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Study: Office 365 Expands Lead Over Google G Suite

A new study of cloud productivity application usage suggests Microsoft's Office 365 suite is pulling away from Google's G Suite, even as the overall market expands.

The data comes from proprietary research done by Bitglass Inc., a cloud access security broker based in Campbell, Calif. Bitglass used internally developed technologies to scan more than 120,000 companies to determine what products each organization is using.

It's the third annual release of the Bitglass "Cloud Adoption Report." In 2014, Google had nearly a two-to-one advantage of a much smaller pie, with 16 percent of organizations running the then-Google Apps for Work while just under 8 percent of organizations were running Office 365.

A year ago, Microsoft edged past Google at 25 percent to 23 percent in the study. According to the latest results, Office 365 is in use at 35 percent of organizations, while the G Suite by Google Cloud is in use at 24 percent.

Salim Hafid, product marketing manager at Bitglass, said Microsoft's incumbency advantage appears to be kicking in. "We're seeing large organizations of over 1,000 employees going for Microsoft in droves -- two to one -- over G Suite," he said in an interview. "Microsoft has created a migration path for those customers to move over to Office 365."

Hafid said Bitglass considers usage of the two leading productivity application a good indicator for cloud adoption overall. By that measure, cloud adoption has grown from use by about 24 percent of companies in 2014 to 59 percent in 2016.

Perhaps unsurprisingly given the large organization skew of Office 365's gains in the study, Bitglass also found that companies running Office 365 are far more likely to be using single sign-on (SSO) -- 26 percent of Office 365 companies have SSO compared to 5.5 percent of G Suite companies. "Organizations deploying Office 365 are much more aware of the risks of deploying a cloud app and are actively taking steps to mitigate those risks," Hafid said.

Meanwhile, Bitglass' findings around Slack usage help explain Microsoft's move to match the collaboration app with its own recent release of Microsoft Teams. Bitglass reported that Slack is in use at 33 percent of organizations, although many of those implementations are in the free tier, suggesting they are not necessarily sanctioned by IT yet.

The 9-page, graphics-heavy report is available here (registration required).

Posted by Scott Bekker on November 16, 2016