Small Business Computers: Is Office 365 or Google Docs better?

small business computer appsThe release of Microsoft’s new Office 365 brings great new possibilities for Small Business Computer environments. How?  Wouldn’t it be great if your  business computers could get the power of Microsoft Office, with the convenient web based, cross-platform functionality of Google Docs?

Working on the same documents from your PC, Laptop, MAC, Tablet, or even your phone? How about having your documents in the cloud, accessible from almost any device, anywhere? No more thumb drives. No more setting up special VPN connections to your office network!

If you’ve found yourself using Google Docs on your small business computers for the accessibility, but bemoan its lack of power and features versus MS Office, your problems may be over. The new Office 365 is now both a cloud-based program, as well as a desktop program. So should you upgrade and use Office exclusively, or should you stay with your current version, using Google Docs when you need to? I contrast and compare the two below.

A problem I often see in my computer repair shop, is business clients having multiple versions of Office on their business PC’s and dealing with formatting and readability issues between the versions. They also sometimes lose their installation disks or keycodes and can’t reinstall the program if they need to. Correcting this problem involves buying more copies of Office, which is expensive.

Google Docs:

Google is into a little bit of everything, from search and email, to documents, making it simple to turn to one place for everything you need. The problem is that compared to Microsoft Office, their products are less powerful and a little bit “off”. For instance, when trying to use Office and Google Docs on the same document, formatting can be an issue, with bullet points off center, and special fonts and margins getting lost in translation. On the upside, it’s free, plus you can open and edit documents on the fly from anywhere, from your browser or from Gmail attachments

Microsoft Office (through version 2010):

Office on the other hand, has been around for years. It’s mature and very powerful, and most people know how to use it. The issue is that you have purchase and physically install it on each business PC to have it available on every computer. A more recent issue has been that you can’t use it on a phone or tablet. Until now!

Office 365 (version of Office 2013):

Office 365 is taking these short comings and tossing them out the window. A once cumbersome and expensive investment has become a smart, affordable option that can be used on multiple devices at a low cost.

Want the flexibility of Google Docs with the tried and true operation of Office in a convenient, always synchronized and backed up environment that you can access anywhere? You got it!

Office 365 is a subscription-based, cloud-enabled product that’s available on your computer, tablet, and phone (the tablet and phone versions are still in the works). There are multiple ways to run this new office, from streamed software (like Google Docs), to web apps, to traditional physical installations from a download or CD. Although this Office doesn’t take on all the new Windows 8 design cues, it looks cleaner and more modern.

The Home Premium version costs $10 a month or $100 a year ($80 for four years). I think it’s a great deal. You also get 27GB of cloud storage on Microsoft’s “Sky Drive” (their version of Drop Box and Google Drive), plus 60 minutes of free calling time on Skype. Oh, did I mention you get all updates and even new version upgrades too?

If you get a Windows 8 tablet or phone, you can run Office 365 in its full, installed version. If not, you can use it as a web app or through your browser. Unfortunately for Mac users, the OS X and IOS versions will be up to 18 months behind. However, you can access is on the web, like Google Docs. The same goes for Android, but their versions might come out sooner.

This is pretty much the wave of the future. Instead of buying software on a disk and installing it on a single device, you subscribe to it for as long as you want or need it. If you need more information, or help setting this new software up on your home or small business computers, give my Tucson PC Repair Service a call or visit my website.

By: Steve Frantzis
Owner, Saguaro PC Tech, LLC

About Steve Frantzis

Steve Frantzis is the Owner of Saguaro PC Tech, LLC, a computer repair shop in Tucson. If you have any questions or need help with your laptop, desktop, Mac, or mobile device, please call Us at (520) 250-5948.

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