One of the many benefits of the cloud is that the new always on always up to date lifecycle means that as customers we are able to take advantage of new features as soon as they are ready, or sometimes even before they are ready, without having to wait for large milestone updates.
This is something that in the consumer space we have come to expect with the proliferation of apps and the always up to date model. This trend really took hold within the Microsoft ecosystem with the launch of Office 365 and since then has expanded out to many facets including how we handle both our productivity software (Microsoft Office) and our desktops (Windows 10).
Business however are by and large, creatures of habit, change is often met with gnashing of teeth and anything that has the perception of causing disruption or not having a defined cadence is met with general disdain.
So how can we solve for what are seemingly items that are at two separate ends of the spectrum. With the modern versions of Windows and Office, Microsoft has put together an approach that helps organizations
- Ensure that there is a predictable cadence to major updates that is well known in advance
- Simplify the delta period between major releases to ensure that during that time it is easier to keep machines up to date
- Provide organizations ample time to evaluate the new versions before they are released
To help meet those goals Windows 10 and Office have adopted an approach where new functionality with semi-annual feature updates. Organizations are able to use these updates for pilot deployment and testing with a broad deployment of the update after four to five months. Every one of these updates is supported for 18 months which gives an organization a predictable cadence for how they plan their update cycles within the organization that give adequate time for line of business application testing. This allows windows deployment to be see as small regular operational deployments compared to the massive undertakings that previous 3-5 year windows release cycles would take.
Along with the semi-annual feature updates. Microsoft has moved from providing several patches each month to a single cumulative rollup that includes all of the months fixes as well as any fixes and security updates that have been releases since the most recent feature update. This makes patching simpler and helps customer to feel confident that their machines more closely match the reference architecture that are tested at Microsoft resulting in less compatibility issues.
These same methodologies apply to Office as well with a consistent cadence for feature releases as well as a more simplified approach to security patches with modern versions
The result is that updating Office and Windows are no longer technologies that an organization rolls out and deploys once every 3,5 or (gasp!) 10 years, but a platform that is being continually refined to ensure that your team is running on the most up to date and secure platform there is.
If your organization is looking to get the most out of your Microsoft investment or are looking to better optimize your operations. Our team at New Signature is able to help you decipher the options available to you and ensure you have a successful deployment