Cloud-hosted services square up

Running your business requires choosing the right tools for you and your employees. In order to streamline work-related productivity, many organizations are migrating to cloud-based office suites—specifically, Microsoft’s Office 365 and Google’s G Suite (formally known as Google Apps).

Both products boast a variety of helpful productivity tools and the latest remote collaboration technologies. While it’s impossible to say which one is “better,” this head-to-head comparison can help you decide which office suite is a better fit for your business.

What are G Suite & Office 365?

Office 365 and G Suite are suites, or packages, of powerful business tools that facilitate you and your employees day-to-day tasks using the cloud. They even provide business email addresses (i.e. name@yourbusiness.com), along with apps for creating documents, spreadsheets, presentations, video conference calls, shared calendars and notes.  

In addition, storing information on Google or Microsoft servers, rather than your own via these suites, can also save your business a lot of money when it comes to IT costs and maintenance.  

Plans and Pricing

First, let’s look at plans and prices. It’s important to note that Microsoft requires an annual commitment, while Google offers you the option to make monthly payments if you prefer.

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Cloud packages head-to-head

Email

While both Office 365 and G Suite offer web and mobile apps (Outlook and Gmail, respectively) for email, there are some subtle differences.

One plus-side to Office 365 is the desktop version of Outlook, which is incredibly feature-rich and lets you sort and group emails with ease. Gmail, on the other hand, is widely used throughout the world. For this reason, a variety of third-party app options (like WordPress) can be linked to it to enhance its capabilities.

Cloud Data Storage

For the entry level plans, Office 365 Business Essentials wins out with 1 TB (terabyte) of storage per user, while the G Suite Basic plan only offers 30 GB. To make matters worse, G Suite includes emails in this storage limit, whereas Office 365 provides extra storage for email files and has an added archiving feature.

However, G Suite’s upgraded plans beat out most of Microsoft’s storage offerings. So long as your business has more than five employees, G Suite Business and Enterprise provides unlimited cloud storage (although, businesses with less than 5 employees on the “Business” plan are capped at 1 TB). Only Microsoft E3 plans and higher offer the same unlimited cloud storage.

Applications

Applications are the cornerstones of a suite’s functionality. G Suite and Office 365 offer you a variety of comparable apps for word processing, creating spreadsheets and presentations, all on the cloud!

While both services offer mobile and online apps, one major benefit of Office 365 is its desktop applications.

This means every user gets a free desktop version of the Office suite (i.e. Microsoft Word, Excel) to download.

These feature-rich apps expand far beyond the capabilities of the mobile and online versions, and are available on every plan except the ‘Business Essentials’.

Collaboration

These online applications make both suites ideal for remote collaboration. Microsoft Teams lets facilitates this with tools like real-time co-authoring, mentioning users by name and chat capabilities while working on OneDrive. Microsoft now lets you collaborate using its desktop apps, too, although the updates to shared files are a bit sluggish compared to its online apps.

Similarly, G Suite offers Hangouts for chats, and Google Drive for real-time collaboration. Google’s online and mobile apps were created with cloud collaboration in mind, so some might find them a bit more user-friendly.

For remote meetings, G Suite and Office 365 both offer group video conference calls. If you plan on large-scale video conferences, then Office 365 offers far more for your money: most plans have a 250-participant limit, while the E3 plan increases to an astounding 10,000-person limit.

Meanwhile, G Suite’s Google Meet allows up to 25 participants on the “Basic” plan, 50 on the “Business” plan and 100 on the “Enterprise” plan.  

Security

Cloud services are running into a variety of security issues, and these suites are no exception.

A 2019 Barracuda Networks’ report found that a large percent of ATO (account takeover) attacks were targeted at Microsoft Office 365 accounts after businesses migrated emails to the service. These attacks prompted the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to issue a set of best practices to help organizations migrate their email services while avoiding risks and vulnerabilities.

Meanwhile, Google recently announced that a cloud storage feature for encrypted passwords on its “Enterprise” plans was faulty. As a result, some user passwords were stored in plaintext on Google’s servers!

While cloud computing has its risks, the two suites do have impressive security features. G Suite is comparable to Google’s own level of security, and offers AI detection of suspicious activity, Two-Factor authentication and data leak protection—in which admins can block outgoing communication determined by set keywords.

On the other hand, Office 365 has the option of Multiple Factor Authentication, along with detection of malware, viruses and suspicious activities. Microsoft also provides data loss protection, and admins can restrict access to company-issued devices only.

Ease of Use

So, which is easier to use? Well, it depends on who you are, and your ability to grasp software quickly.

