Microsoft Revamps Office 365 Client App Update Model
Microsoft replaces its Office 365 software "Branches" with "Channels" to help enterprises better plan their deployments.Hoping to add clarity to the Office client app update model, Microsoft introduced a new Deferred Channel build Feb. 9. "The Deferred Channel allows organizations to choose an update schedule that reduces the frequency of feature changes for the Windows desktop apps, enabling IT admins and developers to have more time between releases to validate Office against their line-of-business applications, add-ins and macros," said Amesh Mansukhani, senior program manager for Microsoft Office, in a Feb. 9 announcement. Deferred Channel replaces the Current Branch for Business introduced in September as the company began gearing up for the Office 365 for Windows rollout. In fact, all "Branches" are now considered "Channels," according to Mansukhani. More than a mere exercise in rebranding, he said Microsoft feels the change "will make a big difference in helping customers understand the purpose and cadence of the different delivery vehicles." In the past, Office upgrades generally arrived in service packs or major new releases, which were few and far between compared with Microsoft's new cloud cadence strategy. By adjusting its Office update model, the software giant is attempting to reduce the friction caused by this accelerated approach to software enhancements.
"We recognize that deploying and validating Office updates has sometimes been time consuming for IT admins. We believe the enhancements we have made since the launch of Office 2016 will help reduce the overall validation process, making it quicker to get these builds into your users' hands," Mansukhani said.