Microsoft SharePoint vs Google Docssites

Google Apps for work, Home Page, SharePoint

I recently fielded a question from a potential client who wanted to know if Microsoft SharePoint or Google Docs with Google Sites was a better fit for their organization’s document management and collaboration needs. Although this question is pretty straight-forward, the explanation can get a bit complicated.

The short answer is Google Docs/Sites is great tool if you do not have an enterprise collaboration platform at your disposal, and you need to to get a document sharing site up quickly. However, Google Docs/Sites falls way short in providing the breadth and depth of features that Microsoft SharePoint offers.

SharePoint is a true enterprise platform with capabilities that extend beyond document management and collaboration (e.g. Search, Workflow, and KPI Dashboards. If you have a dozen or more computer users in your organization who need tools other than email and network drives to collaborate, you should strongly consider an investment in the SharePoint platform. Microsoft even offers a free version of SharePoint for small and medium sized organizations (less than a few hundred computer users), along with premium versions for larger organizations – sharepoint-deployment-planning-services.

Analysis Notes

Document Management

From a document management perspective, Microsoft SharePoint and Google Docs have compelling offerings. Both provide a browser-based user experience for managing documents in a central location and keeping track of a document’s version history.

SharePoint includes a wider variety of document management features than Google Docs, including:

  • Metadata tagging to help you organize and find documents quickly
  • Check-in/Check-out to prevent multiple users from editing a document at the same time
  • Document sets which allow a group of related documents to be treated as a single piece of content that share metadata and version history
  • Records management for managing the lifecycle of documents and providing for the ability to place documents into a legal hold state
  • Provides for the ability to trigger workflow processes (e.g. approval/publishing of content) whenever a document is added, changed, or removed

Google Docs may be a better fit than SharePoint in some circumstances:

  • Google Docs is quite a bit easier to setup and configure than SharePoint, so you should be able to get started in less time
  • Organizations with only a simple need to share documents may find Google Docs easier to use
  • Google Docs is often a good fit for organizations with ad-hoc teams that must be brought together quickly (especially when team members hail from different organizations)
  • Google Docs will likely cost substantially less to implement than SharePoint

If you are looking for a document management solution that supports day-to-day employee and interdepartmental document sharing as well as special projects, then SharePoint will be a better fit for your organization in the long-run. If you just need a quick and dirty solution for an ad-hoc project, then Google Docs is probably a better way to go.

Collaboration

SharePoint and Google Docs with Google Sites are pretty far apart on the maturity scale – SharePoint has been around for over 10 years and is a pretty stable solution for the Enterprise; Google’s Docs with Sites were released less than 4 years ago which is evidenced by a few bugs that bite from time to time.

Both SharePoint and Google product suites include document management systems and the ability to create collaboration sites, but SharePoint includes quite a few additional features. SharePoint is often referred to as a Swiss army knife of collaboration and office productivity features.

Feature Comparison

SharePoint features that are absent from Google’s offering include:

  • Flexible collaboration site templates and structures provide the ability to meet varying business needs of different departments and teams
  • Workflow to automate and manage business processes
  • Enterprise search capabilities to index content on your network drive (as well as the content you store inside SharePoint)
  • Configurable lists to capture metadata when storing documents
  • Centralized task lists to replace spreadsheets (great for managing projects)
  • SharePoint dashboards can integrate data from other systems to track your Key Performance Indicators
  • Tight integration of Documents, Tasks, and Calendars with the Microsoft Office Suite (e.g. updates made in Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint will automatically update the central copy inside SharePoint)

Permission Management

SharePoint and Google offerings also differ significantly when it comes to permission management. Google has limited permission management, allowing you to only define who can view content and who can edit content on each site. In SharePoint you have a lot of flexibility regarding the granularity of permissions – within a SharePoint site you can allow people to view some of the content, but not all. Similarly, you can allow people to modify some pieces of content, but not all content. Permissions are also easier to maintain in SharePoint. Access rights for Google Sites and Google Apps are maintained separately, which can sometimes overlap and lead to some confusion or surprise over who has the ability to access or edit content.

