Last week Microsoft launched a major update to their Office 365 Roadmap portal that keeps customers informed of changes to the cloud based productivity suite.

Microsoft's Office 365 continues to grow its commercial user base which now includes over 85 million active month users of the service based on Microsoft's second quarter of 2017 financial results. That reflects a 40% increase compared to the same period in the previous year.

One aspect of Office 365 that may be making it attractive to users is the fact it is continually updated instead of like the old stand alone version of the Office software suite that would get updated with the release of an annual service pack update. Now administrators have options to stay on that fast track release pace or slow things down for their organization.

In order to keep customers fully informed about the progress of Office 365, Microsoft started on online Office 365 Roadmap portal to provide those administrators and users insight into what features are coming in the future.

The portal is laid out with the following categories of features to make it easy to see what is coming.

Category/Number of Features/Description

Launched (116) - Fully released updates that are now generally available for applicable customers

Rolling Out (62) - Updates that are beginning to roll-out and are not yet available to all applicable customers

In Development (148) - Updates that are currently in development and testing

Canceled (8) - Previously planned updates that are not longer being developed or are indefinitely delayed

Previously Released (518) - Generally available updates for all applicable customers

As you can see by the number of items in each category, Office 365 is very actively being developed and looking to always add functionality and purpose to the suite of software.

Office 365 administrators have the option to place certain members of their organization into the Office 365 First Release program which will allow those users early access to new features for testing purposes. Otherwise, the Standard Release option is where the vast majority of an organizations users should be assigned.

These two release programs are different to the Office Insider program which is another option for gaining even earlier access to new features as they are in early stages of testing.

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