What CIOs Should Know About MS Office 2016

by CXOtoday News Desk    Sep 11, 2015


After the mega release of Windows 10 on July 29th 2015, Microsoft has confirmed another big launch in September - Office 2016, alongside plans for monthly feature updates through Office 365. Announcing the release date, as September 22, Julia White, General Manager of Office365 Technical Product Management mentions in a blog post detailed how the Office 2016 productivity suite for Windows will be rolling out to users.

The new suite of Office applications will give Office 365 ProPlus business subscribers a choice of two types of ongoing updates. As they have in the past, company and organizational users can continue to receive features and security updates on a monthly basis under an option now called “Current Branch,” says White.

For enterprise users

For enterprise users, there will also be a new update option called “Current Branch for Business,” which will deliver three feature updates annually while providing monthly security updates. The option is designed for organizations that prefer to wait for updates, need time for testing or want to better manage customizations, she says.

“We’ve enhanced the upgrade and installation experience, and for Office 365 subscribers, we’ve made changes to how the 2016 apps are updated moving forward. We’re also delivering new tools and resources to help you prepare, deploy and manage Office,” White mentions in her blog post.

The Current Branch for Business option was developed based on feedback from many users who currently run Office 365 ProPlus, White said. The approach is similar to that taken by Microsoft with its new Windows 10 operating system, she notes, adding that the first Current Branch for Business build, which will come out in February, will be “effectively the same feature set as the September 22nd release, but with four additional months of security updates also included.”

Business users with volume licensing agreements for Office will be able to download the Office 2016 suite from Microsoft’s Volume Licensing Service Center starting October 1.

Packed with features

Microsoft has added a number of other new capabilities to Office 2016 based on comments and requests from IT professionals, including deployment for Background Intelligent Transfer Service to help IT admins better control network traffic when they deploy updates.

According to White, The Office 365 admin portal will also offer new reports on Office activation and usage. Likewise, Office 2016 also brings across-app support for data loss prevention, along with multi-factor authentication and “other mission-critical control capabilities.”

The post further notes that IT professionals and developers will be able to explore other new features in Office as well as Windows and Azure through a series of “Microsoft Cloud Roadshow” events to be held at a dozen cities around the globe from November through March. Each event will offer two days of technical training led by Microsoft engineers, sums up White.