Market Share

The organization adoption level for Google sites is pretty tiny when compared to the adoption level of SharePoint. Google Docs had a few notable customers switch from MS Office (Word/Excel/PowerPoint) to Google Docs, but Google Sites hasn’t really taken off yet.

Conclusion

Overall, SharePoint is still a category killer and the clear winner when it comes to document management and collaboration solutions. For good reason, there are over 100 million users of SharePoint world-wide!
Originally Posted by Rick Rietz

How to Make Microsoft Office Desktop Software Work Seamlessly With Google Drive

Google Apps for work, Home Page

drive-devices


Last December, we shared how Google was making its productivity suite, Google Apps for Work, work “friendlier” with Microsoft Office files. Earlier this week, Google announced what seems a surprising next step in its Microsoft Office embrace: a new plugin for Google Chrome (Windows version only) that enables Google Drive to work seamlessly with Microsoft Office software. Using the new Google Drive Chrome plug-in, people using Office for Windows are able to open their Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents stored in Drive, then save any changes back to Drive once they are done. The move supports Google’s focus on making Google Drive more competitive to Cloud storage leaders like DropBox at the price of weakening its head-to-head competition with Microsoft Office.


How it works

If you’re working on a Word document, Excel spreadsheet or Power Point Presentation that’s on your computer, you can also save that file to Google Drive, directly from the Office apps. This is especially useful for sharing files with teams, or for accessing your files across devices running Windows.

Yet another Cloud option

Box and Dropbox have taken similar approaches to support Microsoft’s commanding lead in office productivity software. Box lets you create and edit Office Online files, while Dropbox has brought collaboration features right into Microsoft Office for Windows and Mac. And, of course, there is Microsoft’s own OneDrive.

Why companies are switching from Google Apps to Office 365

Google Apps for work, Home Page, O365

Microsoft’s increasingly strong Office 365 performance is coming partly at the expense of Google Apps. Motorola’s recent decision to move from an elderly version of Office to Google’s cloud service bucks the more common trend of companies who have been using Google Apps switching to Office 365.

It’s not just Microsoft saying that Office 365 is growing (COO Kevin Turner claims that four out of five Fortune 500 companies use the service). Last year, cloud security company Bitglass said traffic analysis gave Google twice the market share of Office 365 among its customers, with 16.3 percent of the market; that went up to 22.8 percent this year as more companies switched to cloud services. However, over the same year, Office 365 grew far faster, from 7.7 percent to 25.2 percent. Google has a slight advantage with small businesses (22.8 percent to Microsoft’s 21.4 percent) but in large, regulated businesses (over 1,000 employees), Microsoft’s 30 percent share is twice that of Google and growing fast.

Office 365 is even more popular with the 21 million customers of Skyhigh Network’s cloud security services, where 87.3 percent are using Office 365 services, with each organization uploading an average 1.37 terabytes of data to the service each month.



Okta

There are some geographical differences in the popularity of Office 365 and Google Apps in Okta’s customer base, with APAC currently a Google stronghold.

That fits what identity management company Okta is seeing. Office 365 is the most commonly deployed application among its customers (beating even Salesforce) and adoption is growing faster than any other cloud applications. It’s also the cloud service customers use the most, probably because that usage includes all the email users send and receive.

Okta CEO Todd McKinnon does note that the picture is a little different in different parts of the world and across different industries. Google Apps is stronger in APAC, although that may change as Microsoft builds out new data centers in the region (that’s already making a difference in Australia and Japan). The only industry segments where Google Apps has more share than Office 365 are in technology; media, Internet and software companies. The smaller the company, the more share Google Apps has among Okta’s customers; but even in the smallest companies Office 365 is still in the lead.

“There are different dynamics that matter based on the company size,” McKinnon points out. “Large companies need manageability, security, reliability. You wouldn’t see this acceleration of Office 365 in large companies without Microsoft doing a lot of work [in those areas].”



