Migrate O365 to Google Workspace


We’re moving our organisation from O365 to Google Workspace. We have just under 20 users.

Has anyone done this recently who can anyone recommend a migration path/solution?

Your help is much appreciated!

My previous company moved email only from a company server to GW around 5 years ago. I did some testing before I retired but I think they used a local consultant for the actual move.


Would you be willing to share some background on this? In my experiences, the trend is to go the other way.

We are a small charity. One full time, one part time and a whole lot of volunteers. We have been with ms for about 8 years. Prior to that we were on gsuite.

Gsuite was easy to manage. O365 has been a nightmare. Too many settings in too many places from the Admin panel to the Azure system. We do not have a full time IT manager and have realised that this is what O365 needs no matter how small your organisation.

Our needs are modest. Email, calendar and some document sharing as well as online meetings. Google Workspace can more than handle that.

Add to that that MS Apps are a mess. Teams seems to be a whole different system and comes across as a silo. The apps take significant resources on desktop. I can’t run a teams meeting with people in Asia as they simply cannot connect. No problem with Zoom, Facetime, Whatsapp or Signal.

In the end we realised that a data audit was becoming increasingly difficult and decided it is time to move.


As a word of caution, I also work for a small UK charity (hello!) and we would love to go back the other way (GSuite to Microsoft). Managing permissions in Google is a nightmare, there are SO MANY menu options and varying permissions, and we’ve had many instances where we think we’ve altered a setting only to realise it only affected certain users or didn’t do what we anticipated. I understand why such specific detail is needed, especially for big workforces, but it does not make things easy for managing a workspace, especially if you are without dedicated resource to manage it.

There’s also an issue of working with freelancers and cross-compatibility with apps, which will depend on the kind of work you do. Freelancers, for example, have to have Google account (that’s a Google-imposed limitation). (Managing access for non-organisation logins is a whole separate problem of its own, but requiring a Google account is the minimum needed for this.) Google apps are largely poor cousins of Microsoft equivalents, but depending on what you need them for are probably serviceable. As examples:

  • Google Docs handles footnotes and endnotes poorly. If you write a lot of reports with citations you’re going to want to be in Microsoft Word, especially if you’re designing up and need to move writing to InDesign at some point in production.

  • Google Sheets does not have all the functionality of Excel. Your finance person (if you have one) will probably still want Excel.

  • Google Slides has weird quirks that potentially render it useless for some uses. For example, we can’t use it at all because you can’t install custom non-Google fonts which means we can’t produce slides with our own branding. Uploading PowerPoint presentations to GDrive and opening them converts all fonts to the Google default, overwriting the original file (it can’t be undone), which is an administrative headache.

  • Google Meet can be frustrating. Multiple Mac users in my team (including me) have had issues with it pushing the fan to run on full during calls, and had problems with Google Meet not connecting to the right external audio equipment. Screen sharing seems to baffle some non-techy users (not sure why that is as it is obvious to me, but Zoom doesn’t prompt the same fumbling during calls). Since we were still having to run Zoom for external meetings, we’ve now stopped use of Google Meet entirely.

Because of the above and various other issues, we are now in the annoying situation where Google is our default, but are also managing Microsoft licenses for several staff due to business needs. I don’t see us remedying that any time soon.

Having said all of that, if these don’t seem like issues for you, we had a UK-based Google consultant on a retainer who dealt with issues as they arose. As we’ve grown beyond a couple of employees this was no longer feasible and we have had to seek outsourced IT support. One of the questions during the interviews was around managing issues like those I’ve mentioned above, and the flippant first answer was always “well we don’t recommend you use Google” :roll_eyes: (The IT providers we interviewed all support it, they just don’t recommend it to clients.)

One huge plus for Google that shouldn’t be overlooked is the ability to use Google logins with other apps. We run various other apps across staff and volunteers (e.g. Slack, Trello, Zoom) and keeping logins to a minimum was definitely desirable.

I’m not convinced any business suite is perfect. My ideal set up for my own employer would be Microsoft apps with GDrive’s file management (I think Google outshines SharePoint here).

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I’ve done both and in prefer Google Workspace over M365. I really dislike Microsoft’s business practices in the enterprise and am happy with recent court decisions in the EU on bundling and Teams. Hoping those rulings make it to US. (Customers simply need to know how much they’re paying so they can make informed decisions)

I find managing identity policy and user permissions on both platforms to be cumbersome. However, M365 seems to be more challenging. 3rd party app integration is a little easier on Google to me, but wish both platforms had more granular control in terms of access to data. If you’re using other office/productivity software outside of the M365 ecosystem IMO using Google is much easier and a cleaner experience.

Can’t comment on specifics on interoperability between Word/Excel/etc and Google Workspace but do know that it is much better than it used to be. Also prefer integration/automation via API on the Google platform.

@svsmailus I personally think from the sounds of it that your team is better off in Google Workspace, but as with most things in tech it depends…

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