growing from there.
While they're both pretty similar on the surface, the advantages and disadvantages of each of these offerings start to become more apparent when we take a closer look at the details.
Microsoft 365 Vs. G Suite
Both Microsoft 365 and G Suite grant access to cloud storage, e-mail (using a company domain or @outlook/@gmail), and 24/7 support. Both allow you to create and edit Microsoft 365 file types, although some formatting may be lost between G Suite and Microsoft 365 thanks to compatibility issues.
Beyond that, Microsoft 365 has three major selling points right out of the gate:
Microsoft 365 is built for power. It has Web and Desktop versions —though the Web version has limited features, allowing for small document edits and online sharing, while the Desktop version has a ton of features and capabilities. It is accessible via Windows, Mac OS, and all mobile platforms including Windows Phone.
G Suite, on the other hand, is built for collaboration. It has a web version only, with some offline use via the Chrome browser with file-syncing enabled. It is accessible via Windows, Mac OS, iOS, and Android only.
Word Processing, Spreadsheet, And Presentations
Word is a fully-featured program designed for power. Word remains the premier word processing program on the market, with recent versions adding much-needed collaborative features.
Docs is very minimalist and designed with collaboration in mind, with fast editing and sharing capabilities at its hallmark.
Excel has advanced formatting and scripting tools, making it a much more complete option, particularly if you tend to work with large data sets and rely on functions like Pivot Tables and multiple notebooks. With tons of integrated features and options, Excel has something to offer everyone.
Sheets has a built-in chat window to let users discuss changes and collaborate in real time. Sheets can't handle running macros, however. It's a bare-bones spreadsheet interface, and nothing more.
PowerPoint has more robust media integration, allowing users to embed YouTube and local media files, Facebook videos, Twitter videos, and more. There are plenty of formatting options and templates available to choose from. An especially handy feature is that once media files are added to PowerPoint, you can take those files with you offline and give your presentation without needing a connection.
Slides has native YouTube integration—since the site belongs to Google's suite of products—and limited but easy to use formatting. Unlike PowerPoint, you must have a network connection to view these video files as they are not available offline.
While there is a lot of overlap between the two platforms where email is concerned, such as Two-Factor Authentication, spam filtering, calendar integration, customizable themes, and legal holds on inboxes.
That last feature is especially important since this allows you to remove employee access to sensitive data once they're no longer with the company by locking down inboxes if need be.
Outlook has a few things going for it. The desktop software we all know and love bundles with Microsoft 365 at the enterprise pricing level, with the business pricing level granting web-only access.
Gmail doesn't have quite as many options. Your inbox is accessible through your web browser only, unless you use third-party software—which means if you already have Outlook software installed, you can use your Gmail account for desktop email access, but there is no desktop version of Gmail.
Default smart sorting categories use multiple default tabs that assign priority to incoming messages but offer no customization. You're limited to default categories which can be removed, but not changed. There is no Gmail equivalent to rules and quick steps, and while offline browsing is available through Chrome or Safari only, you must have everything downloaded beforehand in order to access it offline, and can only go back a month into your archive.
G Suite also limits your ability to customize your number of panes, leaving you stuck with three.
Both Microsoft 365 and G Suite offer instant messaging, voice and video chat, screen sharing, and archived chat logs.
One advantage Microsoft 365 has over G Suite is Teams. Microsoft Teams is a chat-based workspace in Microsoft 365 that lets you bring together other users and collaborate with conversations and content.
The idea behind using Teams is to help you do more and increase your employees' productivity. Basically, it helps your teams get work done. You can easily integrate it with other Microsoft applications via its secure cloud.
Google Hangouts is great for Android users since it doesn't require a separate app. Conversations can be synced across devices without interruption, and Hangouts is built into many G Suite apps. However, it's very much a standalone product with no real integration across the platform and has a maximum participant limit of 25 users.
File Storage and Syncing
There is a lot of overlap in this category. Both Microsoft 365 and G Suite Sync files between the cloud and your local machine.
You can use strictly cloud storage, strictly local storage, or both depending on your needs. Microsoft 365 offers more cloud storage space depending on your subscription level.
Both offer the ability to share documents both within and outside the organization, letting you collaborate with anyone who has the same product suite, provided you set permissions to allow access. Both also have online readers and editors for quick viewing and editing.
This is the area where the differences in power and capability really start to show themselves.
Microsoft's SharePoint can access anything stored within your Microsoft 365 enterprise server. Files stored on both your cloud and server are available to SharePoint without you specifically uploading them to the program. You just need to navigate to them by placing them in the correct SharePoint category.
SharePoint uses metadata tagging, which is similar to how Wikipedia or other pages function. It uses links to reference pages within itself and has the additional option of referencing files that are elsewhere within your enterprise.
The check-in/check-out feature prevents simultaneous changes and keeps employees from accidentally writing over work in progress, and records management gives you version histories to keep track of what changed with a specific document.
Automated workflow processes are another highlight. If you access certain pages within SharePoint, you can trigger responses based on what was accessed, what changes were made, what files were uploaded or removed, and what projects were closed.
SharePoint is an extraordinary content management product, effortlessly keeping track of any interactions with all other aspects of the enterprise.
