Managing and Deploying Updates for Office 365 ProPlus

Managing and Deploying Updates for Office 365 ProPlus

With the announcement of Office 2016 desktop apps last month it’s only natural for Enterprise and even SMB to want to know their options for managing and deploying updates.Office 365 ProPlus

So in this blog post, I am going to go provide an overview of the update branches available to admin that deploy Office 365 ProPlus. Which includes Current Branch, Current Branch for Business, and First Release for Current Branch for Business.

Office 365 ProPlus gets new features for Office apps on a regular basis, through monthly updates. The admin who deploy Office 365 ProPlus to users in organizations, usually want to have more control over how often the users get these new features. For the Office 2016 version of Office 365 ProPlus, Microsoft provides three options, they are called update branches, and they control how often Office 365 ProPlus is updated with new features.

Here are the three update branch options:

Update branchPrimary purposeHow often releasedDefault update branch for the following products
Current BranchProvide users with the newest features of Office as soon as they’re available.Monthly*Visio Pro for Office 365

*Project Pro for Office 365

*Office 365 Business, which is the version of Office that comes with some Office 365 plans, such as business Premium.

Current Branch for BusinessProvide users with new features of Office only a few times a year.Every four monthsOffice 365 ProPlus
First Release for Current Branch for BusinessProvide pilot users and application compatibility testers the opportunity to test the next Current Branch for BusinessMonthlyNone

 

There are many factors that come into play when deciding which update branch to deploy for your users. That include, how many line-of-business applications, add-ins, or macros that you need to test any time there is an updated version of Office 365 ProPlus. To assist you in making the best decision, below is more information about the three update branches available for Office 365 ProPlus.

Current Branch for Office 365 ProPlus

Current Branch for Office 365 ProPlus could be right for your organization in the following situations:

  • You want to provide your users with the newest features of Office as soon as the features are available.
  • You don’t have many line-of-business applications, add-ins, or macros that you need to test to determine if will work with an updated version of Office.

A new Current Branch, is expected to be released each month. The monthly releases can contain new or updated features, security updates, and non-security updates that provide stability and performance improvements for Office. Not every Current Branch release will contain all of these, since some months there might not be any new features available.

The Current Branch release is supported only until the next Current Branch release is available. There are no new updates available for previous Current Branch releases.

Current Branch for Business for Office 365 ProPlus

Not all organizations want to deploy the latest features of Office right away, and if so the Current Branch for Business might be a better choice for your organization. Current Branch for Business is made only a few times a year, instead of every month. Current Branch for Business is the default update branch for Office 365 ProPlus.

Every four months a new Current Branch for Business is expected to be released. It can contain new features, security updates, and non-security updates, such as updates that provide stability or performance improvements for Office. In the four prior to a new Current Branch for Business release, Microsoft provides builds of the upcoming release so that pilot users and application compatibility testers in your organization can work with the new release. These builds are called First Release for Current Branch for Business.

Current Branch for Business won’t have all the new features included in the most recent Current Branch. The newest features in Current Branch for Business are the features from the Current Branch four months ago. The four month difference is intended to give your organization time to test the new features. If you want specific users to have the newest features of Office ProPlus, then you can provide those users with Current Branch.

Approximately four months after the release of Office 2016 the first Current Branch release will be available. Once a Current Branch for Business release is available, it will only get security updates, if there are any, in the months following the release.

Current Branch for Business releases get supported for eight months. So when the Current Branch for Business you’re using is two updates old, your version of Current Branch for Business will no longer be supported and won’t get security updates.

First Release for Current Branch for Business for Office 365 ProPlus

Microsoft provides First Release for Current Branch for Business to help organizations prepare for a current Branch for Business release. The First Release for Current Branch is provided approximately four months before the next Current Branch for Business release. Microsoft says that the primary reason for this update is to give pilot users and app compatibility testers a chance to work with the upcoming release to make sure everything is running smooth.

During the four month “testing phase” no new features are added to First Release for Current Branch for Business. Security updates, performance and stability updates can be added to this update branch though.

The initial First Release for Current Branch for Business is expected to be available right after Office 2016 is released.

Which update branch is best for your organization?

Take your time and figure out which update branch is best for your organization. Don’t forget to decide if you need a different update branch for specific people in your organization.

 

Shawn Lyles
About the Author
Hi, I'm Shawn! I am a hybrid website designer, developer, marketer and entrepreneur. I like to read, write and learn daily. Let's learn and grow together.

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