I came across this Blog Post today, http://www.cloudsherpas.com/partner-google/google-vs-microsoft-platform-real-change-part-ii-2/, part 1 is here, http://www.cloudsherpas.com/partner-google/google-vs-microsoft-platform-real-change-2/ I feel compelled to respond to this blog series as it contains, IMHO, many false statements, twisted facts and omissions. I encourage you to read both parts and then read the below as I try to correct distorted facts and statements and try to give cleanup the comparison that is being made.

Let’s start at the beginning of Part 1: (All quoted text comes directly from the two links of the blog series listed above)

“Google Apps is too big of a change for your users. Your users are already familiar with the tools in Office 365, they are the same solutions they have been using for the past 15+ years, so you won’t have to train them again.

Sound familiar? Do you think these statements are true? In this two-part blog series, I’ll focus on the individual products around which each solution is built and the different clients required to access these products in order to reveal why switching to Google Apps is, in fact, less of a change for your users than moving to Office 365.”

The above two paragraphs are at the heart of my complaint about this overall blog series. When a company moves to Office 365 from an on-premises Microsoft shop like the first paragraph assumes, little to no change happens for the end user. The can and do continue to use the same client access methods to the services as they did prior to the migration to Office 365. Only the backend Services are being moved to Office 365, Exchange for Messaging/Email, SharePoint for Document Collaboration and Lync for IM, presence and meetings. The end user is still using Outlook, Lync, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc to access and work with the data and information.

Next Up:

“With over 425 million users, Gmail is the number-one web-based email platform in the world. This generally means two things. First, given a choice, users prefer to use Gmail over any other email platform available”

Asserting that a free web-based email system is the first choice as an email platform over ANY other is preposterous. What about the millions and millions of business users that are using a Microsoft Exchange Based email system today? Also further down in the same paragraph the author mentions that “On the other hand, I would bet that zero to less than 1% of people are using Office 365 at home” I can probably agree with that, but Office 365 Home has nothing to do with email, it does not even include the Outlook client nor does if offer email as a service! To compare the author should have discussed Microsoft Outlook.com consumer free email service.

“Are your users using Office 2013 today? Are they using Windows 7 and/or 8 (the only supported operating systems for Office 365)? Are they using Lync 2013, SharePoint 2013 and Yammer? These products are not just incremental changes over their 2007 and 2010 counterparts. They have different interfaces, different menu options and more. Remember what happened when the ribbon was introduced in Office? Even removing the word “Start” from the Start button between XP and Windows 7 caused some problems, not to mention removing the Start button altogether in Windows 8.”

Well I can agree that probably most companies have not rolled out Office 2013 or Windows 8 yet to their workforces. But to claim that Office 2013 have different interfaces that Office 2007 or 2010 is false, and to try to prove his the author throws in the introduction of the Office Ribbon in Outlook 2007 to confuse the point even more. I will also agree that the Office Ribbon, when it came with Office 2007 was a change, but this was a change versus the previous Office 2003 version. Again the author mixes up facts and statements to slant the article to his views. Windows 7 still has a Start Button, why attempt to lump it in with Windows 8 that did remove the Start button? Confusion, pure and simple. Another issues this raises, by slamming Windows Operating System, I am curious what Operating System the Google users will be using accessing its services? You can’t take something like an Operating System and slam it when talking about one Cloud Service and not recognize that it will mostly likely be the same one used by the user of the other Cloud Service.

Still in Part 1, let’s start talking about Email now:

“In Google Apps, users have only one inbox to check for email (shared mailboxes are not included in the discussion of either platform). In Office 365, users have two inboxes to check and manage: Exchange and Yammer. Due to the limited integration between Exchange and Yammer, if you send a message via Yammer, it does not go to the Exchange inbox, where users can reply to, forward or manage mail. So, unless you put users’ full email addresses in the “To:” field, not their short Yammer names, they must log in to a completely separate inbox, outside of Exchange, to receive the message.”

First off why even mention Yammer as an email inbox? Nowhere has Microsoft ever promoted or advised that users use Yammer as an email messaging solution. While Yammer does have an “Inbox” is it used to collect notifications for end users to be alerted of new content directed at them or in groups or other areas of Yammer that they have chosen to follow. Plus within Yammer, and this is a default setting, anything that is delivered to a user Yammer Inbox is automatically forwarded to the users primary email address then registered with, so the author’s statement about no integration between Yammer and Exchange is false.

Moving along, let’s talk about File Storage:

“Next, Google provides Drive, which is a single, central, repository for users to store all their files. Once users store files in Drive, they can share them with other users and collaborate on/co-author documents with them. In Office 365, users can store files in OneDrive for Business, OneDrive Consumer, SharePoint Online and Yammer.”

Really like how the author decides to wait until now to mention on of Microsoft’s Consumer targeted services OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive). I could definitely understand if the author mentioned OneDrive and asserted that with users could be confused with the naming of OneDrive and OneDrive for Business, but he did not go there. Instead the author just lumps together the four locations. But I noticed something, the author conveniently forgot to mention Google Sites for a storage location for Google. If he is going to separate SharePoint and OneDrive for Business into separate locations then why not do the same with Sites and Drive? Well by listing two locations for Google would weaken his overall argument. I will concede that at this time, there is some confusion around storing documents in SharePoint versus Yammer and vice versa, and Microsoft is working on this but yes it does exist today. File Sharing is mentioned in the first sentence above, and specifically “Once users store files in Drive, they can share them with other users and collaborate on/co-author documents with them” No Mention that OneDrive for Business has the exact same functionality plus the ability to synchronize files with multiple devices as well as synchronize SharePoint Document Libraries with multiple devices to provide offline access. I realize that Google Drive can do the sync for offline access, but can it also sync Google Site documents as well?

