Making the Switch from Microsoft to Google Apps

Arinee RahmanStudent Writer
Many companies are making the switch from Microsoft to Google Apps. Use this article to learn more about what Google Apps has to offer and to help if you’re planning on migrating to Google Apps.

It is important to note that there is a pricing plan to use Google Apps for businesses. The cost is $5 per user per month or $50 per user per year. The pricing for Microsoft Office 365 is much more complex and expensive.  

First and foremost, for those who are unfamiliar with Google’s office integration platform, Google Apps works similarly as Microsoft Office 365. Gmail and Google Calendar can substitute Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Exchange. Google Drive contains platforms that are similar to Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft One Drive. All documents made through Google Drive can be shared with others. Google Drive will allow users to edit files in real-time as well.
Google Drive includes services such as Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides. These can be accessed online or by downloading the respective app through your smartphone. Through the web you can access and edit all your files through Google Drive. On your mobile device you must download each separate app to use the editing function. Google Drive can sync documents by using the cloud and also allows users to collaborate on files offline. 
The most significant difference between Google Apps and Microsoft is that Google Apps has a simpler interface. Even Microsoft's former Executive, Rahul Sood chose Google Apps over Microsoft because of its simiplicity, calling Gmail "the gateway drug to Google Apps." This review also compares both office suites and explains how Google is taking the "minimalist approach." Although it is simple, most of the basic features seen in Microsoft can still be found in Google Apps. 
To take data from Microsoft Exchange, download this Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps Migration Tool. This will takes your emails, contacts and calendar from Microsoft Exchange and download them into Google Apps. To migrate data from Microsoft Outlook, download this Microsoft Outlook to Google Apps Migration Tool.
If you still want to continue using Microsoft Outlook, you can download this Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook Migration Tool that will allow ongoing synchronization between Microsoft Outlook and Google Apps. Anything added to Microsoft Outlook or previously used with Outlook will also be found in your Google Apps. You can also choose which calendars you would like to be synched from Microsoft Outlook.
Hopefully this article eases your transition from Microsoft Office to Google Apps. 

Thank you for reading my article. Please feel free to leave any kind of feedback. 

I look forward to hearing from you. 

Comments (19)

Mohammed KhawajaIT Infrastructure and Security Manager

I am shocked that people are actually recommending Google Apps for business use.  I am not sure what kind of businesses you folks deal with but below is my observation:

1.  Most finance people are stuck with Outlook due to VB add-ins for integration with third-party applications (i.e. SAP, Hyperion, reporting applications such as GlobalSoft Spreadsheet Server, etc.)
2.  Manufacturing companies use Excel for log sheets, production calculations, etc. where they integrate with applications such as PI, Proficy, etc.
3.  I am not aware of any third-parties writing/building integration packages for Google Apps
4.  There is no offering from Google which can replace SharePoint
5.  Hybrid infrastructure where some companies would like some users email hosted on the cloud and the rest in-house
6.  Backward compatibility with older Office files, formatting
7.  ODBC connectivity with back-end systems (as an example, I know of law firm whose client list is in a SQL database and all invoices are generated in Word with digital signatures, etc.  Try doing that with Google Apps)

I am not anti-Google, on the contrary, I am a supporter of Google but only for consumer market where there are no needs of integration to back-end systems or crazy macros / VB add-ins.  Until someone could come out with a replacement for Excel, Exchange and SharePoint, businesses will be locked in MS world.
William PeckBusiness Intelligence Specialist

Scott Fell,

>>That is not entirely true.  The web version of word and excel comes with office 365
- but I log on to onedrive and open a word file, and bingo, I'm editing it. On my machine I have Office 2010 Client version, but when I edit a onedrive word file, it sure seems like a free version of Word . . .
Word online
I did the same with Excel - I opened online a spreadsheet that I created at home with Excel 2010, and it was definitely the web'y version, and I was exceedingly impressed.


I mentioned the Google Docs duplicates issues in my first post, they wanted a "shared folder" that everyone could access and save common documents (forms and such) plus they wanted it backed up, so I setup Google drive and created a "Company folder" accessible to all Google Apps users, but then they complained about duplicates so  I instructed my client to only open docs locally (from the Google Drive Folder) using MS Office otherwise it would do that. There is no way to use both without creating duplicates because Google Docs has to convert the file in order to edit it.


There are many types and sizes of businesses, several I've worked with in the past don't need any of those integrations you speak of. Most purchase the desktop version MS Office and Outlook and use a hosted Email provider. Also smaller companies don't have the budget or need to maintain an on premise exchange server, so a hosted solution just makes much better sense. Also how these companies use Google Apps may vary from what you speak of, I worked with a Radio station that moved to Google Apps away from an on premise Exchange server and got rid of Outlook to cut down on IT support issues, so now everyone using Google Apps through their browser, they still use MS office and other 3rd party programs though, but this made sense for them.

Google Apps for work (Government, Education & Non-profits) works fine for many businesses I've dealt with, I currently have a Dr.'s office that I migrated over from a webhost solution. With HIPAA, they needed a better solution for security and compliance and I successfully set that up for them with Google Apps. They do use MS Office and Google drive as a shared company folder, plus they have Mobile Devices with strict policies on password and screen lock time-out and the devices can be wiped remotely if lost or stolen. Also they use an RSM to manage the practice so no integration was needed with Outlook or Office.
Also there are several third-part integrations for Google Apps, under the "Marketplace Apps" section. I had to setup a 3rd party App called Virtru, which is an email encryption and management plugin, it integrates seamlessly into browser and you can install the plugin for Outlook.

I don't recommend Google Apps for Work as a complete replacement for MS Office and Hosted Email, although it could work. The main thing I'm recommend is the Email part of this equation, I am always dealing with hybrid situations here so finding the best, cheapest solution is mainly what the client wants. Most small and medium businesses now are moving to cloud based services, cutting back on their own infrastructure and moving the responsibility to the provider.
My recommendation here was Office365 as Microsoft has bundled everything together without a need to install anything and it's all hosted so no equipment to manage, from an overall cost of service and management it's a better solution than on premise.

As far a Google Apps for Work, there are a few situations where I'd recommend that, but If I know my client is going to be using MS office and/or Outlook I'm going to recommend Office365. But again the main focus here is the Email functionality.
Greg HejlPrincipal Consultant

Most folks are to tied to the Office Apps to give up on them.  if you tie Google Apps cost and the cost of Office licensing you might as well get on board with O365 for the online experience as well as the device experience for the same overall price.
pchettriIT Director

Office365 does offer web version to application access. It is specially useful for saving documents on Onedrive, when you are accessing application form tablet or phone. Most of the plan allows application access for up to 5 devices. For laptop or desktop,  I would prefer full downloaded version which gives option to same on OneDrive or local drives. 5 devices option is same for business essentials/premium, E3 or E5, of course the application and storage varies with plan

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