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Gmail vs MS Office

Gmail and Outlook: A Comparison of the Email Titans

The very first question that I am asked in my workshops is why should one consider moving from Outlook (normally on the desktop) to Gmail (web based). 

Here are some of the most important (not the only) reasons why I strongly recommend organisations to move to web based platform like Gmail.

1. COST: The very first reason is cost. Outlook is very expensive per user as compared to Gmail/Google Apps. Also note that you do not need MS Windows for Google Apps as they work on any browser whether on Linux\Max\Android\IOS.

Assume Users= 20

Cost of MS Office (incl Outlook) & MS Windows for 4 years = 20 x (17500+15000) = Rs. 6,50,000.00

Cost of Google Apps (incl Gmail for Work) for 4 years = 20 x 1710 x 4 = Rs. 1,36,800.00

Savings = Rs. 5,13,200.00  or Rs. 25,660 per user over 4 years

See the pricing difference between various versions that you can buy. Prices taken from Google & Microsoft sites online.  See :  Microsoft Store   & Google Store

2. DATA SECURITY: The next most important concern is security of our valuable data. Outlook stores user data locally on the HDD. You can loose the data in the following common ways:

a. Device is stolen/misplaced
b. HDD gets corrupted
c. MS Windows required frequent reformatting, IT Support person may forget to backup pst file before formatting
d. Employee decides to leave the company, he can take a copy of the pst &  delete the one on PC before he leaves.

Gmail on the other had stores data offline so data cannot get lost due to a,b & c above. If the user deletes his data & messages  from his Google Apps account the same can be easily recovered by the admin. See details Click here. Also it is more difficult for user to copy the email data from Gmail for work unlike copying a single file in outlook.

3. SUPPORT & HARDWARE COSTS: A very important consideration is maintenance costs. The latest versions of Microsoft Office require faster processors and more RAM costing upwards of Rs.30000  while Google Apps will work off a simple Chromebook\Laptab staring from Rs.15000 onwards.  

Also note that systems running MS Windows & MS Office will eventually become slow after running for about a year and eventually have to be formatted to bring them back to their previous speeds. This requires significant man power. We have see reduction of upto 50% in support personnel required to maintain systems running Google Apps as there is nothing to install or maintain as everything is browser based. 

4. WORKING OFFLINE: One of the major objections for using Google Apps, I have come across relates to working offline. I am glad to tell you that both Gmail & Google Apps have a feature that allow you to work offline. Click here for details on Gmail Offline & Click Here for Google Drive offline.

5. INVALUABLE ADDITIONAL FEATURES:  The Google Apps includes several features which are invaluable for businesses. Even a few of these mentioned below will be sufficient to justify shifting to Google Apps over MS Office.
  • Centralized Cloud Storage - No need to invest in expensive servers and spend tons of money to backup data.
  • Inbuilt Single Sign On: Google Apps provide single sign on system for all apps and central console to manage all users. Using the same user name and password for their Gmail account the users can be provided access to other applications and files. To implement a similar system in Microsoft you would need to install a Microsoft AD Server which will cost you minimum of Rs. 80000 in hardware and software costs.
  • Realtime Collaboration: Multiple users can open a single document and work on the same in realtime.
  • Audit Trail & Version Management: Google apps automatically saves all the versions of documents since the time these are created so you can check who made what changes and at what time. Revert to any previous version at any time.
  • Translate: Translate emails & documents on the fly in over 20 languages in Gmail\Google Apps.
  • Integrate with thousand of Apps like CRM, Project Management, Collaboration many of which are free and some are paid. Many of these will prove invaluable for your business.