Office 365 ProPlus has moved to a new servicing model with the release of Office 2016. One of the benefits of Office 365 ProPlus is that Microsoft can provide new features for Office apps on a regular basis, through monthly updates. The new servicing model is designed to give IT departments:
- Flexibility in how quickly (or slowly) they want to deploy those new features to their users.
- Time to test those new features with their line-of-business applications, add-ins, and macros.
To do this, Office 365 ProPlus now supports update channels, which are a series of separate releases. Here are the three update channels:
- Current Channel provides users with the newest features of Office as soon as they’re available and is updated monthly.
- Deferred Channel provides users with new features of Office only a few times a year, typically every four months.
- First Release for Deferred Channel provides pilot users and application compatibility testers the opportunity to test the next Deferred Channel several months in advance.
The update channels also receive security updates and other updates, such as hotfixes, on a regular basis.
Here is how the channels work over time.
NOTE: Visio Pro for Office 365 and Project Pro for Office 365 also use this new servicing model.
If you are an Office 365 administrator, you should take a look at these resources for the details:
- Overview of update channels for Office 365 ProPlus
- Change management for Office 365 clients (includes a 3-minute video of how it works)
Also, take a look at the new Change Management for Office 365 Clients model.
Download this visual guide in:
You can easily print the six pages of this model on 11 x 17 paper and hang it on your wall for easy access.
Samantha Robertson and Dan Brown of Microsoft presented this at the September 2015 SAB webinar and are in the process of making changes based on your feedback. Thanks!