Long-reigning monarch Microsoft was thrown off-kilter with Google’s entry into the Office suite domain. With an impressive average global market share of 55.2% as of April 2020, Google’s G Suite seems to be the choice of the decade among millennial companies who yearn for transparent collaborations. Microsoft’s market share is a close second at 42.06%. While the simplicity that G Suite offers can’t be denied, especially for start-ups and small businesses, deeper problems start to surface when the question of scalability comes a fore. Due to the growing inclination towards Office from organizations of all sizes, Microsoft released migration tools in Q2 2019  to make the transition smooth and seamless. Since its release office 365 migration has become a trend. Here’s everything you need to know about it.

G Suite Vs. Office 365 Broken Down: The tidal shift towards Office 365 Setup

Office Suite technologies are essential productivity software. Documents, spreadsheets and presentations form the repository of knowledge for maintaining smooth functioning. Having come a long way from the clunky floppy and CD days, it’s only fair to say that data transparency and democratization have made collaborations not just a function of simplicity, but also a necessity.

G Suite plays well to the millennial mindset with its cloud-first modus operandi, rather than Microsoft’s Desktop-first approach. Now, more than ever, remote work is becoming the norm rather than an option. This would make the videoconferencing and collaboration tools become the deciding factor, rather than the extra-toppings.

It is often cited that the feature-heaviness of Microsoft makes it sluggish and cumbersome for cloud-collaborations. However, a latency period of 5-30 seconds from Microsoft compared to the 1-2 seconds in Google will most likely go unnoticed within most organizations! This is also precisely the reason that most businesses eventually make the transition to Microsoft. While this addresses the main difference between the two suites, key questions still remain.

  • Pricing

Getting the big question out of the way, the price range for G Suite is from $6 to $25 per month per user. Choosing between plans is quite straightforward – Basic, Business and Enterprise.

On the other hand, Office 365 has a more complicated pricing plan. You can choose from home, business, enterprise and education solutions with each offering pricing tiers within. For the plans geared towards businesses and enterprises, pricing plans range from $5 to $35 per user per month.

To the untrained eye, it would seem like Google is merely asking you to choose between three doors to win the jackpot, while Microsoft is making you solve a riddle before you can enter the Chamber of Secrets. But the greater choice that office 365 migration provides means you can really tailor the suite to fit your organization’s requirement – you pay no more and no less for what you use. This kind of flexibility is ideal for businesses that are scale-as-you-grow centric.

  • Storage

The Basic plan on G Suite offers a measly 30GB per user, while the comparable Business Essentials plan gives you 1TB. However, the 1TB limit is retained for most of Microsoft 365’s plans. On the other hand, Google offers unlimited storage for the Business and Enterprise plans.  In this regard, graphics and video-heavy firms would burn through the 1TB limit in no time, but the same is more than adequate for most other small and medium-sized enterprises.

It should be noted here that the 1TB limit applies to G Suite as well if you plan to engage less than five users. Solopreneurs and budding startups may find this slightly challenging.

  • Email

Gmail is missing the sort and filter functionality that Outlook offers. If your organization relies heavily on extensive networking (which is likely the case for digital-first organizations), this feature is unmissable. It is especially so in the case of mixed-vendor environments.

  • Apps

Both Office 365 and G Suite offer desktop and web applications. Almost all apps are available on both sides. G Suite is missing the equivalent of Microsoft Stream, which allows for secure video-sharing, an essential for training and educational purposes. This feature is aligned well towards making collaborative efforts more hands-on.

Within similar apps, though, you may find significant differences. Given that Microsoft is desktop-based, most Office apps are packed with astounding features that give users full autonomy. You may need to purchase third-party tools to perform some essential functions with G Suite.

The Game-changers

Here’s a list of key takeaways that might make or break your decision to initiate office 365 migration:

  • Office 365 requires an annual commitment, while G Suite offers month-to-month purchases.
  • All Microsoft Business plans are limited to 300 users.
  • Both G Suite and Microsoft offer storage upgrades. Prices may be negotiable based on the number of users.
  • G Suite is all about the convenience of collaboration while Microsoft is all about advanced Desktop-oriented functionality with cloud capabilities. Too many third-party integrations with G Suite opens security risks and makes it quite clunky.
  • Larger familiarity with Microsoft often translates to higher productivity.
  • Microsoft 365 offers primary and premium security features, while the same is lacking in G Suite (available only in Enterprise).

The Pre-migration Checklist

Whether offline or online, migration is neither simple nor easy. Before your organization is all set to fly, here are few things you need to check to ensure that your seat belts are fastened securely:

Have a office 365 migration plan ready before you execute it. Migrations can be quite messy as there are quite a few variables to consider – source, destination, size, capacity and so on. It is recommended that you prepare Knowledge Base articles so that everyone has easy access to relevant information during the transition period.

One of the most critical aspects of successful migrations is communication. Have a pre, pending, post and final migration email set up so that all users are informed about the timings.

Make a migration map of users, source and destination environments, data distribution, movements, points of contacts and stakeholder licensing if your enterprise is quite large so that there are no breaches.

Be ready for downtime. Do not undertake migrations during work-heavy quarters. Migrations affect productivity significantly in the initial days as it takes time to get used to new environments.

Getting Down to Business

Migrations can be tricky. This all-you-need-to-know guide breaks down the migration process into more digestible chunks so that your data isn’t lost in translation.

