Coming to Microsoft 365 for the First Time
For an all-in-one solution for business productivity tools, there are two major options: Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace (formerly known as G Suite). For most of my working life, I’ve used Google. I’m personally not a fan of Google, but it was the tool used where I worked so I became accustomed to it. I even liked it due to its simple design and moderately robust services. It was well integrated.
But when it came time for me to commit to a business platform for documents, calendar, email, and such for Niedziela Solutions, LLC, I was torn between using what I knew (Google) and the unknown alternative (Microsoft 365). I heard great things about Microsoft 365 and some of the businesses I work with use it, but I was only familiar with Google.
The feature parity was very strong between them and so was the pricing. Microsoft, however, was more expensive on the higher tier plans (which I was looking at), but at those levels there were interesting features that set Microsoft apart from Google.
Microsoft 365 seemed like it fit Niedziela Solutions, LLC better in the long term. Document sharing and collaboration with our clients would be easier as many of them are using 365 and we could also communicate seamlessly with Microsoft Teams if need be. The amount of features and options offered would support us as we scaled.
So I chose Microsoft 365. It has been a few months of using it, so here are my fresh thoughts:
- The rich set of apps. Forms, Calendar, Mail, Documents, OneDrive, Sharepoint, Intune, Teams, Whiteboard, Lists, and so on. There are so many!
- The concept of Sharepoint is just wonderful to me. Having a hub for a business that can pull from so many places…priceless.
- I actually like the idea of Teams a lot, and that’s coming from someone who thinks Slack is great. Slack is still better than Teams in many ways, but Teams beats in in the sense that at least on Mac it’s also a hub off all Microsoft productivity tools. I can use OneNote through it, see files in OneDrive, and so on. And there are extensions to it.
- The Security Center feels so powerful. The Azure Active Directory center as well.
- OneDrive feels far superior to Google Drive to me. I think it’s laid out better and since it’s integrated with the desktop apps it’s easy to open and edit from web to desktop.
- Overall, the layout/UX of Microsoft 365 is uneven. Not all services are as well laid out as OneDrive. In addition there are so many services and different areas that it’s easy to get overwhelmed and lost. Not all of them are up to date either (for ex., there are new and old versions of some pages so it gets confusing when reading support documents).
- DKIM setup was a big problem for me. I basically had to get onto a multi-week Microsoft 365 support ticket to resolve, and had to use Azure Cloud Powershell to enable it. This was a headache.
- I am using Safari on a Mac and sometimes there are issues with the web interface. Teams on Safari isn’t working right now due to third party cookies.
- Big one for me: I use control-key based shortcuts to jump to parts of a line or to a word and they don’t work in the Microsoft Office suite apps. They are overridden by other shortcuts inside the app. This is a productivity killer and rather obnoxious.
- Microsoft Teams’ Emoji are terrible and I wish it was more like Slack in interface.
Yes, there are kinks, but Google had kinks too. For the long-term horizon, I am glad I went with Microsoft 365 as I know it will scale for us. I am interested to see what changes Microsoft has in store for the Mac apps going forward and for Teams. Some of my gripes or problems could easily be remedied in an update. I would recommend Microsoft 365 over Google.
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