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Culture Clash: Office 365 and G Suite

IT preferences can feel like religion. Mac vs PC. Linux vs Windows, iOS vs Android. The same holds true with cloud services. The historical presence of MS Office in our daily work lives makes moving to G Suite feel more like a radical shift than moving to Office 365. And while there is something to be said for familiarity, the way we’ve always done things is not necessary the best way to do them, or the way we should be doing them in the future.

Our work environments are changing from structure and hierarchy to collaboration and teams.

The productivity tools we pick should foster and support the way your team wants to work rather than forcing your team into structures and processes that can stifle innovation, initiative, and productivity.

Both Microsoft Office 365 and G Suite give you the tools to help your team collaborate and thrive. The approaches, however, differ.

The Microsoft Angle

For about two years, Microsoft has focused on “cloud first; mobile first” as its strategy and mantra. The evolution of Office 365 and Azure demonstrate Microsoft’s commitment and enthusiasm for the collaboration economy.

But Microsoft is about rapid evolution, not revolution. Microsoft understand that you have legacy systems and data — from MS Office documents to line-of-business systems — that you cannot replace all at once.  One of the strengths of Office 365 is the ability to integrate the service with existing servers, applications, and data. In doing so, new capabilities work not only with cloud-based systems and data, but with your existing IT systems and services.

Microsoft’s cloud-first strategy is clearly to expand the capability of Office 365, but let you access your on-premise systems and data. Case in point: Power BI.  Power BI is a user-driven data analytics tool in Office 365 that is not part of the MS Office suite.  Power BI lets you connect and include data from Excel, SQL Server, Dynamics, and hundreds of other sources — on premise and in the cloud.

The Google Angle

Google has always been cloud-first — some might say cloud-only — in its strategy.  Yes, G Suite integrates with your local Windows network and with your desktop MS Office suite. But the real power of G Suite is the innate design around collaboration and peer connectivity. Every app — and nearly every feature — supports real time collaboration.  The apps within G Suite are designed to be efficient and “lighter weight” than other productivity suites, focusing on the functionality used by 80-90% of users and relying on third party solutions for the rest.

G Suite assumes, if not expects, you to use third party applications and solutions to build out your capabilities. Google focuses on integration with third parties as much, if not more, than adding major apps and functionality to G Suite. Need a CRM system? Take your pick from dozens of solutions ranging from major players like Salesforce.com and Prosperworks to niche and vertical market solutions like Bullhorn. Need a task management solution? Hive, Smartsheets, and many others are ripe for the picking.

Google’s cloud strategy is clearly to provide a core productivity platform and to empower organizations to pick “best fit” and “best of breed” cloud (SaaS) solutions to fill broader needs and provide line of business functionality.

Culture Clash

Even with a Cloud-First strategy, Microsoft focuses on including and providing a broad range of apps and solution within the Windows/Office365/Azure ecosystem. Yes, Microsoft fosters relationships and integrates with other cloud solutions and apps. Microsoft also integrates with legacy, on-premise systems. Google’s culture is more “all in cloud”. Yes, you can integrate MS Office.  Yes, you can connect to on-premise systems. But your productivity suite will work best when you integrate with third party SaaS solutions.

Which solution — Office 365 and G Suite — is right for you depends on where you are and where you want to go as an organization. The decision is as much about culture, line of business apps, mobility, and other factors as it is about Outlook vs Gmail.  When deciding which cloud, look forward and measure your decision against goals, objectives, and the long term strategy for your business as well as your IT.

 


For more discussion of factors to consider when deciding which cloud is best for your business, check out our recent eBook, Picking Your Productivity Cloud.

You Win in Microsoft’s $129 Billion Give-Away

Windows 10 Logo
At this summer’s Worldwide Partner Conference, several Microsoft executives mentioned that they expect 1 billion users to download the Windows 10 for free.  With a “street price” of about $129, this equates to $129 billion give-away. The cynics among us might argue that this is a great strategic play for Microsoft as a way to maintain its customers base amid increasing competition from other operating platforms, including Chrome, Linux, Android, and iOS.

You, however, are the real winner in this give-away. And here is why …

  • Windows 10 is the first Microsoft operating system that is truly a single environment across all hardware platforms, from servers to smartphones. For software developers, it means that apps written for Windows 10 easily run across mobile and traditional (desktop and server) platforms.
    • You win: Expect better functional and operational equivalence for applications; no more waiting for phone and tablet versions to catch up to the desktop version.