Read Also – How to Choose a Partner for Outsourcing Office 365 Migration

Office 365 Setup

This process is carried out by the business owner or the designated global admin. It usually takes about an hour.

To add user accounts, you can choose from several methods.

  • Manual: Add users one at a time, recommended if you have small number of users.
  • PowerShell: If you are comfortable using Powershell cmdlets, than you can use this method to bulk upload users.
  • ActiveDirectory: Azure Active Directory Connect tool allows you to replicate AD user accounts.

Note that depending on the method of adding users you use, you may need to set up user licenses individually.

You should take note that you will need to verify ownership of your domain during set up. Remember to choose “Use a domain name you already own” when prompted while creating your account. To verify the ownership, an email will be sent to an address from this domain.

Install Office Apps

Given that Microsoft office is desktop-first, you would have all users set up Office 365 apps like Word, Powerpoint and Excel onto their individual systems.

Configure Mail Delivery

This is the stage when you migrate G Suite to Microsoft office 365. At this stage, you are starting the actual migration process. The most straightforward method to have Outlook receive your emails is to set up dual delivery. Here you won’t have to do any tinkering behind the screens. Both your Exchange Server and G Suite account will receive all your newest emails. For this step you will have to use the G Suite Sync for Microsoft Outlook tool.

Setting up dual delivery is a crucial step if you plan to move accounts in phases rather than all at once.

Moving Data from Google Team and Google Drive

Moving data from Google Drive to OneDrive is quite straightforward. Simply download all your G Drive files as a .zip folder and upload onto your OneDrive business account. You might want to do this in batches, depending on the amount of data your wish to transfer.

To have your team start collaborations you’ll have to set up a SharePoint site. Create designated team sites and upload the respective documents. For files that fall under broadcast-purpose, a communication site would be more feasible.

Connect your domain to Office 365 Setup

At this point, you’re ready to have your Microsoft account solely receive all your mails.

Steps: Admin app -> Setup -> Connect your Domain -> I’ll manage my own DNS records -> Click Next and select the online services you’ll need. Once you click on Add DNS records, you’ll be taken through a step-by-step process to add Mail Exchange (MX) records.

Setting up O365 email in Outlook

When you migrate email to office 365, you need to bring all your old emails to Outlook, everyone in the organization will have to individually use the Import and Export Wizard present in Outlook. The steps here are quite long. Make sure you do this at night or off-duty hours as it will use up a lot of internet bandwidth.

Installing Apps

To access your files on the go, you will need to install them on your devices. You can also set up email on BYOD and CYOD tabs and mobile-phones, if you’ve chosen to include Mobile management. Each user may or may not want to do this.

The final countdown

Microsoft recommends that you cancel your G Suite account only after a month of transition. This way if you’ve missed any files, you can easily access them before the cloud bursts.

Lastly, it’s important that you understand the scope of undertaking the migration process:

  • DIY or partner? What’s best: If you have many users or many levels of access, Microsoft recommends that you employ the services of Microsoft Partner like FlatworldEDGE to help you through the migration process.
  • Timeline: Unless you can count the number of users at your fingertips, it would be a foolish pursuit to do it all at once. It is recommended that you do a pilot wave of 10% of users first. Understand the kinks and quirks (typically the IT and support team would form part of the pilot wave), and then proceed towards migrating the rest of the users in batches.
  • Know what you can’t migrate: Although the two SaaS suites are comparable at surface levels, the underlying fabric of their working is quite different. Some things that you might have difficulty migrating include:
  • Any Google Site developed before 2012 and after 2016.
  • There is no equivalent to auto-generated Google Hangout links in Google Calendar.
  • You get 24 + custom colours for tagging events in Google Calendar. But Outlook is limited to Make sure the IT team is aware of this, before transition.
  • You will have to manually recreate SharePoint or Excel Survey for every Google Form.
  • “Muted” Gmail conversations will start appearing in your inbox again.
  • Maximum file size supported on G Drive is 5TB while that in OneDrive is 15GB. Make alternate                                  arrangements to store large multimedia files.
  • While Excel, Powerpoint and Excel will require no getting used to, you may still want to have users get familiarized with tools like OneDrive and Teams and more. Make use of guides on the Microsoft website to help users prepare for the transition.
  • Lastly, migrations present an opportunity for fresh, clean new beginnings. If your cloud looked like the online equivalent of a dusty old trunk that fits well into the zombie universe, you can choose to only import and organize data that is business critical and leave out all the rest. But it is recommended that you create a backup first.

Conclusion

G Suite follows the minimalist philosophy, stripping users to the bare bones of working online in this new era. On the other hand, Microsoft is like the Mona Lisa – a feature-packed antique that is hard to break down to its many layers and components, but one that is truly timeless!

What makes Microsoft so enticing is the unlimited opportunity that it offers for businesses that constantly find themselves at the knife’s edge of scaling up or down (as is happening with most organizations in the jubilus revolution IT 4.0). Yet another big feature of office 365 is unwavering round the clock Microsoft office 365 support. You can bank on the support to make your office 365 set up going easy.

Who We Are and Why Our Expertise Matters?

This article is brought to you by FlatworldEDGE. We are an IT infrastructure solutions provider specializing in mobile app development, infrastructure management, custom software development and software testing services. We also specialize in Office 365 migration services. We execute migrations in very short period of time with the help of extensive planning. Our innovative and effective solutions have delivered benefits to our clients in many ways.

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