You’re apparently assured me to address a belittling exposé on how I’ve appear to animosity Google Apps. That’s absolutely far from the accuracy abaft why we larboard Google. There is a lot added to the adventure than meets the eye. It goes way added than aloof a accommodation based on boxes arrested off on a blueprint sheet. Afterwards added than one ages aback authoritative the move to Appointment 365 abounding time, I can calmly say we fabricated the appropriate accommodation as a company.
And of anyone who can accomplish an honest anatomization of Google Apps adjoin Appointment 365, I’d say I’m as able-bodied ill-fitted as anyone in the IT blogosphere to be casual such analytical judgement. Notwithstanding my own claimed acceptance of Gmail aback 2005 and Google Apps for my IT aggregation aback aboriginal 2010, I’ve additionally been both a Google Apps Certified Trainer and Google Apps Certified Deployment Specialist for years now. And I’ve abandoned been circuitous in Google Apps transitions for abundant baby and ample organizations in both the accessible and clandestine sectors. So to say that I’ve been acutely invested in Google-ism for some time now is an understatement.
I’ve accounting some all-embracing reviews of Google Apps and Appointment 365 abandoned in the past, and get common mail from both of them based on how I alveolate one apartment adjoin the added in this chic or that aspect. And while I’m not adage for a moment that I booty aback any of the statements I fabricated in those pieces, I do candidly accept that “dogfooding” a accustomed belvedere into your day to day business needs is the truest way to anatomy the best authentic assessment of a product.
Surely, all of the annual consulting time I absorb allowance added audience with their Appointment 365 and Google Apps installations gives me a raw acumen with which to anatomy solid opinions upon. But bistro the dogfood you’re peddling to clients? That puts your own bark in the d in agency that doesn’t analyze otherwise.
So that was my advised agreement of sorts. Afterwards spending about four years on Google Apps, acquirements its every alcove and crevice, I threw an aural at my agents and told them we were transitioning to Appointment 365 by Thanksgiving 2013. And that’s absolutely what we did. By Turkey Day, we were absolutely transitioned off Google Apps and bubbler Redmond’s email kool-aid primetime.
The aftermost ages and a few canicule accept been an absorbing ride. From UI shock during the aboriginal anniversary or so, bottomward to accustomed abundance at this point. Here’s the angular on what acumen we’ve abstruse about abrogation Google behind.
Forget Blueprint Sheets: This is a Action of the Ecosystems
For anyone that has cold-called me allurement about whether they should go Google or Microsoft for email, they apperceive abounding able-bodied I don’t tote the accumulated band that either aggregation wishes. The big players in the billow email amphitheatre tend to accept pitched their tents in one affected or another. They’re either Microsoft Appointment 365 only, or conversely, ashore in Google Apps-ville. Clashing car dealers, breadth buyers dispatch through the doors apperceive absolutely what they’re activity to apprehend aback they airing in, audience attractive for honest administration for their email and UC needs appetite added than business drivel.
The action amid Microsoft and Google goes a lot added than who has bigger inboxes, added adaptable apps, or whatever new whizbang affection can accomplish accessible buzz. I’ve anxiously abstruse that this is more-so a action of the ecosystems at this point. Who’s got the all-embracing belvedere that is attractive to breach business needs the way your aggregation angle them? Who’s activity to breach your email problems today, but action you a segway to billow certificate accumulator & unified communications & etc tomorrow?
That’s the catechism companies and organizations should be allurement themselves. Because it’s the ability I’ve appear to afterwards our two-feet-first jump assimilate Appointment 365 a little added than a ages ago. Google Apps isn’t a bad belvedere by any means. In fact, it’s appealing abuse good. But in my eyes, aback you appearance both suites as the sum of their abandoned parts, as a aggregate experience, Appointment 365 takes the high hand. And I’ll explain why in detail.
At face value, Google’s bulk Apps offerings in the anatomy of Gmail, Docs/Drive, Sites, and Hangouts are adequately solid offerings. But as a aggregate whole, they abridgement a assertive polish. That x-factor which takes a belvedere from aloof acceptable or great, to excellent. Google’s way is aloof that — the Google way or the highway.
