Switching from Office365 to GSuite – a personal experience

I have been closing down my Office365 E5 plan and moved to Google GSuite for my business. I am sorry that this sounds so whingy but ugh, closing Office365, deleting the Office365 tenant and moving elsewhere has been so frustrating. Here are some thoughts so far:

The Google support has been amazing. In contrast, my experience with Office365 support has not been good over the years and it is one thing that I do warn my customers about. If my customers have a Support call with Microsoft, I ask them to nominate their most feisty male to make the call so there is less disbelieving and more action. With Microsoft, my experience tends to be that the Support team member believes it is something that I am doing, rather than entertaining any possibility that there might be an issue at their end so they lose the possibility of improving. When I was an MVP and an RD, I raised this with Microsoft but they tended to believe it was a one-off incident. Personally I believe that they need to get better at asking themselves hard questions to see if they measure if people from diverse backgrounds get treated differently or worse; we measure what we value, after all. It does not seem that their Support teams and Third Party partner support teams are not required to do any Diversity training. If anyone is willing to tell me differently, please go ahead and I will correct, but this is what I have understood from Microsoft staff members. When I do a Microsoft project, I always get the third-party or customer to do the support call so it gets believed and there is less bias from the get-go.

With Google, so far, nothing has been any trouble. The Help files have been easier to navigate. If I’ve had an issue that they deem to be outside Support, the response has said so but the support agent has added something like ‘but I dug this information out for you anyway and I hope that these pointers help’. That way, I am not made to feel stupid or inferior and I don’t feel I have to work so hard to be believed or understood. They just get it and help me to move forward quickly. The service has been really good so far.

It’s been really difficult to close down the Office365 account and the tenant and for me, it negates the portability that we expect from the cloud. I contacted Microsoft yesterday, who sent me a link about closing a Microsoft ‘Live’ account’ rather than an Office365 account. When I engage with the Support chatbot, ugh, it keeps sending me to the same wrong link. For the moment, I’ve pulled all the licenses out of the account, and I hope that means it will go through a deletion process on it’s own. This takes about 90 days so that means that my data will hang around in Microsoft Office365 OneDrive for Business and I would really rather not have that. It seems that there are PowerShell commands that might help, but this means that Microsoft are expecting SMEs to have technical administrative skills in this area. The thing with the Cloud is that businesses are expecting the technical pieces to be done for them and for things to be made easy, but when we start to get into the realms of Azure Active Directory and PowerShell (For example), the answer I’ve had from Support previously goes along the lines of ‘we just provide the platform, you provide the domain so it belongs to you so you administer it) and there is no Google-style attitude of fresh helpfulness.

For my day-to-day business, I find that Google Mail has one great feature which makes my day easier; the auto-completion of my sentences. When I use an Office365 account that a customer gives me, I find I’m pressing the tab bar to complete the sentences and there is nothing there. It means I spend less time emailing, and that’s always a good thing. There are other good features but this is a big one for me.

I have also struggled with deleting multiple files and folders from Microsoft OneDrive for Business. It seems that I cannot delete a folder that has items in it, so I have to delete them all individually. Apparently this is a ‘feature’ that they are working on but it is very time consuming to delete Gbs and Gbs of files individually. The best advice I’ve had so far is that there must be a Policy somewhere that is preventing deletion, but I have no Policies set anywhere now. Note that this issue is clearly something that other people are experiencing (here, here ) and no real advice is given other than to contact Support. However, like I said earlier, I have been put off doing that from previous experiences so if anyone has any better ideas other than trying Support, I’d love to hear them. For now, I have pulled all the licenses in the hope that it all dies in 90 days.

In terms of the tenant account, it has been hard to delete because it says I have subscriptions attached, but when I look in the Subscriptions page, there are none there. I have deleted all the external services, but the Office365 ones are still provisioned and I can’t deprovision them anywhere so you can’t delete the account and the tenant. I can cancel Azure subscriptions but I can’t delete them, and since they are still attached to Azure as ‘cancelled subscriptions’, I can’t delete the tenant.

To summarise, it is really bloody hard to delete a tenant in Office365 and the only hope I’ve got is that the removal of licenses and billing plans will delete everything in 90 days. This goes against cloud portability and it is made really hard to do.

I am interested in what GSuite has to offer next and I can see that some information has been leaked online here. So far, I am happy with GSuite and I’m glad I made the shift. My team members originally pushed me towards Google since they found it easier to use, and it’s working for us.

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