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Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365: Why not both?

Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365: Why not both?


The great debate on whether small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) and startups should leverage Microsoft or Google for their productivity tools is ongoing. When embarking on the journey of finding the perfect solution for your SMB when it comes to productivity tools, there are other things to consider besides purely the cost of the service and what you’re used to using.

The workstyle in your company is important: are you looking for over the top functionality and a traditional office work mode that Microsoft offers, or more flexibility and versatility that is innate with Google? Next, what are the preferences and habits of your team? While some employees have their entire careers based on working in local Microsoft programs, the younger generations have been probably living and breathing Google Workspace, and if you’re a parent today with kids in elementary or older, chances are they using Workspace in every aspect of school. 

The Google vs Microsoft debate usually focuses on choosing one as a unified solution, and with good reason. A unified system of email, office programs and communication tools truly is the best possible setup. Some businesses have clear-cut expectations for their productivity tools and one solution will fit perfectly in their needs. But, that isn’t always the case for many others. 

What about those businesses where each department has a completely different work style and needs? One solution would be hard to cover it all. Maybe you were even inspired by our previous post in the Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365 series Which one should SMBs choose? and decided to change to Google Workspace from Microsoft, but don’t yet feel comfortable to do so fully.

Making the migration is beneficial in many ways, which we highlighted in our previous post, but for those accustomed to using Microsoft 365, the change can be daunting. However, it doesn’t have to be. 

In the second post in our Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365 series, we will be taking on the subject of interoperability for SMBs that are just not ready or are not in the position to only choose one solution. 

When should your SMB use both Google Workspace and Microsoft 365? 

Taking the “best of both worlds” approach, businesses can leverage the versatility and collaboration Google Workspace offers, while keeping Microsoft for more advanced or specific functionalities. As Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 can be a monthly subscription based service, implementation of both in one company is a breeze. 

If your company is one where each department has different work styles and specific needs, using both Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 would be the best option. For example, Sales, Marketing, Support, and IT, being departments that utilize a lot of external tools and are usually very dynamic environments would benefit greatly from having Google Workspace. Greater number of integrations, easy collaboration between the tools and teams and easy-to-use apps are all reasons that make Google Workspace the better choice for these departments. 

On the other hand, you would be hard pressed to find any accountant that will give up their Excel easily. Accounting and Finance operate with large datasets and benefit from advanced functionality and features that are available in Microsoft 365 — mostly in Excel. 

Some advantages of using both Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 are the possibility of every department and even every employee individually choosing which tools they want to use for their tasks. Additionally, when having both suites in use, you can test out which one actually works better for your company, making the choice (if you decide to switch to one fully) much easier, and grounded in real-life experience. 

How does Google Workspace work with Microsoft 365 tools

It’s long been a Microsoft world and Google knows this. Thankfully, with collaboration at the core of Google Workspace, they have many options for interoperability between their apps and Microsoft’s. Using a combination of the two suites has proven effective for many companies already. When done correctly, you will be able to manage it all through the Google Workspace administrator panel having visibility on security, access, and collaboration all in one place. 

With G Suite’s rebrand to Google Workspace there were also roll-outs of features and updates that allow for easy sharing of documents between Google and Microsoft apps. Bingo!

One of the most notable abilities of Workspace’s interoperability is between Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel, and Google Docs and Microsoft Word. Once, if someone was to send you a Microsoft Word document, you wouldn’t be able to just edit it directly in Google Docs nor would you be able to just save it to Google Drive. And not to mention the format discrepancies that caused headaches for many! 

Google Workspace today allows users to directly edit Microsoft 365 documents without the need to convert files in format supported by the suite. If someone sends you an Office file as a Gmail attachment, you can open and edit them directly. Google Workspace supports Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files as well as PDFs, images and videos. This means that if your Accounting sends you an Excel document, you will be able to open it directly in Google Sheets. Additionally, with that support for Microsoft 365 files, formatting issues are avoided as Google offers formatting options same as those used in Office files. 

Mixed calendaring environments can cause issues when communicating with external vendors that use Microsoft 365 or during a migration to Google Workspace. Google has you covered in that scenario as well. The Google Calendar Interop tool allows Microsoft Exchange and Google Calendar to work together. With Google Calendar Interop, both Calendar and Exchange users can view each other’s availability, event details and view and book shared resources such as Exchange’s meeting rooms. 

With the current surge in remote working and companies leaving behind the traditional office environments, staying connected with your team is now more important than ever. Google Meet is a powerful tool for keeping everyone connected across all of their devices: laptop, mobile and even has the possibility of dialing-in via phone. Those that use Google Workspace can invite anyone to join their Meet call — including Outlook users any other third-party conferencing systems. All supported third-party conferencing systems include Cisco, Polycom, Lifesize, Sony, and Microsoft Skype for Business (Microsoft Teams). It works both ways too: if Outlook users want to schedule events, they can easily add Meet video conferencing details. 


As you can see, choosing between Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 doesn’t have to be an either or scenario, you can always opt to utilize both for different needs. And with Google Workspace’s interoperability with Microsoft 365 and many other third-party solutions, having both used effectively in your business doesn’t have to be a complex task.

In summary - here’s what we commonly see if there is a need for both:

  • Google Workspace
    • Sales
    • Marketing
    • IT
    • Operations
    • HR
    • Legal
  • Microsoft 365
    • Finance

If you are unsure how well the hybrid productivity tool environment would work with your small business, we’re here to help! Contact us and find out how we helped successfully complete over 100 migrations from Microsoft to Workspace, whether fully or partially. We can also get you set up on a free trial of Google Workspace!