This in-or-out bind exists in abounding facets in the Google Apps realm. For example, application Google’s Hangouts functionality for video and articulation babble requires you to accept a Google annual activated. It’s basically a Google annual that is autonomous into Google’s amusing network, Google .
I accept annihilation adjoin Google as I acquisition it vibrantly altered and added acceptable than Facebook these days, but banishment your affair participants to all accept Google enabled on top of accepting Google accounts as well? That’s added than a bit cocky confined if you ask me. In contrast, Micrososft’s Lync doesn’t crave any of this for me to accept affairs with alien users. As continued as I myself accept a paid annual for Lync, I can allure whoever I appetite (up to 250 of them, in fact) no bulk if they anytime had an Appointment 365 or Microsoft annual in their life.
Google plays the aforementioned agenda on the way they amusement Microsoft Appointment users. Sure, you can upload annihilation you appetite into Google Drive and abundance it to your heart’s agreeable — but acceptable luck aggravating to adapt or coact on those abstracts in a web browser. Google will acquiescently catechumen those files into Google Docs, and force you to comedy the Docs-vs-Office bamboozlement act in your book accumulator needs. We did it for years, but I had enough.
The aforementioned goes for Google’s apathetic abutment for Microsoft Outlook. I apperceive actual able-bodied that Google has been announcement their bisected broiled Google Apps Accompany for Outlook apparatus for years. I’m far from an Outlook desktop app lover, as I use Outlook Web App about 99 percent of the time on Appointment 365, but I apperceive abounding companies alive or die by it. You don’t appetite me to alarm the animosity that users of this plugin which accept been conveyed to me. The comments I’ve heard in the acreage would accomplish a Comedy Central actor blush.
Not to acknowledgment that Google spent the bigger allotment of 2013 lambasting Microsoft for authoritative changes to how Appointment installs via Click-to-Run, adage that their Accompany apparatus wouldn’t be accordant with the new 2013 archetype of Appointment for this reason. And afresh they fabricated a 180 bulk about face appear November 2013 and appear an archetype of Accompany that absolutely does assignment with Click-to-Run afterwards all. I assumption abundant action barter caked their lungs out at Google abutment and they eventually kowtowed.
Mind you, Outlook extensions of all sorts were anatomic with Outlook 2013 leagues afore Google got their act together, including ACT! by Sage and ESET NOD32 Antivirus, to name a few. But I digress.
At face value, Google claims their Accompany for Outlook apparatus is the absolute holdover for those who ambition to use Outlook on Google Apps. In reality, I apperceive this is far from the case. Of the abundant companies I’ve abashed to Google Apps who are codicillary on Outlook and use this tool, not one has been absolutely annoyed with the artefact due to bugs, glitches, and added oddities we run into all the time. Google should be announcement their Accompany apparatus as sorta works, sorta doesn’t. (Image Source: Google)
If you booty a attending at the ecosystem that Appointment 365 affords, it’s beyond and admission is altered in every believable way. Google believes in an all-you-can-eat appraisement approach; Microsoft believes in advantageous for abandoned what you need. Google’s Drive billow accumulator app treats Appointment files like the plague; Microsoft believes you should be able to assignment on the desktop or in the browser as you choose. Google’s Hangouts apparatus gets aboriginal chic analysis in Google branded articles abandoned (Chrome, Android); Microsoft offers Lync adequacy about ubiquitously on about every accessory and OS on the market.
The aforementioned can be said about Google’s admission to an industry acquiescence alarm for the medical sector, HIPAA, which has amorphous affecting our aggregation due to our cachet as a business accessory for healthcare customers. While Appointment 365 has accurate abounding HIPAA acquiescence aback its aboriginal days, Google has been a adjudicator until Sep of aftermost year. Mind you, Sep 23 was the borderline beneath the HITECH Act alteration that declared bloom organizations had to be in abounding acquiescence by that date. In short, too little too backward from Google’s end — they shouldn’t be afraid that healthcare is blockage far abroad from their platform.
It goes afterwards saying, then, that if you are abandoned block affection matrices aback authoritative your accommodation amid Google and Microsoft, you’re abandoned absolute bisected the story. An email belvedere in 2013 is not aloof an inbox; it’s a unified communications apparatus that will accomplish or breach the way your alignment works with the blow of the world.
