Is Google Apps revolutionary and Office 365 evolutionary?

New Microsoft product announcements such as Microsoft Send, a chat like replacement for mail, or recent acquisitions of a number of startups seem to be, serious, efforts to “make Microsoft cool again“. But is that what users expect from them? And even more important, will they use them?

Recently Bettercloud, a SaaS provider that provides solutions to both Google Apps and Office 365, published an interesting blog post on the ultimate question: “Which is better? Google Apps or Office 365?“.

Change is hard
As you probably know Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365 are both cloud productivity platforms aimed at businesses. But the study shows they have different user demographics. Google App users tend to be younger and the companies that use it tend to be younger and smaller according to BetterCloud. Office 365 users, on the other hand, are more likely to be more established companies with some legacy IT in the mix.

From a change management perspective opting for Office 365 is more evolutionary. Most companies replace on-premise servers by Microsoft’s cloud solution but stick to the traditional desktop applications: Outlook, Word, Excel and Powerpoint. What I have seen in companies that are using Office 365, is that browser versions of these applications are hardly used by end-users.

Often users are completely unaware of new features such as simultaneous document editing. Collaboration is done “the way we’ve always done it“, most often sending different file versions via mail…

Barking up the wrong tree
Is Microsoft barking up the wrong tree by providing (exciting) new tools that appeal more to the younger generation of users than the majority of their current users?

I don’t know. After all, Dutch and Belgian companies like saying ” just act normal, that’s already crazy enough!”.

But I do have mixed feelings on this “becoming cool” strategy after reading that “today, 0% of large enterprises (5,000+ employees) using either Google Apps or Office 365 run 100% of their IT in the cloud; by 2026, those numbers increase to 74% and 57% respectively“. That is ten years from now or an eternity by current standards!