The corporate subscribers to Office 365, Office 365 ProPlus will now have an upgraded Office 365 every six months, just like Windows 10- according to the sources. This can be seen as an alignment with Windows 10. Microsoft outlined how it plans to deliver and support ProPlus, starting in September.
In this post we’ve listed Microsoft’s description to the most important questions and there answers.
Question:What’s the new schedule for Office updates? It is March and September, annually, like Windows 10?
Answer:Rather than issue Office feature updates three times a year — in February, June and October — the cadence since Office 2016’s launch in the fall of 2015 — Microsoft is slowing the tempo to twice yearly.
With this announcement, Microsoft seeks to have the customer feedback.
As per Ron Markezich, a Microsoft marketing executive, Customers also asked them to simplify the update process — and to improve the coordination between Office and Windows and this announcement will truly be a matter of delight for them.
Microsoft, with this announcement aims at promoting “Secure Productive Enterprise” (SPE), a subscription program that combines Windows 10 Enterprise, Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility + Security.Because SPE bundled both Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus, subscribers had to deal with two different upgrade tempos.
“This change will make planning and managing updates for both Office and Windows easier for customers using the Secure Productive Enterprise,” Markezich, the Microsoft marketing exec, said.
Customers told Microsoft it needed to synchronize the Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus release schedules if it wanted to sell SPE.
Question:What else changed besides the schedule?
Microsoft extended support from 12 months per update to 18 months, an increase of 50%. The additional six months means IT professionals can choose to update once or twice a year.
The support extension matched that of Windows 10, which has also settled on 18 months, more proof of a link, at least in Microsoft’s mind, between Windows 10 and Office 365.
As Windows 10 and the latest version of Office 365 Pro Plus, based on Office www.office.com/setup 2016, were lurching toward launch, Microsoft laid out a three-times-a-year release schedule and pledged 12 months of support for both revenue pillars. Because Windows 10 was first in the queue, its release calendar and support lifecycle was revealed first, followed by Pro Plus.
Question:What are the other changes in Office 365?
Answer:Microsoft also changed the terminology it uses, and expects customers to understand, for the multiple Office 365 ProPlus release “tracks.”
The twice-a-year feature updates will be named Semi-annual Channel (Pilot) and Semi-annual Channel (Broad), each describing how Microsoft envisions them being deployed in the enterprise. Most people will probably refer to them as simply “Pilot” and “Broad,” the latter representing deployment throughout an organization.
This is the third round of names Microsoft’s hung on the faster release schedule. The original labeling used Windows 10’s “Current Branch” and “Current Branch for Business” starting in the fall of 2015; Microsoft ditched that for the “Channel” terminology in 2016.
Question: When will Microsoft release the first Office 365 ProPlus upgrade under the new schedule?
Answer:The company said the Pilot channel will ship Sept. 12, Four months later -on Jan. 9, 2018. The second release will bring a new Pilot to customers March 13, 2018, a new Broad on July 10, 2018.
Question: Can Microsoft skip aProPlus features upgrade?
Answer:Yes they do, but you will have to hustle to get onto a supported version before the one you’re on falls off the list.
If your firm deployed the Broad channel in January 2018, then decided to skip the July 2018 upgrade, you would have to deploy the next ProPlus in the two-month span between Jan. 8, 2019 and March 12, 2019. In other words, after the January 2019 Broad releases and before the January 2018 Broad drops off the support list at the end of its 18 months.)
Question:According to the previous Office 365 ProPlus schedule, an upgrade is due in June. What happens to that under the new scheme?
Answer:“Office still plans to release a new Deferred Channel and First Release for Deferred Channel on June 13, 2017,” Microsoft said in an extended support document.
That means current Office 365 subscribers will have just three months, rather than the usual four, to conduct enterprise pilots and validate applications with June’s “First Release for Deferred Channel” release before the final “Deferred Channel” release appears Sept. 12.
Note: The first Semi-annual Channel (Broad) doesn’t release until January 2018.
That last Deferred Channel will be supported until July 10, 2018, Microsoft said.
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