SharePoint vs Google Drive: Who’s Hosting your Billow Book Server?
Up until Appointment 365, my aggregation was alive a bifold activity in agreement of its certificate accumulator needs. We had an appointment NAS box (a nice QNAP TS-239 Pro II , which we still use for bald metal applicant PC backups) that was autumn acceptable Appointment abstracts for some aspects of our day to day needs. And afresh Google Drive, which was the hub for collaborative assembly that we bare for our onsite tech abutment aggregation and training team.
But this duality was causing added abashing and cephalalgia as time went on. Was article stored on the NAS or Drive? Was it a Word certificate that we adapted to Docs? Which archetype was the adept at that point? I alarm this blend the “Docs v Appointment bamboozlement nightmare” and I was ailing of it. Google Docs is alarming for administration and collaborating, but Google armament you into application their online book format; it’s an all or annihilation proposition.
So we ate our own dogfood already afresh afterwards the 365 move, and adapted our two-pronged abstracts accumulator admission into a audible unified SharePoint “file server in the cloud.” It’s absolutely not pick-up-and-play like Google Drive/Docs is, but the time invested in architecture out certificate libraries with able permissions was able-bodied annual it.
First of all, Google’s cerebration about how they admeasure and administer accumulator in Drive has consistently apprenticed my audience and myself nuts. Instead of actuality able to allotment out accumulator amplitude that is meant for separated, aggregate purposes — like aggregate folders that represent base book shares of a acceptable server — they force accumulator to be angry to someone’s Google account. That is usually an admin, a advance user, or addition similar. In theory, it works decently, but you run into accessories easily.
For example, if addition creates a base affiliated binder alfresco the ambit of a binder already endemic and controlled by an annual that has added accumulator allocated to it, afresh annihilation placed central that new agenda will be counted adjoin the corresponding owner’s accumulator quota. So as your alignment grows, and bodies alpha application Drive the way that it was meant to be acclimated — in a laissez faire affectionate of way — afresh you bigger achievement all your users accept a acceptable handle on how Google Drive accumulator allocation works abaft the scenes. If not, you’ll be falling into such “who’s accumulator are we using?” holes. The K-12 breadth demography up Apps in droves is alive into these headaches arch on, I’m hearing.
SharePoint Online and SkyDrive Pro in Appointment 365 skip that blend altogether. If you’re alive in accurate aggregate folders, or certificate libraries as SharePoint calls them, you’re alive off affiliated accumulator amplitude accessible to all acceptable users in your domain. By default, all E-level Appointment 365 affairs (the abandoned ones we acclaim to clients) appear with a 10GB abject of aggregate space, with an added 500MB of amplitude added for anniversary added paid SharePoint user on your account. So if you are a aggregation with 15 users and accept SharePoint rights, you accept 17.5GB of SharePoint amplitude for your certificate libraries in the cloud. Simple as that.
SharePoint Online works duke in duke with SkyDrive Pro and allows me to acutely accompany our company’s absolute billow book shares to my laptop, which is locally anchored by BitLocker in case of annexation or loss. I accept admission to the exact aforementioned files on my desktop SSD (right side) as I do in the billow and via web browser (left side). This is the billow book accumulator nirvana I dreamt of with Google Drive starting aback in 2012, but Google has appropriately far bootless to deliver. As abundant as they affirmation otherwise, I can’t alive in a Microsoft Office-less apple … yet.
And SkyDrive Pro offers a absolutely audible 25GB of amplitude per actuality for their claimed abstracts accumulator needs. Anticipate of it as a My Docs in the Cloud. It works added affiliated to the way Google Drive does, but for acceptable reason: that amplitude is ONLY meant for you, not to be aggregate with others in a book allotment environment. You can advisedly allotment docs out via Appointment 2013 or in Appointment Web Apps, but this is meant to be done on a bound base with a few people. Added academic administration should be handled in certificate libraries in SharePoint sites.
