Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus Updates Mean Less Admin Stress
The rapid-deployment Office 365 plan will soon gain controls that allow administrators to defer feature updates and a tool for limiting their impact on their networks.Office 365 ProPlus customers will soon have more control over the productivity suite's impact on IT operations. ProPlus is similar to other Microsoft Office 365 plans, but differs in how Office applications are deployed. "Office 365 ProPlus uses a technology called Click-to-Run to install Office. It provides a faster installation, so users can be up and running [with] Office 365 ProPlus in a matter of minutes," according to an online support document. It installs Office as a single package, although administrators can pick and choose which applications to include. "When we released Office 365 ProPlus, we focused on reducing the burden of traditional software deployment by making Office deployment fast and easy, so it's always up-to-date, just like you expect from a cloud service. At the same time, we were very conscious to ensure this new deployment model would not impact app integration, Office customization and IT control that businesses rely on to do their best work," wrote Microsoft's Amesh Mansukhani, an Office 365 ProPlus senior technical product manager, and Alistair Speirs, senior operations program manager for Office 365 deployment, in a corporate blog post teasing some of the changes the company will be showcasing at the Ignite conference in May. Acknowledging that Microsoft's new accelerated software update cadence may have unwelcome effects on the systems that organizations rely upon to conduct business, the company is rolling out new management controls that essentially help administrators pump the brakes on feature updates.
"We understand there is a need to reduce the number of feature enhancements on certain devices, especially for those being used for critical line-of-business solutions," stated Mansukhani and Speirs. "For those devices, we are introducing the ability to receive feature updates no more than three times per year. In between these cycles, we will continue to provide security updates."