New update options for businesses using Microsoft 365

June 16, 2020

In this post:

–   Office 365 rebranded as Microsoft 365.

–   New Monthly Enterprise update channel available now.

–   Other update channels rolling out 9th June.

Microsoft, who recently rebranded Office 365 to Microsoft 365 (more on that below), have also now changed their update channels for businesses using the software package.

The biggest change to the subscription office suite is the addition of a fixed Monthly Enterprise Channel. This will allow companies to plan the deployments and limit disruption whilst also getting the latest from Microsoft.

For a long time, Microsoft has been moving people in the direction of their monthly subscription model over the standalone package of their office suite.

It certainly has its benefits: regular updates, security fixes, constant support and of course being able to spread out the cost.

But whilst having updates is great, it can also be a nuisance for many enterprises. Updates coming in sporadically and creating extra tasks for IT and admin to perform is no good for businesses who want to plan ahead and keep downtime to a minimum.

Recognising this, Microsoft have always offered different update channels to choose from, the main ones being the original ‘monthly channel’ which actually just sent out updates as and when they were available; and ‘semi-annual’ which delivered them on a twice-yearly basis.

The latter is what a lot of businesses opted for as the least disruptive option. The only downside is not getting the latest tools and features as quickly as Microsoft would like.

The new channels

Now they’ve released a new update channel; the new ‘Monthly Enterprise Channel’.

This channel goes out on a set date every month – the second Tuesday of the month – and will package together all new features, updates, security patches and more.

Businesses can plan this into their schedule and get all the latest stuff from Microsoft within a month of it being released.

They are also keeping the original update channels as options but are renaming them. You can still get the Semi-Annual Channel except it is now called the Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel. Obviously…

The old ‘monthly’ channel has been renamed ‘Current’ which kind of speaks for itself. This is great for companies who want to get stuff straight away and can cope with unpredictable releases.

However, we can understand why most companies wouldn’t want this. Updating PC’s for even a small to medium sized business is a lot simpler through the cloud but it’s still disruptive.

Microsoft’s hope is that this fixed recurring update channel makes their monthly subscription model even more appealing.

Support for updates from these channels will last for as much as 14 months for the Semi-Annual Channel and 1 month for the Monthly Enterprise Channel. This new option is available to deploy now whereas the other updated channels with the new names will be available on 9th June.

Microsoft 365 name change

As for the slightly confusing name change from Office 365, the product has largely stayed the same but there are some potential reasons why they have decided to go for this rebrand.

Apart from the Windows operating system, the Office suite is their main product and pulling it under the banner of Microsoft suggests that in the future they may pull everything under that monthly subscription model.

Including Windows itself. Some may find this frustrating but it could have some benefits. For one, the cost of the operating system would be spread over the course of the subscription and may mean that the actual PC’s themselves would take this added cost off the top end.

It also heads towards a model where everything is provided through the cloud. This means less servers onsite and all support easily provided offsite.

For now, though Microsoft 365 is everything you’d expect to get from Office including Word, Excel, Teams, Sharepoint and more. 

If you want more information about implementing Microsoft 365 into your business, be sure to get in touch with us.

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