Keeping up with Office 365: A guide to staying up to date with new Office 365 features and updates
So, you’ve migrated to Office 365. You’ve moved email, you’re using Teams and SharePoint online to collaborate on documents and you’re storing your files in OneDrive, everything is great. One thing that you may not have considered is how you no longer have very much control when it comes to upgrades, patching and the rollout of new features. Microsoft manages this from behind the scenes and because of that, you could miss out on powerful new features or smaller changes that could impact how you’re already using Office 365. If you’re involved in the management and governance of Office 365 then you’re going to want to stay in the know on all the latest features and changes. The resources below are a good starting point of official Microsoft resources and individuals to help you.
Admin Message Center:
This one is for admins only, but it’s a great place to keep up with feature rollouts, service outages and requests for action within Office 365. Messages are specific to your tenant. Message Center content is only available to Office 365 admins and some other service admins (e.g., SharePoint Online, Exchange Online) and there is no public listing of the messages going out by tenant or data center. Notifications are also available through the iOS and Android apps.
To access the message center simply log into the Office 365 portal, click Admin and then look for the Message Center block on your home page.
Official Office 365 Roadmap
This is a great place to find out about what’s new, what’s coming soon and what Microsoft might be considering for future updates to Office 365. The Roadmap can be filtered by features and services and is updated frequently. Its content is useful for inclusion in an organization’s strategic and governance planning for Office 365. Beware: delivery dates are generally only accurate to the level of a calendar year quarter (range of three months).
Microsoft Tech Community
A combination of blogs and discussion forum, all of which are organized and separated by Office 365 app or service. Tech Community announcements generally fill the details gap in the Office Blogs and provide interaction with the more technical authors. Discussion forums are available for help, guidance, and technical support, made possible through community interaction between Microsoft representatives, Microsoft MVPs, topic experts, and users across the globe.
Official Office Blogs
You can find major, big-picture announcements on Office blogs. Generally written by high-level VPs at Microsoft, this blog will announce new applications, major integration upgrades, or reshuffling of services (e.g., introduction of Microsoft 365). Content will be less detailed and less technical than the Tech Community, though this can be helpful when a digestible version of upcoming changes is needed for upper management or the C-suite.
Official Microsoft YouTube Channels
Microsoft has a variety of YouTube Channels to cover their entire range of products, but two stand-out for keeping up with changes and features to Office 365.
First up we have the Office 365 channel. This channel covers a variety of topics related to office 365. Below we’ve included a link to the full channel as well as a link directly to the “New in Office 365” playlist, that will show you what’s happening around the current updates.
Microsoft Office 365 Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCc3pNIRzIZ8ynI38GO6H01Q
New in Office 365: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXPr7gfUMmKwn422HmCx7b7D5qh9T6frb
Next, we have the Microsoft Mechanics channel. This is a YouTube show my Microsoft for tech enthusiasts and admins, but their Office channel is a great source for deep information on new features in the Office 365 ecosystem.
Microsoft Mechanics Office Playlist:
We hope you find this Tip of the Month helpful. If you need assistance with migrating to Office 365 or managing the ever-changing cloud ecosystem, Abel Solutions is here to help.
This tip written by Abel Solutions IT Services Manager, Jason Casteel.