Okta

Google Apps is more popular with smaller businesses in Okta’s figures.

[Related: How Office 365 balances IT control with user satisfaction]

The majority of new Office 365 customers are moving from on-premises, but even companies that have already adopted Google Apps for Business are switching to Office. Microsoft claimed they won back 440 customers in 2013, including big names like Burger King and Campbell’s, and the trend is continuing. Some of that may be the halo effect of the Office 365 growth making companies that picked Google Apps question whether they made the right decision. But often, it’s because of dissatisfaction with Google Apps itself.

The simplicity of Gmail and Google Docs clearly appeals to some users, but as one of the most widely used applications in the world, the Office software is familiar to many. “When you put these products into companies, the user interface really matters,” McKinnon says. “For email, the user interface really matters. Google Apps is dramatically different from Office and that’s pretty jarring for people who’ve been using Outlook for a long time. It’s like it beamed in from outer space; you have to use a browser, the way it does conversations and threading with labels versus folders, it’s pretty jarring.”



Okta

Cloud security identity and security services find that Office 365 is gaining popularity with their customers; this shows the growth in Office 365 adoption among Okta’s users.

And it’s hard to use Outlook with Google, many customers report. “Some companies, they go to Google and they think they are going to make it work with Outlook; what they find out when they start using the calendar is that it just doesn’t work as well with the Google Apps backend as it does when you’re using Office 365. The user interface is so important that it pulls them back in. Even if you like the Google backend better, you have thousands of users saying ‘what happened to my folders?’”

Buying Office 365 for Office

That’s what Glenn Jimerson, currently CTO of fintech startup Loanatik found with an earlier startup. “I’ve deployed Google Apps in three different startup and I personally like it for many reasons, including the price; it’s great bang for the buck.” But while young founders and employees, especially Mac users, were happy with Google Apps for the basic document tasks they were doing, other, older workers found they weren’t as productive without Office. “I got a lot of backlash; they weren’t happy that it wasn’t Outlook. They were saying ‘I really want PowerPoint to do my presentations.’”

The tipping point was a new CEO who insisted on working in Outlook. When Jimerson looked at the options, Office 365 made more financial sense than just buying the Office software. “We would pay Google Apps $5 a month and then we’d have to buy the Office suite for each computer. If you’re pushing somebody who’s used to an Office environment into a Google cloud, they’re going to feel this vacuum because they no longer have the programs they’re familiar with. It represents a huge investment in time that people aren’t going to be receptive to. And you have Microsoft saying ‘for just $3 a month more you could have all these great programs you’re used to. Now they’ve got the pricing so you get more than you get on Google, what Microsoft is offering is fantastic, and for $3 more it’s a premium worth paying. Microsoft is still the king of hill for a reason.”

The cloud aspect of Google Apps hadn’t proved important to the startup (and it wasn’t why they switched to Office 365). “Everybody was fine with the idea of the cloud but it wasn’t the primary reason; the cloud was nice to have but they didn’t necessarily see it as a productivity boost.” In fact, more employees were concerned about working offline. “What happens if there’s no Internet, if I’m in a plane with no Wi-Fi, can I still work? Their first reaction is ‘I want Office for that’.”

His current company has used Office 365 from the start (“I brought up Google apps but nobody was willing to be that cheap about $3 a user,” he notes) and OneDrive is one of the most popular features “People like it; it’s taken over from sneakernet and emailing back and forth. If they need to work together, people just toss it up on OneDrive”.

Outlook and Excel features come up again and again as advantages for the companies who had made the move away from Google Apps. Erik Jewett of Skykick, who provides a service partners use to migrate customers to Office 365, hears that particularly from power users. “In Excel, there are rich capabilities that aren’t matched by Google apps.” In Outlook, calendar sharing is important, as is delegation. “Administrative assistants can manage their manager’s calendar; they don’t have that type of delegation with Google apps.”

