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Less productive with Microsoft Office 365

Less productive with Microsoft Office 365

In February 2017, g-company celebrated 10 years since Google introduced ‘Google Apps for Business’, which is now called ‘Google Workspace’. Soon after that introduction, g-company became Google Cloud partner in the Benelux. During the celebration at Google in Amsterdam, several clients spoke about their experiences with g-company and with Google Cloud. One of them was Lambert Caljouw. As Enterprise Architect, he led the transition to Google Workspace for Royal Vopak in 2012, guided by g-company. Lambert spoke about his personal experiences using Google Workspace compared to Microsoft Office 365:

“Over a year ago, I changed from employee and joined an organization that works with Office 365. I was used to working with Docs, Sheets and Slides. When I worked together, I would give others access to a document stored in the cloud via a hyperlink. They then edited the content of that document through the browser. It saved me a lot of time: I was no longer busy sending and receiving e-mails with attachments and I no longer lost time looking for and processing feedback that I had to fish out of the various versions sent back.

With Office 365, I also had the possibilities to collaborate in this way. In practice, however, this did not appear to be working: everyone had continued to work in the traditional mail-with-attachments-round way. Even if I explicitly shared my documents via a link. The advantage of Office 365 – that you continue to work with Word, Excel and PowerPoint without thinking – thus suddenly appears to be a disadvantage: people are not triggered to work differently – and therefore more productively.

Also, the differences between the Office 365 web apps and the apps on your laptop, the performance issues and limitations of these web versions and the confusion about aspects such as Sharepoint online versus OneDrive versus Sharepoint onsite versus local file servers all ensure that no one changes their way of working. Everything stays the same and nobody really makes the transition to efficient collaboration in the cloud.

Because Outlook still assumes the creation of folders in which mails are stored/classified, ‘searching’ is less intuitive and efficient than in Gmail. Again, this leads to a lot of wasted time and frustration; for example, I can’t (no longer) muster the discipline to unnecessarily move mails into folders in order to retrieve them later. All in all, I have experienced using Office 365 as a ‘step back in time’, compared to working with Google Workspace!”