To summarize this section, users do not need to understand four different storage products. Let’s drop OneDrive the consumer version right off the bat. And let’s play make believe, as most of the author’s article is, and assume that the company has disabled Yammer file storage. Now we are down to two locations, SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business, and if the author did his research, OneDrive for Business is just a SharePoint Site Collection that is configured for each and every user, so in the end, one storage product for the user to know and use with Office 365.

Chat:

“For chat, Google provides Hangouts — one product that allows for two-way or multi-person instant messaging and multi-person voice and video calls. In Office 365, users have the option to use Lync or Yammer, and, given the recent announcement of Lync and Skype federation, it seems users will eventually have a third product from which to choose.”

Here we go again, miss-representing information. The author mentions Lync and Skype federation as it is a bad thing. Lync and Sky Federation is a very good thing, Lync users able to chat with Skype users and vice versa, what is bad about that, unless a company doesn’t want users chatting with Skype users then they can turn off the federation very easily (Totally false statement from author regarding that Lync can’t chat with Skype: “if you’re on Lync, you can not chat with a user who is on Yammer or Skype”). And to then suggest that the Skype Federation will require users to use Skype is insane! Again, I will give the author credit for pointing out that currently Lync and Yammer both have chat capabilities, this is something that Microsoft is working on to solve and integrate, but at this time they are two separate chat products. Even with the current dual chat systems available via Office 365, Lync and Yammer, I am always logged into my Lync Desktop client and over 90% of the time have Yammer open in a web browser so I would see either chat request. And to further the point, even if I missed a “live” chat message, both Lync and Yammer will send me an email about a missed conversation to my primary email.

Social:

“Lastly, Google helps make the enterprise social with Google+, a single platform that allows for sharing, commenting, joining communities and more. Meanwhile, Office 365 provides both SharePoint and Yammer for social. However, you cannot use both social platforms at the same time, so you have to choose which one you want to use (though Microsoft is betting on Yammer ending up as its main social enterprise platform in the future).”

Well again the author either failed to do his research or neglected to mention that within SharePoint you can easily turn off the Newsfeed feature of SharePoint online and replace it with Yammer. And yes Microsoft is betting on Yammer being the main social enterprise platform in the future, so much so that Yammer is being fully integrated within Exchange, SharePoint and Lync online. Remember Microsoft bought Yammer just over a year ago, and they are working diligently integrating it into the full Office 365 and Microsoft ecosystem.

Halftime, let’s talk about the Infographic the author uses in both part 1 and part 2 of his blog series:


It is truly amazing to me how the author totally defies conventional logic and tries to fool the reader into thinking this Infographic represents a true apples to apple comparison of the two Cloud Services. On the Left we have Google Apps which is label as “Simple”. On the left we have Office 365 labeled as “Complex. That is where any semblance of fair comparison ends, in the names only. For the rest of the picture on the left side, the author shows the Google Service name relating to the Cloud Service Category on the left (and again noting that the author neglects to list Google Sites with Google Drive for the File category). And on the right the author decides to switch to a predominantly client list that allow access to the various Cloud Services Categories by Office 365. Is it just me or is this a total apple to oranges comparison? While I think the reason for this complete joke of a comparison is used is to try to fool the audience into thinking that Office 365 is only about applications and that data is stored in each application separately and not shared across any of the applications. Can you think of another reason for this?

To full compare apples to apples, here is what my right side would look like: (Sorry not as fancy but I think you get the picture)

Email Exchange
File SharePoint, Yammer
Chat Lync
Social SharePoint, Yammer

 

Now doesn’t that more represent the actual Office 365 Services that represent the categories versus the clients listed in the author’s Infographic?

I actually do think the author unintentionally gives Office 365 a pat on the back, by showing all the different client options available to Office 365! But the author actually takes this benefit of multiple options for accessing data as a negative. He asserts that having multiple client options requires more end user training, this is the main argument throughout Part 2 of the blog series. Well I beg to differ, taking you back to the beginning of my blog post, the assertion first mentioned by the author is that users would be coming from a situation where they have working with Microsoft products for 15+ years, so why would one think they would need new training using what they already know?

I submit that the greater training, the greater end user change management is a move from an on-premises Microsoft shop to Google Apps. In this situation the users need to learn a new word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, chat, email, etc interfaces, features and limitations. This move to Google Apps changes fundamentally how users do the same job they did yesterday with new tools today.

At the end of part 2, the author closes with this:

“If you’ve been keeping track, that’s a whopping 26 different interfaces, depending on type of mobile device, with which users are potentially faced in Office 365. In contrast, Google Apps users have two, standard interfaces for each of the four applications, making for a total of eight interfaces. Eight or 26+… which do you think is easier for your users to learn?”

Again my view is, if as the blog series states in the opening of Part 1, if a user is coming from a history of using Microsoft technologies for 15+ years, they will not need to learn but one or two new interfaces, the main one that comes to mind is the new OWA interface for Exchange 2013. But a move to Google will require them to learn 6-7 interfaces at a minimum assuming the user is using and familiar with the Gmail interface for consumers.

Well there you have it my thoughts on comparison that is anything but fair. You might wonder why I take the time to respond at all, simply put if I did not step up and try to correct what I feel is false statements and bad information, I might as well give the bad information a gold star, and that ain’t happening!