Nick Espinosa, the CIO at IT consultancy BSSSi2, has helped several businesses move from Google Apps to Office 365. “Quite frankly, Google is completely outclassed by Office 365 in this arena and despite the price difference corporations who made the switch to Google Apps to save money usually end up coming back within a year. The primary driver of this appears to be Outlook integration over everything else, followed by the inability to do some advanced things that Microsoft Office excels at.”

[Related: Google for Work vs. Microsoft Office 365: A comparison of cloud tools]

For larger companies, this goes beyond the familiarity of Outlook into advanced features. “You can integrate Skype into Outlook, you can integrate OneDrive for Business into Outlook. It becomes essentially like a command center, and there is nothing Google gives you that does that.”

“The reason people have been moving to Google is cost,” Espinosa says. “Most companies we’ve seen that have decided to move to Google, it was primarily for cost savings. The say ‘we get email, we have all these things and it’s significantly less expensive than having to buy a copy of Office for everyone and hook up a mail server. But a lot of people don’t find the usability and collaboration nearly as effective as Office 365.”

Enterprise advantage

Not all companies who switch to Office 365 are using it as a cheap licencing deal for the Office applications. They also value Microsoft’s enterprise know-how.

“As a CIO, the goal is to run a balance between keeping all the employees happy and keeping the IT staff from pulling out their hair trying to centrally administer everything,” Espinosa says. “Most IT staff are very familiar with Microsoft infrastructure already. The Office 365 platform is essentially built on Active Directory (AD) and that’s integrated into most networks. Anyone that has had an Exchange server knows how to create routing, groups, calendars, collaboration…”

For many customers, Office 365 also copes better with the scale and complexity of a multinational enterprise than Google Apps. The global scale of Office 365 is an advantage to customers in government, education and regulated businesses care about where their data is and who can access it; Dr Mary Davis, the CIO of Macquarie University in Australia explains the reason for their recent switch from Google Apps to Office 365 “following a decision made by Google to move our stored data from Europe to the United States.” Microsoft’s data centers in Victoria and New South Wales fit their security and privacy concerns better, Davis says, and they’re getting faster access because the services are closer to them. She also notes that the majority of other Australian universities use Office 365 or Exchange and “many plan to ultimately move to Office 365,” which makes collaboration easier.

Google Apps didn’t cope well with scale at one large business Espinosa helped to migrate to Office 365, where they had been using Google Hangouts for online meetings. “Someone created a hangout for their meeting and they were hosting the meeting, and then another person tried to create a hangout with the same name – and they ended up being merged into the meeting. That doesn’t happen in Skype for Business.”

In that case, the mix-up was only confusing, but if confidential information was being discussed, it could have caused serious problems. “You should be able to create containers that are properly structured and secured,” says Espinosa, putting the difference down to Microsoft’s years of experience with enterprise systems. “There’s just a lot of detail in Office 365 that Google is just learning.”

Okta’s McKinnon says that goes beyond features to the whole way Google deals with businesses. “When they built Google Apps it was for consumers; the email had advertising in it. To be successful in enterprise takes a very different culture. You have to market it differently, you have to have a sales distribution organization, a support organization, different legal contracts for customers that you’re able to customize. It’s not that Google’s not capable of doing that, but it’s a different culture.”

Google’s approach to support can be frustrating, agrees Jewett. “Microsoft has been able to provide higher level of support, certainly for enterprise customers who are able to pay for dedicated customer account managers, and we hear that as a top reason to switch from customers.”

“The cut-off is if you’re if under 1,500 users they won’t talk to you,” Espinosa complains. “Google should have a paid support line. We can get Microsoft 24 hours a day; in an emergency, they will get back to us in an hour. In an emergency, they’re there with us from midnight to 3 a.m., if we need them.”

