The Parable of Martha and George

Let’s take a look into the lives of two high-powered sales executives, Martha and George. The fictional pair have never met, but they do have a lot in common. Martha and George work for competing engineering contracting companies. Martha’s company uses Microsoft Office 365 for their collaboration whereas George’s business uses Google Apps for Work.

So let’s take a look how the pair get their work done…

The two firms are currently both responding to a request for tender. George is preparing his tender document in Google Docs. He’s able to prepare the document how he wants, but he wastes a lot of time trying to find formatting features. He’s used to Microsoft Office and he can often be heard muttering something about old dogs and new tricks.

Meanwhile, Martha is using Microsoft Office, just like she’s used to. She prepares her document somewhat faster than George and is feeling much less frustrated by the end of it.

George needs to include pricing information in his tender document. His supplier has provided him with an Excel spreadsheet to determine the cost of the project. George uploads the spreadsheet to his Google Drive but is dismayed to find that none of the formulas are working. The spreadsheet was apparently using some of the 79 formula functions that are exclusive to Excel. He now has to chase the supplier in order to determine the prices needed.

Martha, using Microsoft Excel, has none of these issues and is able to include pricing information easily.

George has been employed at his company for a long time. He’s worked with a lot of large documents, including high resolution images and even some videos. Unfortunately, on this day George has finally run out of the 30GB of space on his Google Apps account. George tries to find some unimportant documents to delete to make room for his new data.

Martha, with her 1TB of storage, is unlikely to face this issue for a very long time.

It’s now near the end of the working day and our characters are preparing to go home. They both have a presentation tomorrow morning and although they’ve prepared their speeches they each still need to throw together a quick slide deck to accompany them. The two professionals want to go home, so they decide they’ll use their tablets to work on the train. George opens up Slides on his Android tablet (Slides is also available on iOS) and starts creating. He gets the basic structure of his presentation down and fleshes out the content, but he’s frustrated to realise that the Slides mobile app has very limited formatting abilities. When he gets home he fires up his home computer and the Slides web application so that he can make his slide deck look good.

Martha, on her train ride, fires up the PowerPoint mobile app on her iPad. (Also available on Android and Windows RT.) PowerPoint is much closer to fully-featured than Slides, and while there are a few things that the desktop version can do and the mobile version can’t, Martha is able to put together a good enough looking presentation that she decides she can have a bit of a lie in tomorrow.

George is informed that a different company has been selected in the tender. During the debrief, he discovers that the prospect organisation had data sovereignty concerns. Apparently they didn’t want  other countries to know certain details of the project, and Google Apps for Work was not able to guarantee what country data will be stored in. This means that information stored by George’s company could, theoretically, be subpoenaed by the government of the country hosting it.

Martha’s company is the successful tenderer. Thanks to Microsoft’s new Australian data centres for Office 365 and Azure, Office 365 is able to guarantee that data will remain in the country.

So let’s recap some of the real benefits that O365 has over Google Apps for Work: Familiar Office software that everyone is already used to:

  1. More functionality available for complex spreadsheets
  2. Over 30 times more cloud storage per user
  3. More powerful mobile apps
  4. Australian data centres guaranteeing data sovereignty

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