Choose when and how you want to receive Office 365 updates (all about rings)

One of the best thing you get from Office 365 or, any Microsoft Cloud stack related product for that matter is that, you are eligible to receive product updates (enhancements, fixes, security updates, new features and so on) regularly for no effort or massive costs on platform migrations every few years. It means Microsoft enhances your experience almost every month now, for no additional cost. ! Yes you go that right !

Take-your-Business-from-Good-to-Great-to-Exceptional

With this post, we will see how we can change the way cookie crumble !. Let’s find out how you can change the update ring so that your tenant will receive updates earlier than the other who are waiting for public release.

Important note (Microsoft): The Office 365 updates mentioned in this blog applies to Office 365, SharePoint Online, and Exchange Online. And do not apply to Skype for Business and related services. These release options are targeted, best effort ways to release changes to Office 365 but cannot be guaranteed at all times or for all updates.

There are 4 rings in Microsoft release management strategy. This is also known as Release Validation.

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Any new update is first goes to the respective feature teams and then to the entire Office 365 product team. The entire Microsoft team is the next to receive this to validate the solidness before it goes out to customers. 3rd ring is the Targeted release who will receive it right after Microsoft’s. Finally the Worldwide release (general availability) to those who are waiting for the finest.  3rd ring here (or Targeted) has the advantage here to receive it earlier than the others in the final ring.

Login in to your Office 365 Work or School account with Admin privileges and click on the App Launcher to start.

Important Note (Microsoft): It can take up to 24 hours for the below changes to take effect in Office 365. If you opt out of targeted release after enabling it, your users may lose access to features that haven’t reached the scheduled release yet.

From the app Launcher –> Head on to Admin and click “Show all” to expand blades.

A

Expand Settings –> Click on “Organization Profile”. If you have not done this before, you would immediately see the release preferences stays in Standard release mode which means you are in the last ring.

B

There are a few things to be aware before you choose your option here:

  1. If you setup target release for everyone, it’d better be a test (or POC, UAT) subscription as the change is going to affect for all users in the organization.
  2. 3rd option is the best ! you do not need to have a dedicated test subscription here, as you have few set of users to enable this so it won’t affect to production users. In my case, I only have 5 users in my tenant and I will change the track for my account only. It means, you can have mixed experience users in a single organization (single O365 tenant). Once you choose the best for you, hit “Next” to proceed here.

C

You have to say “Yes” to this.

D

In just a second you will get this message if everything went well. 99,99 it does !

E

By adding people you can define the group you set as target release users. These are the only users going to get the latest during the ring 3 releases (Target) so in my case, it’s just going to be me only. Hit “Save” to complete it.

F

Close the message. And head back to Organization Profile.

G

You should notice the change here. And, you can change the target group of people by adding one or more people under Action menu.

To Add more, next to Release preferences, click Actions –> + Bulk add people for first release under the Standard release heading.
Choose Browse to select a file containing each person’s email address –>
Click Next
and then Close.

H

Until next post, enjoy the updates !!

DISCLAIMER NOTE: This is an enthusiast post and is not sponsored by Microsoft or any other vendor.


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