Microsoft has launched the Office 365 for business public roadmap, to mass approval from New Zealand partners.
Designed to provide partners with a way to learn more about upcoming updates before the change comes to service, Redmond’s release is focused primarily around communication.
“The most significant change we’re making is in how we communicate updates and provide a forward-looking view of our service plans,” writes Jake Zborowski, group product manager, Office 365.
“We’ve learned a lot from our Yammer team on how customers expect communication in a fast-paced, services world, and we got great feedback from customers like you at the SharePoint and MEC conferences on our transparency for future investments in our business services.
“Building on this, we decided to take the next step and communicate with you in a new way, via a public roadmap, to make sure that as many people as possible know about the exciting improvements we’re bringing to the service.”
According to Microsoft, the roadmap will provide a few months’ view of new features, enhancements, and major updates.
In some cases the tech giant may communicate farther in advance than a few months, says Zborowski, like when the company announced its long-term investments in the new service Codenamed “Oslo” and the Office Graph.
“We will provide visibility to planned updates that are in development and in the process of being rolled out to the service, as well as to items that have been launched and are now generally available for all eligible customers,” he adds.
“The public roadmap will be your best source of truth for product enhancements coming to the service.”
In addition to the public roadmap, Microsoft is also rolling out a new program called First Release.
First Release gives customers who opt-in the opportunity to get a small selection of significant enhancements to the Office 365 user experience, SharePoint Online, and Exchange Online first.
For those who opt-in to First Release, they will receive new qualifying feature updates first, a minimum of two weeks before customers in our standard release group.
Updates to Lync Online, Exchange Online Protection, Office 365 ProPlus, or other related services are not included in the First Release program at this time however.
“By default, all Office 365 customers are part of the standard release group,” adds Zborowski.
“If you’re in this group, you will receive the new feature updates a minimum of two weeks after availability in First Release.
“The vast majority of service updates will be made available to all customers via our standard release processes.”