The Google dead end

Reaching partners like Espinosa that many businesses turn to for IT help is critical, especially for small and medium businesses. “That’s an area where Google has been cutting back on partners,” says Jewett. “I definitely hear partners saying they used to sell Google and Microsoft has done a very effective job of flipping them from being large Google resellers to large Microsoft resellers. “

The success of Office 365 is even attracting partners who have previously specialized in Google Apps. Maarten van Dijk, owner of Dutch consultancy Digitalent, moved his company from Google Apps to Office 365 this summer, partly because of the number of consulting requests and job opportunities they were getting from customers that involved Office 365. But as an early adopter of Google apps – van Dijk had been using the service for ten years – he was also disappointed with the lack of new features. “It just didn’t improve much in the last few years; I felt their development was on a dead end.”

The 1TB of storage in Office 365 was appealing. The storage in Google Apps was much smaller and the company found buying more was unnecessarily complicated. And the migration has made van Dijk interested in other Microsoft cloud services that work with Office 365; he’s also considering moving their on premise virtual machines to Azure and investigating syncing their Active Directory with Azure AD.

Espinosa sees that hybrid option as a definite advantage for Microsoft. “You can add Office 365 into your local solution. You can have AD, security, everything on premise and move elements like email to Office 365.” Google offers some AD integration, he notes; “you can filter and block across a domain, you can even push Windows group policy to Chrome. But Microsoft absolutely has the advantage for running AD and replicating that into the cloud.”

Van Dijk isn’t the only customer switching away from Google Apps because of the lack of development. Google showed early promise but they didn’t invest while Microsoft improved and that’s disappointed the early adopters, suggests McKinnon. “When we started seven years ago, Google Apps was pretty nascent but it was pretty good. I would have predicted that Google would have run away with email and collaboration, but over the last two or three years, Microsoft has essentially caught up and passed Google Apps.”

Skyick’s Jewett hears the same thing from customers. “Google started off as the leader; they were the first to have completely web-based productivity tools. It was a very effective way for Google to get the perception that they were being more innovative. And many people made a strong bet on Google having a strong future plan.”

That spurred Microsoft to catch up, and Google hasn’t kept up, says Jewett. “Microsoft started from behind but they made the large investments [required]. It’s more than just vaporware; they have built out greater capabilities where Google has been standing still. Microsoft has gone from behind to being the leader. They have a roadmap of new features and products continuing to come out in productivity.”

“It was early adopters who moved to Google; when they made that decision Google was the clear leader and now they see Google hasn’t invested to build on the expectation that was set. Given the sophistication of Google as a company, we’ve found it surprising that they haven’t built out more enterprise capabilities around Google Apps – and customers are noticing.”

Jewett notes that even a year ago Skykick had frequent requests to provide a migration service to Google Apps; “we don’t really hear that any more.”

Email, file sharing and unified communications may be enough of a commodity to move to the cloud (rather than keeping in-house infrastructure and expertise), but businesses don’t see them as legacy systems that don’t need to improve. They’re looking for innovation in these areas, and they’re betting on Microsoft rather than Google to deliver that.

“What Microsoft has over its competitors is a comprehensive understanding of what matters to business,” says Espinosa. “Microsoft is much better positioned than Google to be the dominant force in providing cloud for business, and it has overtaken Google because businesses have realized they should never switched from Microsoft in the first place.”

 

This article was written by Mary Branscombe from CIO and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Google Apps for Work. Powertools, Advanced Document Management

Google Apps for work, Home Page

November 03, 2015 10:30 ET

Powertools, Advanced Document Management Integrated With Google Drive, Is Now ‘Recommended for Google Apps for Work’
Millions of Google Apps for Work Users Now Have Access to an Easy-to-Use Document Management System, Fully Integrated With Google Drive, That Delivers Powerful Features That Boost Productivity and Require Zero IT Expertise to Configure and Manage

SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Marketwired – Nov 3, 2015) – Designed4Work, innovator of advanced productivity tools for Google Apps for Work, announced that Powertools, the document management and workflow technology for Google Drive™, has been inducted into the ‘Recommended for Google Apps for Work’ program that showcases innovative technologies for users of Google Apps for Work. The announcement was made today by Amit Singh, president of Google for Work, at the Web Summit in Dublin, Ireland.