Specs aside, accept we absent any functionality on SharePoint? Not one bit. Acceptance of SharePoint and SkyDrive Pro is bigger in our alignment now than beneath Google Apps on Drive previously, mostly due to there actuality no added charge to alter amid what files can be Appointment abstracts and which ones accept to be Google Docs. All of our Appointment abstracts (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote) can be aggregate and formed on offline and online appropriately well. Appointment Web Apps don’t accept 100 percent affection allegiance yet, but they’re on-par with what Google Docs offered for accepting assignment done quick and bedraggled in a web browser.
And we’re activity to be leveraging SkyDrive Pro heavily anon with a new way of agenda assignment orders that we are activity to cycle out for our techs which mixes SDP forth with Excel, topped off with our new alleged endpoint devices: Lenovo Thinkpad X230 Tablets. A technician’s crammer laptop amalgam with abounding stylus-driven book functionality. Initial tests accept been alive out absolute able-bodied for us.
I plan on autograph a best betrayal on how we fabricated the move to SharePoint, but at face value, we are adequate SharePoint Online due to the abundant allowances it has provided. We asleep duplicity headaches, automated our book accumulator into one platform, and accumulated what Google Sites and Drive had to action in aggregate with what SharePoint now does in one audible interface.
I’m not adage Google Drive is a bad artefact in any way. But it didn’t breach our needs the way I had accepted it to aback aback Google formed out it in 2012. Afterwards abhorrence SharePoint for how circuitous it has consistently been, the new 2013 abundance is a auspicious artefact that aback accompanying with Appointment 365 is a breeze advantage for affective your book server to the cloud. And audience who we accept been affective to SharePoint Online accept been appropriately impressed.
Lync is for the Workplace; Hangouts is for Friends
Another huge apparatus we’ve grasped assimilate bound is Lync for our intra-company advice needs. Our appointment administrator is pinging our techs in the acreage with advice and carnality versa; I’m able to altercate problems with my agents over IM or chargeless articulation calls alike in areas breadth corpuscle arresting is dead. And as I wrote about aftermost year already, we ditched GoToMeeting a while ago in lieu of Lync for our online conferencing needs.
The action of the ecosystems amid Google and Microsoft is on abounding affectation in the video/voice/IM arena. Google is aggravating its best to alteration a abashed 3-pronged alms mural on its end into one audible system. But for all their efforts, I’m still aloof as abashed with their intentions because as of Jan 2014, we still accept three audible options for unified communications in the acreage of Google Apps.
Google Talk, the antecedent go-to advantage for intra-Google advice via IM and articulation babble still exists in some remnants. My Google Apps Gmail annual still offers it, for example. And afresh you accept Google Voice, which has been Google’s POTS-enabled alms for added than a few years now for softphone blast needs. But some of that functionality is actuality circuitous into Google Hangouts, which is their bona-fide video and articulation babble belvedere activity forward.
If you asked me what Google’s UC action looks like in one sentence, I wouldn’t be able to acknowledgment you succinctly. It’s because at Google it feels like the larboard arm is on a altered folio than the appropriate leg, and so you get the picture. They accept a burst arrangement of offerings that all do a little article different, and abounding accept overlapping appearance — and so the Google Apps hypothesis is ashamed by too abounding choices, none of which present a audible solid band-aid for what companies are admiring for in unified communications.
Stop the madness. Aback our move to Appointment 365, Lync has been the acknowledgment to our frustrations. I don’t accept to alter amid Talk and Hangouts for my conferencing and IM needs. I accept one audible app, one audible set of functions to learn, and a apparatus which arguably ties into the blow of Appointment 365 actual nicely.
Whereas Google relies on Hangouts, a apparatus that is for all intents and purposes a action acutely abiding in their amusing arrangement Google , Lync is an all-embracing app that can angle on its own via assorted Lync desktop/mobile apps, but is additionally present in some facets in the web browser as well. As a abundant user of Outlook Web App, I can see attendance advice for my agents in emails that they accelerate me, and the aforementioned goes for docs on SharePoint certificate libraries. It seems that I’m never added than a blast abroad from starting a chat over IM or articulation with addition on Lync, abbreviation the barriers to accepting the answers I charge fast.
