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5/15/2013
05:45 PM
Larry Seltzer
Larry Seltzer
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Google Apps To Microsoft Office 365: 10 Lessons

Switching from Google Apps to Microsoft Office 365, you will find good and bad surprises. But overall, Microsoft's Web apps make the migration worthwhile.
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It's fair to say that Microsoft invented Web 2.0 with the original Outlook Web Access online mail service. It was the first prominent implementation of a Web front-end that had live links to back-end data and a user interface that approximated a desktop GUI. Today it looks primitive and, in fact, until Office 365, Microsoft did little to improve the interface. Worse, it worked much better in Internet Explorer than in other browsers -- and lots of users make a habit of avoiding Internet Explorer.

The Web apps are much better now. My experience with them makes me feel better about my decision to eventually ditch the Office 365 edition that includes the desktop software. I haven't found much that I wanted to do but couldn't. I could even print to local printers, something Google Apps can't do, at least not directly.

The Microsoft video below shows the PowerPoint Web app running on two separate systems, both editing the same presentation. Changes in one are reflected in the other.

Slick as this is, it's not like Microsoft invented it. Google Apps was doing it from the beginning, in 2006. The Google Apps applications, especially the spreadsheet, started out quite primitive and almost useless. From what I've seen recently, they have improved a great deal. There is at least some support now for pivot tables and I've been able to import spreadsheets which, years ago, were too complex for Google's spreadsheet app to make sense of. From what I can see, the main weaknesses are in layout, where Office has many more and finer-grained options. That said, it's harder to dismiss Google Apps these days. Just look at the side-by-side of the Excel app and the Google Apps spreadsheet pictured here.

But perhaps the question is moot. For a business, the ability to use Excel, including the desktop version, is a great selling point. With Google Apps, larger businesses are bound to run into limitations I didn't see, especially when dealing with legacy documents.

RECOMMENDED READING:

Skykick Tackles Microsoft Office 365 Migration Headaches

Microsoft Office 365 Steps On Google Enterprise Ambitions

Microsoft Office 365: How One Company Saves Big

9 Google Apps Security Secrets For Business

Google Apps Service Restored

National Archives Picks Google Apps For Government

6 Ways To Strengthen Web App Security

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AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/17/2013 | 5:10:12 AM
re: Google Apps To Microsoft Office 365: 10 Lessons
Hi Larry,
Great article and thanks for sharing your experience. I too ran into the same problem that you did early on in my learning of how to migrate users to Office 365. Namely the issue where your email address is in use as both a Windows account and as an Office365 email address. Before setting up my own Office365 subscription, I had my custom Domain hosted at a major ISP. My email address had been in use for years and I intended to keep using it once I migrated my custom Domain to Office365. I also happened to have had a Microsoft account that was setup using this same email address. This presented the problem you highlighted because Office365 setup using my custom Domain created a new O365 account with that same email address as well. The Office 365 account is completely different from the Microsoft account and will cause confusion to many users who are unaware of this distinction and its impact on working with the two Microsoft signons for their online services.
Microsoft needs to somehow address this issue because I'll bet it comes up often.
Other than that, I am glad you like Office 365. It has turned out to be one of the best products that Microsoft has created and it is only getting better.
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