Inside Microsoft and Google Cloud’s battle for the enterprise

The competitive landscape is heating up. As Google Cloud aggressively approaches enterprises to get a foot in the door, Microsoft is going to great lengths to keep them out.

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Microsoft wisely created the Office 365 F1 and Microsoft 365 F1 (Firstline Worker) plans to provide a digital tool or cloud offering with functionality mapped to the typical needs of these types of deskless workers. This is meant to foster culture, collaboration, and technology at a much lower cost per user and at a price point that aligns more closely with the expected value – or at least doesn’t prevent the conversation around expanded cloud adoption from taking place. It is important to note that O365 F1 was simply a rebranding and renaming of the previous O365 K1 (Kiosk) offering.

Ultimately, Microsoft focused on an enterprise’s deskless worker community and created tailored offerings in order to gain adoption of its cloud throughout the entire organization, not just parts of it. Complete adoption and use makes it even harder, if not impossible, to exit down the road (a.k.a., vendor lock-in). This also provides Microsoft with an even larger base of users with evolving and different needs that will provide increased upsell opportunities over the life of the relationship.

Microsoft also understands that Google Cloud has a real opportunity to gain adoption and an initial entry point in enterprises through the deskless workforce. Even though Google Cloud does not yet have a productivity solution or G-Suite plan specifically dedicated to deskless workers like Microsoft does, it is safe to say that it is only a matter of time until they do. It is also only a matter of time until they increase their sales and marketing efforts tied to why their already existing G Suite offerings are the best solution for an enterprise’s deskless workers. If Microsoft is able to get enterprises to adopt O365 F1 or Microsoft 365 F1, it creates an even greater barrier to entry for Google Cloud and their G-Suite offering.

Google Cloud is already aggressively pushing G Suite as a viable alternative for retailers to consider for their deskless workers on the shop floor. Google Cloud is positioning the fact that many of these workers will most likely already have experience with G Suite and therefore can be productively using it quickly, which is always appealing. Google Cloud also knows that Microsoft may have already gotten knowledge worker O365 adoption, but they still have a chance of getting in the door through firstline workers, mapping to their particular needs and requirements.

If enterprises are deciding to give these workers tools for the first time, why not consider Google G Suite? That is the pitch that many enterprises are hearing right now. With two potential access points (GCP and G Suite), retailers should expect to be approached by Google Cloud’s enterprise sales team if they haven’t already been. Google knows GCP is another entry point of focus with retailers. After all, which retailer is going to give significant revenue to Amazon?

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Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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