Google's Sites have a familiar feel to Wikipedia users, referencing similar Google pages as links much the same as on a Wiki page. Its quick deployment and more user-friendly setup make it a popular choice, but Sites has limited customization with minimal themes or options to choose from.
You're stuck with keeping pages exactly as they're set up "out of the box." Search capabilities are limited to individual Sites, which means any documents you want to reference must be added to your Site in order for you to see them on your Site. Sites also don't track version histories.
Sites is good for easy local file management, but cannot touch the level of integration and functionality SharePoint has.
Added Features and Functions
Microsoft's OneNote offers robust, indexed notes and notebooks. Think of it as a three-ring binder that has every single note you've ever taken down. OneNote can be indexed and referenced elsewhere, and can also be integrated into other Microsoft 365 products.
You can take notes during a meeting, share those notes instantly during the meeting, and then after the meeting is over you can go back into your Outlook calendar, open the note associated with that meeting and see what notes were taken at that time
Google's Keep offers simple, stand-alone notes, and looks and operates much like post-it notes. There's no way to link them together, but you can share them with team members, and they can be edited collaboratively.
Microsoft also offers Delve, Flow, and Bookings, three products that are unique to Microsoft 365.
Delve is a piece of software that looks at everything else you're doing within Microsoft 365 and shows you what it thinks you're most interested in.
It shows you files you've recently accessed, files that people on your team have recently accessed, and sees who you email with the most and shows you their messages with priority over other team members. It's very intuitive, and a great place to see everything that you're working on at a glance.
Flow is a workflow organizer that creates flow charts. If flowcharts are a part of your day-to-day, this is a great asset to have that is exclusive to Microsoft 365.
Bookings keeps track of your meetings, but also allows external integration into a website and into your email so that you can reach out to clients and give them the option to schedule meetings, appointments, or visits with you and your team.
Conclusion: Microsoft 365 Or G Suite?
If you're looking for something that's thoroughly integrated and natively talks to itself and its related products, Microsoft's offering is an extraordinary option. It's the most robust, feature-laden, professional-looking, and customizable software suite available on the market today. Microsoft 365 does everything and does it very, very well.
G Suites is a solid product that is very minimalist and serviceable for basic needs, but… Microsoft 365 is the most popular option for a reason.
Cloud-based technologies, in general, are changing the way users like you view the capabilities of their technology—especially Microsoft 365.
Whether this is your first cloud platform, or you’re currently using an alternative like G Suite, it’s important to consider your migration carefully. Do you know what it involves?
The 5 Step Process To Microsoft 365 Migration
Planning makes all the difference between a successful migration and a disastrous one.
Follow these steps and take your time to execute an effective migration:
When preparing for your migration to Microsoft 365, it's important to plan efficiently and thoroughly.
The best way to achieve this is with an actual meeting with those who are involved in the process. You should talk through a number of key factors both in the migration, such as:
- Why are we choosing to migrate?
- What benefits do we expect to gain from migrating?
- How will our infrastructure change during migration?
- How will the user experience change after migration?
- How will we train staff members on using Microsoft 365?
This is an especially vital step because, if you don’t have answers to these questions, then you probably aren’t ready to migrate.
Knowing how to answer these questions means that you can avoid common pitfalls and hit the ground running with your new IT environment.
Furthermore, you’ll want to make sure your entire staff understands what migration means for their work. What kind of downtime will they encounter, what benefits they will have access to once it's complete, etc?
Migration is a great opportunity to take stock of your hardware. This is the type of consideration you need to make (and do something about) before you migrate, and not after.
As Microsoft 365 provides virtually all the software you could possibly use, there isn’t too much to take stock of in your old environment.
However, if you and your staff currently use mail-enabled applications that you’re fond of, or that are so specific to your business and industry that you’ll need them post-migration anyway, then you need to make sure they are compatible with Exchange Web Services.
Equip Yourself With A Deployment Tool
The good news is that you won’t have to handle much of the migration process all on your own. Microsoft offers a Deployment Readiness Tool to help users plan out the many aspects of a successful migration—primarily, environment discovery.
This tool can analyze and gather info on your IT system’s Active Directory and domain settings, helping to take stock of your Exchange, SharePoint, End User environment and Skye for Business settings. In addition to the app-based features, the Deployment Readiness Tool will also log your network configurations and settings so that they are carried over in migration as well.
Furthermore, Microsoft also has an Assessment and Planning Toolkit. While it is not designed specifically for Microsoft 365, it is useful for discovery and inventory of cloud services and applications. If you’re migrating from a cloud-based or hybrid environment, the Assessment and Planning Toolkit will likely be a useful aid in determining what you need to keep track of.
Now that all the groundwork has been done, you’re ready to migrate.
Remember, there’s no rushing this process. If you want it to be effective, and if you want your new Microsoft 365 environment to work as planned, then be patient and follow the steps carefully.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Guidance
It’s possible to handle a migration of this scale on your own—but it won’t be easy. As you can see, there’s a lot to consider, and this doesn’t even take into account the time and money you would spend on handling the process independently.
It’s much wiser to simply enlist the assistance of an IT company like ACT360. We will be able to offer the experience and skills necessary to manage the migration end to end and avoid the common pitfalls.