New research today from cloud security vendor Bitglass shows enterprise adoption of Microsoft Office 365 grew more than 300 percent in the past 12 months.

About 25.2 percent of enterprises  — up from 7.7 percent last year — are now using Office 365, according to a Bitglass analysis of real world traffic across 120,000 global organizations. At the same time, Google has grown enterprise adoption of its Apps to 22.8 percent from 16.3 percent last year.

Office 365 has also taken the lead in hosted email, pushing ahead of Google since last year’s edition of the Bitglass Cloud Adoption report.

Strong Competitors

This is the third report in the past month that looks to assess how deeply Office 365 has penetrated the enterprise.

Late last month, Skyhigh estimated that nearly nine out of 10 enterprises — 87.3 percent — are using Office 365. And report last week from Okta showed Office 365 is the granddaddy of all business enterprise apps.

The Bitglass report dovetails with these findings, and also shows Google is still a strong opponent.

“Let’s be clear about this. The growth rate in the last year has been overwhelmingly in Microsoft’s favor. But across the board, 23 percent of organizations still have Google Apps. It’s not like Google is a big loser here,” Rich Campagna, VP of Products at Bitglass, told CMSWire. "They are pretty much neck and neck."

The difference, he explained, is that Google lacks the large resellers that Microsoft has to push adoption. "It’s a product on its own minus the breadth and push Microsoft has made," he added.

3 Other Findings

In addition to Microsoft's gains, the report includes three other key findings:

Enterprise Cloud Movements

Overall adoption of cloud-based email in organizations with more than 1,000 employees rose from 18 percent to 57 percent. Organizations with fewer than 500 employees nearly doubled from 24 percent to 44 percent during the last year.

“Email apps are being moved fairly aggressively to the cloud. But most organizations are hesitant about moving other apps en masse to file sharing apps like Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive," Campagna said.

Regulated Industries

In regulated verticals, organizations with more than 1,000 employees are showing increasing interest in cloud apps like Office 365 and Google Apps. Since 2014, Google Apps has shown a 200 percent increase in deployments and Office 365 has shown a 500 percent increase in deployments.

“Cloud vendors have done a pretty good job of not only building out their [compliance] capabilities and getting them right. But they have done a good job of marketing [the cloud],” Campagna said.

Geographic Adoption

Two regions — Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia-Pacific — outpace North America in cloud adoption. Globally, large enterprises in EMEA (59 percent) and APAC (61 percent) have adopted the major cloud suites more aggressively than their North American (48 percent) counterparts. 

Finland is leading the way at nearly 80 percent adoption. In fact, in Finland, 78 percent of enterprises are using Google or Microsoft.

“Certain countries are far more aggressively adopting cloud applications than others," Campagna said. “The laggards are the ones that you expect, like Germany, that have very strict privacy and data residency laws.”

Behind The Growth

Why is Office 365 doing so well? According to Campagna, there are three reasons:

  1. Microsoft's massively successful marketing and sales drive
  2. Many of these enterprises are coming to natural end of their on-premises contract cycle and Microsoft is making it almost irresistible to move to Office 365 from the on-premises productivity applications
  3. Microsoft has been able to build the Office 365 business on the back of a very long history in the enterprise. Microsoft Office was first unveiled in August 1988.

"If you are moving to the cloud, it is far less disruptive to move to Office 365 than to move to Google Apps,” Campagna said.

“If you are a 25,000 seat organization and considering moving form Word and Outlook to Google Apps, that’s a fairly disruptive change for people and requires a lot of retraining, a lot of migration of documents to different formats, and it’s very tough to do that. You really have to be committed to Google apps whereas Office 365 is almost a default choice with very few bumps in the road.”