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Office 365 ProPlus updates

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Today’s post was written by Ron Markezich, corporate vice president for the Office commercial marketing team.

Office 365 ProPlus delivers cloud-connected and always up-to-date versions of our most valuable enterprise apps. Today, we’re making three important announcements related to ProPlus: changes to the Office 365 system requirements; improvements to the ProPlus update model, including alignment with Windows 10; and new tools and programs to manage ProPlus application compatibility.

Changes to the Office 365 system requirements

Office 365 ProPlus is the very best way to experience the Office 365 services. For IT, ProPlus delivers the most secure and most complete suite of productivity apps available. And because the apps are cloud-connected and always up-to-date, they’re continually getting better—with new security features, new telemetry and new management capabilities. For end users, ProPlus brings the Office 365 services to life. When a modern app is connected to a modern service, magic happens. People can collaborate in new ways. Apps can simplify mundane tasks. And advanced security services can protect users as they work.

When customers connect to Office 365 with a legacy version of Office, they’re not enjoying all that the service has to offer. The IT benefits—particularly security—are cut short. And the end user experience in the apps is limited to the features shipped at a point in time. To ensure that customers are getting the most out of their Office 365 subscription, we are updating our system requirements.

  • Office 365 ProPlus or Office perpetual in mainstream support required to connect to Office 365 services. Starting October 13, 2020, Office 365 ProPlus or Office perpetual in mainstream support will be required to connect to Office 365 services. Office 365 ProPlus will deliver the best experience, but for customers who aren’t ready to move to the cloud by 2020, we will also support connections from Office perpetual in mainstream support.
  • Applies to Office 365 commercial services only. This update does not change our system requirements or support policies for the Office perpetual clients, Office perpetual clients connecting to on-premises servers, or any consumer services.
  • More than three years’ notice. We’re providing more than three years’ notice to give IT time to plan and budget for this change. Until this new requirement goes into effect in 2020, Office 2010, Office 2013 and Office 2016 perpetual clients will still be able to connect to Office 365 services.

Visit our Office 365 Tech Community to learn more and to ask the experts your questions.

Improvements to the Office 365 ProPlus update model, including alignment with Windows 10

Moving to Office 365 ProPlus requires an initial upgrade and ongoing management of regular updates. Customers quickly see the benefits of the move, but they’ve also asked us to simplify the update process—and to improve the coordination between Office and Windows. To respond to this feedback, we’re pleased to announce that we will align the Office 365 ProPlus and Windows 10 update model. This change will make planning and managing updates for both Office and Windows easier for customers using the Secure Productive Enterprise.

Targeting September 2017, we will make the following changes to the Office 365 ProPlus update model:

  • Two updates a year. We will reduce the Office 365 ProPlus update cadence from three to two times a year, with semi-annual feature updates to Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus targeted for March and September.
  • 18 months of support. We will extend the support period for Office 365 ProPlus semi-annual updates from 12 to 18 months (starting from first release) so IT professionals can choose to update once or twice a year.
  • System Center Configuration Manager support. System Center Configuration Manager will support this new aligned update model for Office 365 ProPlus and Windows 10, making it easier to deploy and update the two products together.

See the upcoming changes to the Office 365 ProPlus update management article to learn more.

New tools and programs to manage Office 365 ProPlus application compatibility

One of the biggest concerns customers have about the move to a new version of Office is application compatibility. Office add-ins and VBA solutions often play a significant role in key business processes, and application compatibility is an important consideration in both upgrades and updates. To help customers manage ProPlus application compatibility, we’re pleased to announce four new investments.

  • Upgrade assessment tools. Starting today, we’re offering a limited preview of new tools that will catalogue the add-ins and VBA solutions in use in your organization, identify potential issues with the upgrade to Office 365 ProPlus, and recommend steps for remediation.
  • Application compatibility testing. For each new Office 365 ProPlus release, we will perform compatibility testing of the most common third-party add-ins, identify potential issues, and take steps to remediate.
  • Office 365 ProPlus monitoring services. We will provide new services to monitor your ProPlus deployment and provide visibility into the usage and stability of apps and add-ins.
  • Reporting, tracking and resolving issues. We will improve our existing service for reporting, tracking and resolving application compatibility issues—and partner with customers and ISVs to find the best approach to remediation.

You can learn more about the upgrade assessment tools today, and we’ll have more to share on our application compatibility testing program, the new Office 365 ProPlus monitoring services and the new service for reporting, tracking and resolving issues in the coming months.

We are here to help

If you’re connecting to Office 365 with a legacy version of Office, you’re not enjoying all that the service has to offer—and we’re here to help. For more information on Office 365 ProPlus deployment, refer to the Office 365 ProPlus Deployment Guide and the ProPlus Ignite On-Demand sessions. And when you’re ready to make the move to ProPlus, the Microsoft FastTrack customer success service will help you with the details. Visit the FastTrack website to learn more and submit a request for help with planning, assessment and deployment. ProPlus is the very best way to experience the Office 365 services, and we’re committed to helping you upgrade with confidence.

—Ron Markezich

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