Office 365 Changes ComingMany people have trouble keeping up with the latest trends and changes in technology, whether its computers, smartphones or TVs.  This is also true if we look at most of the big software companies like Apple, Google and of course Microsoft.  It’s even faster with certain Microsoft services like Power BI, Azure and of course their flagship collaboration service Office 365. 

Office 365 is constantly changing, and it can be difficult to know what’s going on.  It’s critically important to stay informed because Microsoft owns the platform and can roll out new features, remove functionality or change anything else as they see fit. 

I’ll show you 5 quick and easy ways to know what is happening in the Office 365 ecosystem. 

1.  Know Your Release Options

One of the biggest things you need to know is WHAT FEATURES you’re going to see from Microsoft in Office 365.  This is in 2 parts, one of the Office client and one for the Office 365 service.

Release validation rings for Office 365.

Office 2016 Client

Depending on your subscription, you may be licensed for Microsoft Office as part of Office 365.  If so, Microsoft gives you certain features and functionality different than if you bought Office off the shelf.  They push these changes out based on a release channel.  If you want to get these new features earlier, you can change your Office release channel.  You can read more here.

Office 365

Office 365 Release preferences

The Office 365 platform has two release options – Standard and Targeted.  The Targeted release is also called “first release”. This is a preview.  You can target the entire organization tenant or a subset of users to receive these preview features, set in the Office 365 admin center.  Microsoft provides more information and steps here.

2.  Get an Email Digest from the Office 365 Message Center

Screenshot - Office 365 Message Center Email

Regardless of the release option, by far the best way to keep current on what Microsoft is doing with Office 365 is to use Office 365 itself!  There is a Message Center in the Admin Center that gives a detailing of all changes coming down. 

What’s nice is you can get a weekly email digest of this information!  Just click Edit Message center preferences, and you can choose what apps you want to keep up with, if you want the weekly digest, and who gets it. 

Office 365 message center preferences Office 365 message center weekly digest email


3.  Participate in the Microsoft Tech Community

Office 365 on the Microsoft Technical Community SharePoint Blog

If you needed help or had questions, you could get involved in the user community via the TechNet forums.  Then came a few Yammer groups that you could get involved with that you let interact with some folks from Microsoft.  Then the Microsoft Technical Community was born, where they basically built an entirely new forum community.  In this community, you can follow certain channels for different products and services including Office 365 and its granular services.  They also have blogs as part of the Tech Community.

The Program Managers and others within Microsoft tend to post new changes and updates to the blogs in the Tech Community first before elsewhere.  So if you want to be sure to stay current on the bleeding edge, follow them or get an RSS feed by clicking Options –> Subscribe to RSS feed

4.  Office 365 Roadmap

Office 365 Roadmap

Ever want to know what Microsoft is working on, or what features are coming next?  Check the Office 365 Roadmap!  At a glance, you can see what features are in development, being rolled out or even cancelled. 

Want to get updates to this automatically?  Get the Office 365 Roadmap weekly digest here!  You can even download it to Excel! 

5.  Follow the Office Blog

Office 365 Blog on

Lastly, before the Tech Community Blogs were so awesome, the best way to keep up with changes with Office 365 was to follow the main Office Blog.  This is the filtered blog link for Office 365. 

It seems to me that more business high-level overview material comes to this blog, and the more technical details go to the Tech Community.  Regardless, it’s still a good blog to follow.

And of course there are lots of other great bloggers out there to follow to keep up with news, new changes and other things goings on like Laura Rogers, Todd Klindt and others.  I also follow the blogs of Office 365 services like PowerApps, Flow, etc. 

At this point you should have everything you need to stay on top of everything Office 365!