If you’re accustomed to working with MS Word or Excel documents, and edit them for work on a regular basis, then Office 365 and its desktop-to-online formatting compatibility will probably be your best bet. This is especially true if your company solely computes with Windows PCs.

However, new users might find G Suite apps easier to learn, as the tools are a bit simpler and straightforward.

Which is best for you? A Summary:

Some key benefits of each suite: Firstly, Office 365 offers feature-rich apps, and most of its plans come with desktop version of MS Office applications—a definite advantage over its competitors.

Its entry level plan is far more generous in terms of data storage than G Suite’s “Basic” plan. In addition, businesses that already exclusively use Windows technology are likely to find Office 365 better-suited for their needs.

With that said, G Suite was originally designed as a cloud collaborative productivity tool. Therefore, its features might be easier for collaboration and can be used among a wider variety of Windows and Mac devices. In addition, G Suite “Business” plans and above outdoes Microsofts’ when it comes to unlimited cloud file storage.

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you which of the two is “best.” But, with this knowledge in mind, you can make an informed decision to choose the best cloud suite for you.

Smoother Online Shopping

As a small online business, it makes sense to ensure that what you are selling is very easy to access. This is especially important when offering something that is common. The purchasing process should be practical and aesthetically pleasing to your clients.

Your online shopping cart software creates that important connection between you and your customers. It must therefore help you achieve three goals:

-Deliver the best and most secure experience for your users;


-Make it simple and desirable for them to complete transactions;


Minimize common ecommerce hurdles (such as shopping cart abandonment).

Customers expect consistency, reliability, and speed. Most users are now accustomed to the speeds facilitated by broadband Wi-Fi and omnipresent LTE mobile networks.

Research indicates that 78 percent of ecommerce consumers completed a purchase on their mobile device in 2016.

This percentage has probably increased since then. Therefore, delivering experiences that embrace mobile best practices has to be one of your primary concerns as you choose a solution.

Some other salient things a good online shopping cart solution should pay attention to:

TRUSTis obviously a huge part of establishing a valuable relationship. Your shopping cart software is an extension of your brand, and your buyers must trust it with their personal and financial information.

As buyers avoid using direct credit card purchases (due to increasing fraud and data breaches) in favour of more secure methods. Your company must be prepared to offer new payment options.

Customers appreciate the SECURITY and ease of mobile wallet payments, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. This is because they can complete purchases using a single-use virtual credit card number.

Give them the ability to use these alternative payments and if possible, do not exclude Cryptocurrency!

It would also need to link up to your MARKETING and customer service platforms to provide a holistic customer experience.

Naturally, you also want a system that tracks product sales and customer activity with as much detail as possible, and that can also sort transaction data across a multitude of categories.

So, where does one get such software?

Read more about how to get a good shopping cart software here.

Sell easily with the aid of smart tech

Practical online software can – without a shadow of doubt – help your business (large enterprise or Start-up) get on top of its operations.

The most common operational tasks most of us use are sales and customer support. Though very important they cannot, however, be used in isolation to other business processes.

There are also other ‘bits’ and ‘bobs’ that can be built-in or integrated with to ensure that your business processes are fully automated. And automation saves you time and therefore, money!

Core operations that a good ERP can manage for your business are not limited to the following:

  • Sales (the lifeblood of your business)
  • Customer Support (now extended to Customer Engagement)
  • Accounting and Finance (all your banking, invoicing, payments and taxation)
  • Supply chain and logistics management (Cataloguing, Inventory, stock management, warehousing, storage and deliveries)
  • Retail (B2B, eCommerce, Point of Sales)
  • Human Resources (Staffing, holiday bookings, Salaries and wages, recruitment).
  • Marketing (Branding, campaign management, targeted ads etc.)

Can you imagine these have been in use since the industrial revolution and the introduction of chain stores? 

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Trade with IQOption

ERP is the abbreviation for Enterprise Resource Planning and is basically the software your business uses on PCs/cashier systems, scanners, and all points of sale devices.  

One of a kind

We identified and reviewed a specialised ERP called  SmartSaleERP. It is an integrated tech platform targeted for retail business owners to help you get in control of your business. 

Granted, there are hundreds of ERP solutions out there including those from known brands such as Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce, Zoho etc.

A distinguishing feature on SmartSaleERP however, is the kind of technology they use over and above the traditional features and user interface (UI).

This ‘edge’ comes from the use of  biometric and smartcard tech to provide you with a better customer/user experience.  The sales experience can be derived from both the customer and the business side.

Read the full feature to find out more about this distinct ERP here.