|We have learned a lot on how customers expect communications in a fast-paced, services world. We got great feedback from customers on our transparency for future investments in our business services. Building on this, we have decided to take the next step and communicate with you in a new way, via a public roadmap, to make sure that many people as possible know about the exciting improvements we are bringing to the service.
The most significant change that we are making is how we communicate updates and provide a forward-focused view of our service plans. The Office 365 for business public roadmap provides you with a way to learn about upcoming updates before the change comes to your service. This will be your best source of updates for product enhancements coming to the service.
Just as we transformed our development processes, we have transformed our communication processes regarding changes and future updates. In addition to the public roadmap, we are also rolling out a new program called First Release. First Release gives customers who opt into the program to get a small selection of significant enhancements to the Office 365 user experience, SharePoint Online, and Exchange Online first. If you opt-in to First Release, you will receive new qualifying feature updates first, a minimum of two weeks before customers in our standard release group.
By default, all Office 365 customers are part of the standard release group. If you’re in this group, you will receive the new feature updates a minimum of two weeks after availability in First Release. The vast majority of service updates will be made available to all customers via our standard release processes.
Updates to Lync Online, Exchange Online Protection, Office 365 ProPlus, or other related services are not included in the First Release program at this time.
Read more on the blog announcement here.