adoption , microsoft 365 , migration , | 2020/11/18 at 2:32pm

Transitioning from G-Suite to Microsoft 365

The first few days and weeks in a new job can be daunting as you begin to navigate a new position, company, and its systems. For me, the biggest challenge was the migration from G-Suite to Microsoft 365. Over the past 11 years since I left high school, I had worked solely within G-Suite or with Mac Desktop AppsDuring this time Microsoft has made significant advances in cloud and Artificial Intelligence and had infused them into their productivity platform. Keep reading to learn more about my experiences with the two competing suites. 

On streamlining process 

In any role within an organisation there are several repetitive tasks that need to be completed on a regular basis. In marketing these generally, entail ongoing company updates on marketing activities and campaigns. 

One of the programs I managed as part of my previous role was the customer feedback program for over 300 business sites (which the company I worked for managed), and thousands of individual customers – this included generating reports, monitoring engagement, data validation, and management updates. To streamline this process there were six Google Forms (one for each of the Industries) and a central spreadsheet that pooled all the information, from here Google Data Studio would generate reports. To correctly analyse the data not only by industry but across the business (e.g. food quality, presentation, service quality etc) we hired an external partner to automate part of the data management. Which meant each time the automation failed you would either need a firm grasp of spreadsheet coding or you would need to lodge a ticket – which often took days! Due to the large volumes of data being processed Spreadsheets would often crash or you would experience “real-time” data delays. As a result, a large percentage of my time was dedicated to resolving issues and program maintenance rather than data analysis and Plan for Improvement (P.F.I) strategies. 

In comparison, Microsoft 365 offers several solutions to reduce and even eliminate time-consuming day-to-day administration tasksand by using Power BI – data analysis is simple and straightforward. Automation is possible across multiple platforms including PowerApps, Power Automate, or SharePoint, and have the capacity to work across multiple products within the Microsoft 365 suite. This has quickly become my favourite feature of Microsoft 365, not only does it streamline workflow, but offers a simple solution that anyone no matter what their technological proficiency can set up – no-code automation. In less than an hour (once I had sat through some of the Microsoft Power BI training Microsoft), I was able to set up a number of Marketing Social reports and have them automatically post to a central Marketing SharePoint page which I had created using the template available, these now automatically refresh, giving our management virtually real-time data on our marketing reach, analytics and results. 

On collaboration 

The last time (2008-09) I used Microsoft collaboration platformsit was lagging in cloud-based collaboration in comparison to Google. Nowboth platforms provide multiple desktop and mobile apps that enable collaboration between employees through collaborative documents, video conferencing & meetings, instant messaging, and many more 

As with many contemporary companies, my previous company and Insync rely heavily on instant messaging for collaboration. Whilst Microsoft was the first out of the two companies to develop a web messenger app with Microsoft Messenger/ MSN in 1999, Google Hangouts in my experience has a simpler user experience its main benefit being that the messaging client is integrated with Gmail and enables aeasy one-stop tool for communication – instead of overcomplicating it and having multiple desktop apps open. 

Despite this, my recent experiences with Teams Meetings have unveiled several features (especially for the workplace) which overall surpass GSuite capabilities. The four which resonate with me the most are the recent updates to Teams Meetings.  

  1. Teams capacity – everyone can join the conversation, with the capacity of a team size increasing to 10,000 in May 2020. Google in contrast struggles with 15+.
  2. Teams have adapted to new meeting etiquetteif you do not want to interrupt the speaker?  No problem, raise your hand! 
  3. Presenting capabilities – whilst Teams has had the option to choose your background since early 2020, their most recent announcement at Microsoft Ignite to have you slides presented with you in the foreground is a natural evolution with the transition into hybrid work environments. This is particularly relevant to companies like Insync Technology who hold regular training and webinar events. 
  4. Live captions are now able to attribute the name of the speaker when generating captions during a meeting. A great feature when referring to or, conducting interviews! 

On content development

Content development is fundamental to any Marketing Strategy. As a result, my previous role entailed content development for point of service, fact sheet, website, company communications, social media, and the company magazine – it was a central component to my everyday work. To ensure it was not only informative but quality content I would often use software such as Grammarly to help improve my writingI no longer need to copy and paste into another software (then paste and reformat once it has been reviewed). With Microsoft 365 – Word has an ‘editor’ feature built into the program which not only checks spelling and grammar but helps to refine clarity, conciseness, formality, punctuation, and vocabulary – a handy feature when producing large volumes of content! 

However, the most impressive advancements Microsoft 365 is within PowerPoint. I would often use Google Slides to create editable templates for our sites and during pitches to the board at my previous company. It enabled me to create on-brand templates and control (to a degree) what was editable to another user, in addition to its core function as a presentation tool. There were many limitations to using Google Slides the most frustrating being that it often distorted and corrupted images placed into the presentation, especially if it was to large or there were multiple pages – this was particularly common if you tried to print the document. It also had limited presentation functions and no capability to record.   

PowerPoint has been designed to help users improve their presentation skills and ensure that the information is easily digested by the viewer. The presenter coach is a particularly useful tool to optimise the delivery of your presentation, something that would only be possible after you had presented or by practicing with friends and family! 

 On G-suite vs Microsoft 365  

One thing Microsoft 365 has really focused on is the ease of transition from the G-Suite. Not only in terms of technical competence but in terms of getting to grips with the products within the suite and ensure end-users have relevant and comprehensive guidance on all of the applications within the suite. Microsoft has a handy Adoption Centre to centralise all its end-user and IT pro guidance for getting the most out of Microsoft 365.

Whilst the user experience is not as simple as Google the use of AI technologies and understanding of the core use of each of their products really sways in their favour – especially in the terms of productivity. Put simply – Google is simple for simple use cases, but for cloud & AI-infused productivity gains, as well as a more cohesive experience – Microsoft wins hands down.