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Office 365 Roadmap: Know What’s Coming

It’s been almost a year since Microsoft published Improving Visibility to Service Updates, but few business customers are aware of the informative Office 365 Roadmap. PCWorld quickly followed with Office 365 Here’s What’s Coming and InformationWeek added Microsoft Reveals Office 365 Public Roadmap. However, nothing has been mentioned since by the press about the unprecedented speed of new features offered or the frequent open communication. For example, neither Apple or Google publish a public roadmap on any product. As of April 2015, Apple doesn’t even have an official blog.

In the last 5 years, Microsoft has revamped its development process to deploy an average of 3 dozen new features for Office 365 per year. All of these updates are free, but many customers are unaware they exist or surprised by the updates. Here are the main 3 things to know:

1. First and Standard Release

As they come available, Office 365 provides product updates like new email features, more site storage, and new collaboration features. You can decide when to receive the updates by opting in to the First Release program or remaining on the Standard Release program (which is the default of three weeks later).   For significant service updates, you will be first notified by the Office 365 Blog and subsequently the anticipated public rollout dates are announced on the Office 365 Message Center. To turn on First Release, follow these steps:

Sign in to Office 365 and then go to Office 365 admin center > Service settings > Updates > First Release on

Office 365 Release Timeline

 2. Hidden Gems for Productivity

There are currently 22 new updates rolling out and these are some of both the most powerful and also unknown: Delve, Clutter, Skype for Business, and Office 365 Video. Delve helps you see at-a-glance the content that you and your colleagues have created. Clutter automatically moves low priority e-mail to a Clutter folder, so you can focus on important messages. Lync is updated to Skype for Business to be the preferred choice consumers and offer enhanced communications for organizations. Office 365 Video may well be the business competitor to YouTube offering a convenient way to share videos internally and directly with customers. Learn more in the following videos:

3. Keeps Getting Better

Microsoft’s differentiation in the cloud is productivity and security, while continually improving and updating features. Google’s approach is a simple utility, often lagging and silent about updates and competitive features. Apple is nearly 10 years behind in security and cloud having recently started iWork. Many of the features in development provide unprecedented value for customers that competitors may deem unfeasible to match:

  •  AzureAD sync for Yammer – Allowing organizations secure control by user and group of what can be shared internally and externally.
  • Data Loss Prevention for SharePoint Online – Over 50 sensitive information types provided to ensure regulation compliance for file sharing.
  • ExpressRoute for Office 365 – Establish a private managed connection between your network and Microsoft datacenters for premium performance with a single provider.
  • Increase Message Size Limit to 150MB – Most competing services currently limit file attachments to just 10MB or 20MB.
  • Unlimited Storage for OneDrive for Business – Moving forward, all Office 365 customers will get unlimited OneDrive storage at no additional cost. Google Apps only provides 30GB per user.

Now you’ve learned about a new resource to keep current, as well as some new tools to help your daily life. Take a few minutes and explore some of these features, follow our blog for the latest in streamlining technology, and test drive Office 365 if you’re not on the cloud.

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