Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Office 365 vs Google Apps

We're implementing both Office 365 and Google Apps for customers and are often asked how do they compare?

A lot depends ultimately on your comfort level with change. Microsoft Office 365 has little impact on your current processes and usage of Outlook and nicely takes away the hassles of managing your own servers. However, if you're working on multiple platforms such as Linux and Mac then those users will have to live without features available only to the Windows based users.

Set aside trying to compare Microsoft Office Word, Excel versus Google Docs, Spreadsheets as they coexist very happily. Your power users will still want the advanced features of Excel and Word but users may find everything they need in Google Docs and organically adapt to its simplicity and collaboration tools that avoid the version nightmare often created by file attachments.
  • From a long term cost, simplicity, and reliability standpoint Google Apps wins.
  • From the minimizing the costs of change standpoint Microsoft Office 365 wins.
  • For Mobile devices Office 365 handles email, calendar, and contacts well across most platforms but Google Apps takes it a step further and provides simple document sharing and even document editing on iPads and Android devices.
  • From a rapid innovation, no upgrades/patches to manage, and easy to use collaboration standpoint Google Apps wins.
The Microsoft Cloud Office 365 solution depends heavily on client installed software such as Outlook and Lync for the full experience. Lync for example is ~65 Mb in size and provides the instant messaging, video, audio, and phone calls but doesn't work on the Mac or Linux platform. Google Apps provides a web browser based solution for this that works on most platforms and even mobile devices.

Office 365 is still an excellent step forward and ideal for eliminating some of the costs of managing servers.

As a solution provider focused exclusively on Cloud products we can discuss the pros and cons of each platform relative to your specific needs. We can provide a lengthy detailed document on the differences that can only come from the experience we have implementing both products, but what's most important is which product best aligns to your current needs and long term business goals.

Contact us at and we'll help you succeed with business technology in the Cloud.

Data Roaming Plans

Since we're constantly configuring our customer's mobile devices to work with Google Apps and Office 365 we're frequently asked for advice on what to do when travelling to the U.S. with your phone.

In February of last year I provided details on how to save money on roaming by swapping your Rogers SIM card for an AT&T SIM card.

MobileSyrup today published the latest data roaming rates from Rogers and it's still extremely expensive; making the hassles of unlocking your phone and swapping your SIM card still worthwhile.

I made 2 recent trips into the U.S. and spent $25 USD for a 500 Mb prepaid data plan on AT&T which would have cost $200 CAD from Rogers. Plus I paid $15 and switched on the $2 per day plan for unlimited voice and text compared to $40 for 40 minutes through Rogers. AT&T only charges you the $2 if you use the phone on that day and you can choose to pay $0.10 per minute instead.

I'm a pretty heavy user of data plans since I make my Android phone a portable Wi-Fi hotspot for my tablet and notebook so 100 Mb doesn't last long on the road.

Contact us at with any questions about your mobile device so we can keep you highly productive on the go.