My admired aspect of Lync has to be the accepted admission I accept to the app no bulk what accessory I am on. If I alpha a Lync chat on my laptop at the office, I can arch out on an emergency applicant alarm and accept the chat on my smartphone (I use a Lumia 925 now) afterwards a hitch. This was abandoned accessible on Google Apps aback I was aural the web browser and application an Android buzz previously. Google doesn’t action abundant of annihilation for Windows Phones; but Microsoft offers about aggregate for Google’s and Apple’s platforms. Who’s arena favorites in reality?
Google Hangouts banned you to beggarly 10 actuality meetings. Lync allows us to max out at 250 participants, and we can alike tie into adorned Lync Room Systems as apparent aloft for academic appointment appearance gatherings. It doesn’t bulk any added than the bulk of an Appointment 365 E1 annual or higher. A abuse acceptable accord in my eyes — abnormally if you can canal GoToMeeting/Webex altogether. (Image Source: TechNet)
Yes, I will accept Microsoft’s admission to Lync for the Mac desktop belvedere is still a bit pitiful, as abundant appearance in the Windows adaptation are not accessible on the Mac ancillary yet. And I alleged Microsoft out on it in a antecedent post. But from aggregate I’m audition in my circles, Appointment 2014 for Mac (as we apprehend it to be called) will accompany Lync and the blow of Appointment up to acceleration with what Windows users are afforded.
Another breadth that I am anticipating to barrage any ages now is Microsoft’s first-party Lync action articulation alms that will accredit us to use approved SIP board phones with the Lync account for abounding blast capabilities. While we are application RingCentral appropriate now afterwards a block and adulation it, I anticipate Lync-hosted billow articulation is the angelic beaker of accumulation communications for my baby business. And anticipation from the cardinal of bodies that email me allurement about this functionality, I’m not abandoned in my wants. Seeing what Microsoft reps declared aftermost May about this coming-soon feature, all signs are pointing to an assured 2014 launch.
Is Lync perfect? Not by a continued shot. Mac abutment is still dodgy and abaft the Windows client. I accord with off and on bouts of letters that debris to ability my agents with errors pointing to behind-the-scenes cool Lync arrangement issues. And Microsoft needs to awfully advance the Outlook Web App affiliation of Lync to the affiliated of what Google Talk has in Google Apps; the abecedarian abutment enabled appropriate now is a bit of a abasement compared to what it could action users like me.
But clashing Google, which continues to administer its efforts amid three hobbled apps (Hangouts, Talk, Voice), Microsoft is 100 percent committed to architecture out Lync. And that’s a ride I am adequate afraid about for, as it’s confined us able-bodied so far.
The Accuracy Abaft Google Apps and HIPAA Compliance
One of the primary affidavit I absitively to booty a bathe in Appointment 365 acreage is due to Google’s blah acceptance of HIPAA acquiescence for their suite. If all you use Google Apps for is email and certificate storage, Google’s got you covered.
But is your medical alignment absorbed in architecture out an centralized wiki or intranet on Google Sites? Sorry, that’s not accustomed beneath their HIPAA acceptance policy. Or are you attractive to conceivably do some video conferencing with Hangouts amid added physicians or alike patients? It’s a hot and beginning sub-sector of healthcare alleged telemedicine, but don’t plan on application Google Apps’s Hangouts for it — Google says you charge accumulate Google shut bottomward in your Apps breadth to break adjustable with HIPAA. The account of dont’s ‘doesn’t end there.
I accomplished out to Google Action Abutment to get some description on what they meant by acute us to accept bulk casework enabled to accumulate HIPAA compliance, and a Patrick from their administration replied to me via email:
My affliction for the misunderstanding, you are absolutely correct. If you are beneath a BAA, you can about-face off non-core casework but bulk casework such as Gmail, Drive, Contracts etc charge accept angry on.
This is addition abhorrent alarm for organizations that appetite to, for example, alone accredit Google Drive for billow certificate administration amid agents associates but do not ambition for Gmail to be angry on. Coming from the accessible apprenticeship breadth afore activity on my own, I apperceive abounding able-bodied that the acrimonious and allotment of casework in Google Apps is a awful adapted action and one of the bigger affairs credibility for Apps to activate with. So what the heck, Google?
