Making a 180 to Work

As mentioned in our last post, we were very pleased to see Microsoft make a greater approach to the open-source software world. In fact, we were so pleased at their new direction and had heard good things about Office 365, that we decided to give it a shot when setting up Buccaneer's operations. Unfortunately, it turned out the Office 365 just wasn't the correct solution for our needs.

Other than the actual work of developing software, most of our sales and operational work is done in browser-based tools. That's a work-flow that's proven pretty powerful, since we are in a mixed (but admittedly mostly OS X for the time being) environment here and have made a conscience decision to avoid platform specific native tools wherever possible. So, we naturally gravitated towards the online versions of Word and Excel. Overall, the Office Online solutions were serviceable but they didn't have the polish that Google Docs has and there were a few cases of locked up Chrome tabs that ended up losing the first version of our Excel burn-down document.

In general, we found 365's OneDrive features to be a lot more complicated and less intuitive than Google Drive. We also were disappointed in the collaborative features of OneDrive and Office Online as a whole; most of our team had used Google Docs before and was used to the sophisticated commenting and collaboration features therein. It got to the point where we gave up on going over the document on Office and just printed out copies and had a good old fashioned meat-space meeting.

We gave it about a month and half before making the switch and frankly we couldn't be happier with Google Work. Not only does it have the features we expect but it is actually a bit cheaper as well. Of course Office 365 may be appropriate for your organization and I'd encourage anyone deciding between the services to look at both but keep in mind that 365 is probably something a lot closer to traditional Microsoft Office than a fully online collaborative service.