The Office 365 update process and its affect on humans

Since Office 365 vNext / Wave 15 / service update was made available on February 27 this year the hottest question has been “when will my tenant be upgraded?”.

I can tell you as a Office 365 MVP and one of it’s top partners there was a certain sense of entitlement that my company’s (Paradyne) tenant would be upgraded early.

It would make logical sense wouldn’t it?

Speaking as a MVP I thought that as an advocate of the platform it would make sense that I be using the latest and greatest. And as a partner we need to be on the latest releases so we can demonstrate them to our customers.

Those points are true – but the service update has a process to be followed and there are no exceptions.

I have heard¬†customers and partners saying the process is rigged against existing customers. That’s simply not true.

Think of a car fleet – people who sign up now get the current model, those who signed up previously have to wait until they are scheduled for a refresh.

There are countless analogies that can be used but at the end of the day they all hold one thing true – there is a process that needs to be followed, and it was set as such for very specific reasons.

We have had customers approach us as they cannot wait and want to be manually migrated to a new tenant. The thought has crossed my mind for my own production tenant as we have done this before when the BPOS transition was felt to be too slow (for both customers and ourselves). There are pros and cons for this approach and each organisation has to think about how it applies to them before simply leaping forward to use the shiny new version.

I won’t be doing a manual transition to a new tenant for Paradyne as it is a business platform that needs to be fully functional – rather than have access to the latest bells and whistles.

Do I feel slighted by Microsoft that my tenant isn’t being given priority? No. We are part of a global update process, one that I chose to be a part of when I signed up for the service and shut down our own infrastructure.

Fellow Office 365 MVP Sean McNeill has written a great blog post addressing those who criticise the upgrade process. As people who represent Microsoft as both MVPs and partners we have access to inside information. We also have priority access to technologies. Sometimes however we are part of the system and have to be content to be treated as such. Sean’s speaks to that.

SharePoint Online service updates

From late October until the end of 2011 Microsoft is rolling out a service update across the world to SharePoint Online.
If you’re an Office 365 administrator you would have received the email explaining what was in the update, but for those who aren’t here is a table of what to expect:

Feature
Description
Business Connectivity Services (BCS)
*Enterprise plans only
Enables connecting to external systems via web service based
endpoints
External Sharing: Windows LiveID support
Allows Office 365 tenant administrators to invite external
users to a site collection. They sign in with a Windows Live ID-based user
name and password.
Windows Phone 7 “Mango” (official support and
http:// connectivity)
Windows Phone 7.5, codenamed “Mango,” now enables both small
business and enterprise Office 365 customers to access SharePoint Online
lists and document libraries from their Windows Phone.
Recycle Bin: deleted site self-recovery
Self-service ability to recover sites from a site collection’s
recycle bin
Browser support: Internet Explorer 9
Adds official support for the Internet Explorer 9 (IE9)
browser
Browser support: Chrome
Adds official support for the Chrome browser