As part of the agreement, Designed4Work has been selected by Google as an ISV partner and joined the Google for Work Partner Program. The companies plan to engage in joint marketing and sales programs to foster adoption of Powertools and its document management benefits by the millions of enterprise users of Google Drive and Google’s cloud-based productivity applications.

“As they look for solutions that work best with Google Apps for Work, our customers value security, quality and integration,” said Rahul Sood, managing director, Google Apps for Work. “We were impressed by the simplicity and richness of the features that Powertools adds to Google Drive and we want to encourage our customers to adopt third-party apps, like Powertools, that they can trust.”

“We are really pleased to team up with Google to introduce Powertools to business users, because we feel certain that the combination of Powertools and Google Drive will revolutionize collaboration in the enterprise,” said Philippe Bonnemains, CEO of Designed4Work. “Google Apps for Work users can now gain more productivity benefits from Google Drive thanks to the advanced document management features offered by Powertools.”

Powertools enhances Google Drive for enterprise users
Powertools extends Google Drive into a powerful, business-focused document management system that expands the feature set of Google Drive by adding workflows, advanced labelling, and versioning. Powertools also enables businesses to easily create customized content portals that leverage Google Drive to provide company-wide access to key content from a secure, cloud-based repository. See how it works here.

“At Zodiac we have a large amount of product-related digital information that is scattered across many systems, making it challenging to manage, retrieve and share this information throughout our organization,” commented Joseph Bejjani, Group CIO at Zodiac Pool Systems Inc., a leading manufacturer of differentiated pool and spa products. “Powertools enables us to regain control over our key digital assets, and to easily build and share a common branded digital library. The ease of use of Powertools and tight integration with Google Drive drove rapid user adoption across the organization.”

“Powertools has improved the synergy between our stores and corporate office by enhancing how we share and access information. We used to struggle to relay messages in a format that was easily accessible by employees. Now, by adding structure to Google Drive using Powertools, information is flowing much better and our teams are more efficient,” said Patrick Barrabé, project manager at Jardiland, a leading European big-box garden supplies chain. “Deploying Powertools has led to a boost in productivity and employee learning.”

Enterprise-grade features boost productivity of users and workgroups
Since it was released as a beta version, Powertools has been adopted by thousands of Apps for Work users, who have already managed more than one million documents and experienced significant productivity benefits:

  • Enhances and adds structure to Google Drive. Powertools transforms Google Drive into an enterprise-capable storage solution by adding document management features such as workflows, metadata, tags, and versioning to corporate documents — all from within Google Drive.
  • Puts business users in the control. Powertools enables non-technical users to drive the entire document management and collaboration process — eliminating the need for IT implementation and support.
  • Expands Google Drive capabilities. Powertools delivers company-wide access to key assets through customized (and, optionally, branded) content portals linked to Google Drive; seamless integration with MS Office enables users to open, edit, save and share MS Office documents without the need to download, upload, or convert them.
  • Supports in-house security and workflow procedures. Reinforces document security with detailed reporting, providing business managers an overview of user activity and content sharing; encourages adherence to company validation processes through mandatory workflows.

Powertools for Google Drive: pricing and availability
Powertools is available on the Google Apps Marketplace and www.designedforwork.com, with a free, 30-day trial offered to evaluate all its features. Thereafter, Powertools costs $2 per user per month.

About Designed4Work
Designed4Work is a software development company focused on empowering business users of Google Apps for Work. Its leading solution, Powertools, transforms Google Drive into a powerful, business-focused document management system that is fully integrated with Google Drive. Designed4Work provides its customers — startups to Fortune 500 companies using Google Apps for Work — with turnkey solutions that boost productivity and adoption. Designed4Work takes the risks out of deploying cloud solutions by offering its customers secured, flexible and user centric solutions. www.designedforwork.com.