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Microsoft has today introduced several new capabilities that will come to Office 365 ProPlus. However, customers will have to wait three years for some of the changes to be made. The company says some of the changes will not be implemented until 2020. Others are pencilled in to arrive later this year.

In its announcement, Microsoft says it is moving Office 365 ProPlus to two major updates per year. Previously the company would roll out updates three times a year.

However, IT managers can choose to update once or twice per year. This is possible because Microsoft is changing Office 365 ProPlus semi-annual updates from 12 to 18 months.

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System Center Configuration Manager will also employ the semi-annual feature, alongside Windows 10. Microsoft says this allows customers to deploy and update both services together. All of the changes mentioned will come into action from September 2017.

Microsoft has also changed the system requirements needed to have Office 365 ProPlus. The company says that Office 365 ProPlus or Office will be needed to connect to Office 365 services. However, this requirement will not come into effect until 2020.

This is part of Microsoft’s continued desire to move its core services to the cloud. In its announcement, the company says it is giving three years notice for IT admins to plan their budgets for the change.

New Tools

Microsoft says its customers are often worried about application compatibility when moving to new versions. The company has announced the following tools to help customer manage compatibility across apps:

  • 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.
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