  • Windows 10 is the first Microsoft operating system that is truly network-first. Microsoft has made a huge shift to a cloud-first, mobile-first strategy, and Windows 10 is part of this shift. Network services now launch with the core operating system, not as a service later in the boot cycle.
    • You win: Expect faster boot times as your networked and cloud apps will no longer ‘sit and spin’ while waiting for the network to come online.

  • Windows 10 is the first Microsoft operating system designed to evolve. The age of the monthly updated and periodic service packs is coming to an end. Microsoft will update, patch, and enhance Windows 10 as part of a continuous process. While domain system managers can still control when different types of updates propagate, updates will now happen “when ready and when needed”.
    • You win: Expect more feature and capability enhancements and a more secure/robust environment, as Windows 10 will more nimbly adapt to changing needs.

  • Windows 10 is the first Microsoft operating system with a user interface that matches user preferences. Let’s face it, Windows 8.x was a great experiment in a mobile-friendly user interface that was welcomed with mixed results. Windows 10, however, gives users the option of creating the environment that is most effective from them. Yes, you still have live tiles. But you also have desktops (yes, more than one if you want).
    • You win: Expect to create efficient workspaces for your different roles and tasks.  Separate desktop environments (including settings and apps) for personal versus work activity on your laptop. Customize desktops for different roles you may fill — manager, finance, marketing, operations — throughout your workday. In short, create environments that make life easier for you, and switch between them as y0u see fit.

With these firsts, and others, Microsoft is demonstrating that it “gets” the new cloud and mobile centric world order and  that Microsoft is ready to be a significant player. Microsoft’s Office 365 and Azure services, and many others from many vendors, are already moving to leverage the new capabilities of Windows 10. Regardless of your overall strategy, you should be prepping to move your Windows ecosystem to Windows 10.


Interested in discussing you go to strategy for Windows 10 and the cloud? Drop us a note; we are happy to listen, learn, and share.


 

SMB Cloud Pioneer Cumulus Global Takes on Microsoft Cloud

Microsoft 0365 icon
A pioneer in cloud computing solutions for small and mid-size businesses, Cumulus Global (www.cumulusglobal.com) announced today the addition of Microsoft Cloud Solutions to its portfolio of solutions. The addition of Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Azure services expands the range of cloud platforms, services, and applications that Cumulus Global provides directly to its customers.

“We are excited to have Cumulus Global join our partner network,” stated Jennifer Heard, vice president, Worldwide Corporate Account and Partner Sales at Microsoft Corp.  “As a born-in-the-cloud solutions provider, Cumulus Global understands that any successful migration to the cloud depends on user adoption of enhanced collaboration and information access capabilities. This opens up massive opportunities for partners and helps our mutual customers realize the true value of their solutions.”

In addition, the company is an authorized Microsoft Surface reseller, offering the tablet-based devices as a replacement for traditional desktops and laptops.

“As a cloud solutions provider, we have always focused on giving our customers solutions that help them succeed, directly or as a broker,” notes Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global, “Our relationship with Microsoft empowers our customers with a broader range of solutions that we can directly design, plan, migrate, manage, and support.”

Beyond email, file services, and collaboration, Cumulus Global is offering platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a- service (IaaS) solutions. The company has existing relationships in place to assist with integrated CRM solutions.


For more information, or a free consultation, contact us today.


 

 

Cumulus Global, SMB Cloud Pioneer, Takes on Microsoft Cloud

Cumulus_Global-icon_sm
A pioneer in cloud computing solutions for small and mid-size businesses, Cumulus Global (www.cumulusglobal.com) announced today the addition of Microsoft Cloud Solutions to its portfolio of solutions. The addition of Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Azure services expands the range of cloud platforms, services, and applications that Cumulus Global provides directly to its customers.

“We are excited to have Cumulus Global join our partner network,” stated Jennifer Heard, vice president, Worldwide Corporate Account and Partner Sales at Microsoft Corp.  “As a born-in-the-cloud solutions provider, Cumulus Global understands that any successful migration to the cloud depends on user adoption of enhanced collaboration and information access capabilities. This opens up massive opportunities for partners and helps our mutual customers realize the true value of their solutions.”

In addition, the company is an authorized Microsoft Surface reseller, offering the tablet-based devices as a replacement for traditional desktops and laptops.

“As a cloud solutions provider, we have always focused on giving our customers solutions that help them succeed, directly or as a broker,” notes Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global, “Our relationship with Microsoft empowers our customers with a broader range of solutions that we can directly design, plan, migrate, manage, and support.”

Beyond email, file services, and collaboration, Cumulus Global is offering platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a- service (IaaS) solutions. The company has existing relationships in place to assist with integrated CRM solutions.


Companies interested in learning more should contact us for a complementary discussion with one of our cloud advisors.