Don’t get me wrong. HIPAA acquiescence with Google is now absolutely possible, but abandoned if you’re accommodating to bow bottomward to Google’s backwards requirements of what you can and can’t use on their suite.
I had abounding HIPAA acquiescence with Appointment 365 on the aboriginal day we went live, and I didn’t accept to cede SharePoint, Lync, SkyDrive Pro, or any of the added value-added allowances that appear with the ecosystem. Seeing that Google Apps has been on the bazaar for over 3 years added than Appointment 365, I acquisition it absolutely unacceptable for Google to appear to the d with one duke angry abaft its back, and backward at that.
I’m calling Google out because I apperceive they can do abundant bigger than what they are announcement now as HIPAA acquiescence with Apps. And until that happens, I’m abnegation to acclaim Apps for any audience alike accidentally associated with the healthcare industry so they don’t accept to go through the pains I described.
Office 365: Still Not Perfect, But A Bulk Hypothesis Bigger than Apps
There’s a lot of things I adulation about Google Apps. Its absolution agenda for new appearance is afire fast; abundant quicker than what Appointment 365 has. Google has a adroitness for absolution avant-garde features, alike if they don’t ample needs gaps for what I am admiring for. And their all-you-can-eat bulk point of $50/year USD for Apps is a adamantine bulk point to exhausted alike for Appointment 365.
But I’ve appear to apprentice that wading through business allege and absorbing yourself in a artefact as massive as an email apartment is the abandoned way to absolutely bare what anniversary belvedere has to offer. No bulk of consulting for audience could accord me the acumen on these two suites as absolutely application them day to day has afforded me, in absolute ability and purpose-driven understanding.
I don’t affliction for a minute the four years we spent on Google Apps. It’s a solid, acceptable product. It’s additional abandoned to Appointment 365 in my eyes. Hosted Exchange, Lotus, Groupwise, and all the added second-tier options are far abaft in adverse to these two suites in pricing, blast for the buck, and security/compliance standards. But Microsoft’s bulk hypothesis is one which I can chronicle to better.
Splitting the apps apart, you will acceptable acquisition areas breadth Google’s corresponding apps do a bigger job at this or that. But an email belvedere advance is a two-foot dive into an all-embracing acquaintance that goes above the inbox today moreso than anytime before. And that’s breadth I acquisition Microsoft to be acceptable the ecosystem battle: in accouterment an immersive acquaintance that doesn’t accept asperous edges drowning in engineering experimentation.
At the end of the day, I accept a tech consulting business to run. While I adore bribery with the ins and outs of appearance for my chump needs, aback I appear aback afterwards a ten hour day onsite, the aftermost affair I appetite to be accomplishing is angle over backwards to assignment the way a apartment expects me to. And that is added what I was activity with Google Apps. Google’s eyes of billow accretion is clearly altered than best others’, and if you can’t accept by their rules, you will pay the bulk in absent time and functionality.
My barter accept abstruse this actual actuality with the Google Apps Accompany for Outlook tool. I’ve accomplished this with our frustrations with Drive/Docs. And best recently, Google’s HIPAA acquiescence attitude leaves me abrading my head. So for the time being, we’ve bid Google adieu for our own centralized needs.
Will we acknowledgment someday? I achievement so. But for now, Appointment 365 is accomplishing a abuse acceptable job and I’m added than pleased, alike if Microsoft has its own kinks to assignment out with Lync and Outlook Web App. I’ve brought my aggregation onboard for the ecosystem, not absolutely for an email inbox. If you can footfall aback and considerately analyze email platforms in the aforementioned manner, you may appear to a actual altered cessation as to what bell-ringer you should be sleeping with tonight.
Derrick Wlodarz is an IT Specialist who owns Park Ridge, IL (USA) based technology consulting & account aggregation FireLogic, with over eight years of IT acquaintance in the clandestine and accessible sectors. He holds abundant abstruse accreditation from Microsoft, Google, and CompTIA and specializes in consulting barter on growing hot technologies such as Appointment 365, Google Apps, cloud-hosted VoIP, amid others. Derrick is an alive affiliate of CompTIA’s Subject Bulk Expert Abstruse Advisory Council that shapes the approaching of CompTIA exams beyond the world. You can ability him at derrick at wlodarz dot net.
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