Microsoft, Cisco or Google Cloud? Which is better for your business’ collaboration needs?

This is a question we are starting to be asked more and more, and it is not really a surprise. Enterprise businesses are strategising to move services to the cloud, and collaboration is a factor of that; but that is part of the problem, it is only one element of the overall picture. It is an overall picture that is very complicated.

When you consider the cloud Microsoft and Cisco offer (we will come back to Google in a bit), there is a fundamental difference, and it is this difference that might make you lean one way or the other.

Microsoft with Office365 (Skype for Business and Teams provided as their collaboration part of that cloud), offers a cloud that has been built on a productivity tool set. When you think about it, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher etc, are all tools designed to help you achieve a specific goal or series of tasks, whether that is in your business or in your day to day life. Lync aka Microsoft Skype for Business and Teams, have been later additions to this tool set. We would argue that they were added to Microsoft Office with productivity through collaboration in mind and not collaborating to improve productivity. Perhaps this is a mindset that has changed in Microsoft? Time will tell.

Cisco on the other hand are a technology provider, and have built their cloud on collaboration, consistently striving to improve quality, security, ease of use and the overall experience. We are not saying that Microsoft does not have this in mind when looking at the evolution of Teams, but we think it is fair to say that in quality terms, Cisco are a long way ahead. Webex has been around since 1995 and was designed to increase productivity through collaboration.

Now Cisco have a whole suite of Webex services including Webex Teams where users can carry out all of the necessary business functions – video, audio, persistent chat, file share etc to further improve productivity through collaboration. However, Cisco do not have the tools to be productive outside of the Webex environment, and as such you will have to move away from Cisco.

What about Google? Well Google, and not just Google, we should include Amazon and to some extent Facebook and probably a few others, are entering the business space with their combination of collaboration and productivity tools to try and take chunks of Microsoft’s market share away. Google have of course had a cloud productivity suite for over 10 years (first beta launch was in 2006), and are now combining that with Hangouts to replicate Microsoft. Google’s G Suite offering is a much improved, better looking version of the B2C Hangouts offering with much of the expected functionality that we spoke about earlier with Webex Teams. G Suite is certainly popular amongst the start-ups and young companies, but Google must earn the trust of the larger enterprise businesses before it can take significant market share.

The big question must be asked by every business right at stage one. ‘What is more important to us as a business, productivity or collaboration?’

There are options, and certainly Microsoft and Google are seemingly blending the two factors of productivity and collaboration together, whilst Cisco still have the expertise and have gained the trust in the enterprise space around collaboration. One day soon, you will be able to have both… we hope.

In the meantime, as collaboration experts we are not here to tell you which service you should migrate to, however we can help you with your collaboration strategy, and help you answer some of those important questions. Videocall have a service that will integrate the collaboration worlds of the major players, allowing users to combine Cisco collaboration technology with Microsoft collaboration technology, without changing experience, workflows, ease of use, quality or security. This service can remove one of the factors in the decision, and can reduce requirement to ‘rip and replace’ technology to ensure it all works.

If you would like to talk to Videocall about collaboration clouds, and integration and interoperability of services, then we would also like to talk to you. Even if you are still early on in the decision process, have a chat with one of our experts and leverage advice on what other companies in your situation have done or are doing. Contact us from the website, email us at or call us on +44 (0)1276 706706.