I’m a pretty big fan of Office 365, not just because Office 365 migrations are the majority of how I make a paycheck. In general I think Office 365 is the current best example of “the cloud”, meaning Office 365 is the most complete and useable group of workloads that business IT departments can outsource to make both their and their users work lives better. That being said, I do have a few of issues with Office 365 and most of them are communication.
Historically Microsoft is bad at communicating with their customer base. It’s not that they are Apple (especially under Steve Jobs), who just refusing to release any information about upcoming products until they are released. It’s worse than that. Sometimes Microsoft won’t release any information, sometimes the information they release is wrong, sometimes it’s slow, sometimes it’s confusing, sometimes the “information” they release is really marketing disguised at information. The point is, Microsoft is bad historically bad at sharing information with their customers and that can make Office 365 unusable for some companies. I don’t think this communication problem Microsoft has is going to be fixed soon, but I do want to point out where they are getting better. The new Office 365 Roadmap is a big step in the right direction.
The Office 365 Roadmap site features 5 sections; Launched, Rolling out, In development, Canceled, and Previous Releases.
Launched: These features are generally available and should be working for all Office 365 customers.
Rolling Out: This section contains a list of recently released features that are rolling out now. These features may not be available to some customers, but will be available to everyone within the next couple of weeks.
In Development: This section contains a list of features that Microsoft is currently working on. They are likely to begin rolling out within the next few weeks or months. There is no guarantee that these features will make it into Office 365, or when they will be available. I suspect that features will not be placed on this site until they are almost assured to be coming to Office 365, but often features in this section will take several months before they begin rolling out.
Canceled: These are features that were in development, but are now canceled or indefinitely delayed. Currently there is not anything in this section, and I don’t expect to see many features fall here either.
Previous releases: This section contains previously released features. Features will be moved here from the Launched section.
Just quickly looking over the Launched section I see a number of features that I did not know about. Additionally I can see much more detailed status on many features that I have known about for some time, but was unsure of exactly where they fall in the release cycle right now. This site will be very helpful for me, as someone who moves new customers to Office 365 all the time, to keep up of what features are available and what features are not yet ready.
Looks like I have a bunch of reading to do, which is pretty standard for anyone who is trying to keep current on Office 365.