It’s clear that Microsoft Office no longer has a LOCK on businesses – small businesses or big businesses. It’s clear that the online world of collaboration and communication has challenged traditional software, where Microsoft has been a leader, in favor of nimble and low cost online services. Hence the explosion of Dropbox, Carbonite, Quickbooks Online, Google and a range of other online services.
The Wall Street Journal writes that Microsoft has a team dedicated to combating Google, it’s not an easy fight.
With the launch of Office 2013, and the growth of Office 364 (Microsoft’s online offering for small businesses) and the release of Windows 8 coming soon the fight is even more intense.
So, if I’m a small business owner, which one do I choose?
Do I keep Microsoft Office as my core collaboration suite and use Office 365 for online productivity (or just Office 365) or do I use Google Apps.
Let’s take costs first as that’s easy. Google Apps (the paid version with no advertising, with support and more) is $50 per person per year. Office 365 is from $50 to $100 per person per year – depending on the features you want.
The decision is not easy and should not just be made on price.
Many businesses rely on the rich features of Microsoft Office (software) that really can only be found in a software version. They’d be best to stick with Office 365 which has the most seamless integration of Office for the software and online services.
For those small businesses who are starting from scratch or really need only email, chat, file sharing, and basic office software (word processor, spreadsheet) Google Apps is just fine for you and gives you everything you’d need and more. Also keep in mind tools like Sliderocket or Prezi make online presentations quite powerful and there are SO MANY MORE tools you can use to fill in the holes – many are free, most are low cost and all are easily available in your web browser.
The deciding factor for small businesses is WHICH type of business are you and what type WILL YOU BE.
Once you figure that out, with your tech advisor you can make the right decision.