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Huge Change in the Size and Coverage of Office 365 for IT Pros Since May 2015
The Office 365 for IT Pros eBook team is thrilled to announce the availability of the October update for Office 365 for IT Pros (2024 edition). This is the one hundredth update we’ve issued since the original publication of the book at the Microsoft Ignite conference in Chicago in May 2015. Like any of our monthly updates, Update #100 is packed full of valuable updates.
Things were all so simple in 2015. Most migrations were for Exchange 2007 and 2010 servers to Exchange Online. The transition to SharePoint Online hadn’t really begun because of a lack of tools. Skype for Business Online had replaced Lync Online. The original OneDrive client was proving just how bad synchronization could be. None of what’s now available in Microsoft Purview had appeared. Yammer was making waves, mostly because Microsoft marketing thought it was the next big thing (which it never became), and Teams didn’t come along until it appeared in preview in November 2016.
In November 2015, Office 365 had some 60 million users and the annual run rate for Microsoft cloud revenues was approximately $8 billion. The most recent figures put Office 365 paid seats at around 400 million and cloud revenues of 121.2 billion.
All of which meant that the majority of our first book covered Exchange Online and we could fit everything into just over 500 pages, which meant that we produced some printed copies with Microsoft’s help.
Roll on to update #100 and Office 365 is very different. Our page count is 1,338 pages with some 710,000 words. One chapter alone (23: Managing Microsoft 365 with PowerShell and the Graph) is 132 pages and we have over 1,300 PowerShell examples across the book. All of this is due to covering the change occurring across the Microsoft 365 ecosystem since 2015.
The October 2023 Update
Subscribers to the PDF/EPUB version can download the updated files from Gumroad.com. Amazon Kindle readers can ask Amazon support to make the update available to them. Our FAQ includes information about how to fetch updates. Details of what’s changed are documented in the change log.
The Next Phase for Office 365 for IT Pros
It’s becoming more and more obvious that Microsoft wants to move customers off the Office 365 products to the more expensive Microsoft 365 SKUs. New functionality like Microsoft 365 Copilot and the Loop app are licensed through Microsoft 365 SKUs and not available to Office 365. Making new functionality unavailable to Office 365 E3 and E5 license holders are deliberate product management decisions made by Microsoft. There is nothing in Microsoft 365 E3 or E5 that makes them more suitable to host Copilot or Loop.
Microsoft is perfectly at liberty to make whatever product management decisions they feel best serves their interests. And in some cases, upgrading from Office 365 to Microsoft 365 is absolutely the right thing for a customer to do.
Since the inception of the book, we have used Office 365 E3 as our baseline for coverage because it seems like this is the most common license in enterprise tenants. If a feature can be used with Office 365 E3, we’re very interested in it. If something requires higher-end or add-on licenses, we’re less likely to cover that feature. Going forward, it might be the case that Microsoft 365 E3 becomes the new baseline, especially if this is what’s needed to take advantage of the features and functionality flowing from Microsoft’s investments in artificial intelligence.
On to the Second Hundred
We had no conception about how quickly the technology landscape around Office 365 would change when we started writing in summer 2014. I wonder what innovations, new solutions, and product breakthroughs the next hundred updates will cover. That’s an interesting point to ponder.