How to stay up to date in regards of Office 365 changes from a business point of view

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MVP

One of my customers asked yesterday an interesting question: Is there any document / place where I can stay up to date in regards of Office 365 but from a business point of view? Obviously, the Office 365 Roadamp is not what my customer is looking for..he is looking for a kind of resource where he can watch from time to time what's coming to Office 365 and the business value...any ideas cc @Brian Levenson @Dean Gross @Tony Redmond @Vasil Michev

41 Replies
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Unfortunately, some issues exist in using blogs.office.com as a source of authentic knowledge.

 

First, it's a marketing forum. It can take months afterwards for something described to appear in the service and when it does, the functionality might differ (because it has been tested and changed in First Release).

 

Second, there's no filtering on blogs.office.com to break down functionality for a specific tenant. You have to know what plans you have and then interpret the content to understand whether you will get the described functionality.

 

Third, it's marketing... But I said that before.

 

The only authorititive source of what's coming is the Office 365 Message Center for a tenant because the items that appear there are filtered for the tenant and are close to appearance. 

 

The roadmap is good as a heads-up mechanism, but suffers because some things are on the roadmap for months (even years, it might seem) without appearing. Recovery of deleted groups is an example - this received major attention at the Ignite conference in September 2016 and now, six months later, we still wait.

 

So it's a problematic question to answer.... One that I spend a lot of time considering because knowing when new stuff arrives is ultra-important for the Office 365 for IT Pros ebook team...

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Have you seen https://docs.com/jim-naroski/6956/office-365-update-series, these are 10-15 minute long videos along with  a text transcription file that can be used for customizing communications.

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Thanks Dean, interesting resource I was not aware of!! Tony, I mentioned your book to my customer, but then he said he is not a technical guy and he needs something more business oriented ^-^
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I'm not a technical guy either...  At least, not at the same level as some of the folks who hang around here...


@Juan Carlos González Martín wrote:
Thanks Dean, interesting resource I was not aware of!! Tony, I mentioned your book to my customer, but then he said he is not a technical guy and he needs something more business oriented ^-^

 

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Your humility is refreshing, we could use some of that in our countries political leadership :)
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I always forget about that resource, and it does not seem to be advertised very well.

It gets shown at the beginning of each O365 User Group meeting in Charlotte NC so it was fresh in my head :)
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I tend to stay well away from politics, especially in other countries where I don't understand the subtle nuances. [Question to self: are there subtle nuances in today's politics - to debate later]

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It is the same content (i.e. Jim Narosky's Office 365 Update Series) of the link I posted above.

I think the official link is the one I posted.

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I miss the good old O365 community wiki that had a nice list. But I dont see anyone mentioning the blog @Thomas C. Finney is keeping on the subject: https://aka.ms/o365-planned-service-changes-2017

 

Not the Admin related stuff though, but the weekly Digests: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/skywriter/

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Thanks Vasil for remembering me this source :-)...and Susan, I have already taken into account your site ;)
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@Vasil Michev - Many thanks for the mention and references to my blog!  :)

 

The goal of the digest from the very beginning in 2014 (even before it was a blog) is my attempt to help customers keep up with the rapid release nature of Office 365 and consolidate content from all the various information sources...i.e. trying to be a "one-stop shop" for what is happening in Office 365. 

 

I'm so glad to hear that it is proving useful to the community!

 

Thanks again,

Thomas

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I think you've all hit on the topics I would have mentioned (except politics, good job working that in), and here's how I think about them:

Office Blog (blogs.office.com)

Office 365 newspaper used for announcements and other media/marketing type stories. Business focused and less technical in nature. It's really not a change management tool but a vision resource to share direction and success stories.

Intended audience: CxOs, Business Decision Makers, IT Decision Makers, Power Users, Media

 

Tech Community Blogs

Discussion topics, thought pieces, and technical descriptions of new capabilities. Ranges from announcements of smaller features to deep dives and how-tos. Good way to stay up to date but also not a change management tool.

Intended audience: IT Pros, Power Users

 

Office 365 Roadmap (roadmap.office.com)

Detailed list of features and functionality that are in development and released. Great way for IT Pros to identify whether needed features and capabilities are being addressed by Office 365 teams.

Intended audience: IT Pros, Power Users

 

Office 365 Message Center (in Admin Center)

Direct to admin communications relevant to specific tenant with information on new features and capabilities, as well as when action is required. This is the primary change management tool for IT Pros.

Intended audience: IT Pros / Tenant Admins

 

All of these channels funnel into outputs such as the video series shared below, Microsoft Mechanics, Microsoft Virtual Academy, and other resources. Based on the context of this question - business team wanting to understand existing or upcoming capabilities in a non technical explanation - I would recommend the Office Blog.

 

This is also a great resource for training end users on Office 365 capabilities:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=54088

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Thanks Brian and also for remembering me the Office 365 BoM...just downloaded the lates version...by the way, I know there are many places to look for information, but It could be great to have a central location where consolidate this info.
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This is a good - and also common - request that we've been evaluating for a while. Ultimately, we keep landing on the idea that different channels should have various information sets based on the audience. For example, we should be providing deep technical documentation but not to business decision makers. That's why we've ended up with multiple communications that often overlap...

 

The north star direction is to have identical information across the Roadmap and Message Center, with the difference being that Message Center communications are timed and tailored to your tenant. From a change management perspective, our intention is to make the Message Center the single source of information.

The most authentic and updated resource is the Message Center which can be accessed through Office 365 Admin Center. It has all the features that are yet to be released in Office 365.