Change management

In the service offering, the balance of responsibility for hardware maintenance and security updates shifts to the service provider (Microsoft) instead of the customer (you). However, you must still ensure that non-Microsoft and custom software continues to function as expected when updates are rolled out.

For on-premises products, your organization assumes all responsibility for managing change.

Balance of responsibility

Responsibility Microsoft Managed Desktop service Microsoft 365 client software On-premises clients and servers Non-Microsoft and custom software
Provide new functionality Microsoft Microsoft Both You
Test new features for quality assurance Microsoft Microsoft Both You
Communicate about new features Both Both Both You
Integrate custom software Both Both You You
Apply security updates Microsoft Microsoft You You
Maintain system software Microsoft Microsoft You You
Package for deployment Microsoft Microsoft You You

Change process overview

Below is a summary of how the change process is shared between Microsoft and customers:

Scenario Microsoft's role Customer's role
Before a change
  • Set expectations for service changes
  • Notify customers five days in advance for changes that require administrator action
  • For emergency changes, apply a mitigation prior to notifying
  • Understand what to expect for changes and communications
  • Check the Microsoft Managed Desktop Message center regularly
  • Review and update internal change management processes
  • Understand, and check compliance with Microsoft Managed Desktop requirements
  • Acknowledge and approve, when required
During a change
  • Release and deploy monthly security and non-security updates for Windows 10/11 and Office 365 clients
  • Monitor data signals and support queues for impact
  • Check the Microsoft Managed Desktop Message center and review any additional information
  • Take any action required, if applicable, and test applications
  • If a break/fix scenario is experienced, submit a support request
After a change
  • Collect customer feedback to improve rollout of future changes
  • Monitor data signals and support queues for impact
  • Work with people in your organization to adopt the change
  • Review change and adoption management processes for opportunities to gain efficiencies
  • Provide general feedback and specific feedback in the admin feedback tool
  • Train users to provide app-specific feedback using the Windows Feedback Hub and the Smile button in Office apps

Change types

There are several types of changes that we make to the service regularly. The communication channel for those changes and the actions you're responsible for vary.

Not all changes have the same effect on your users or require action. Some are planned and some are unplanned. For example, critical and out-of-bad updates aren't usually planned.

Depending on the type of change, the communication channel may vary. The following table lists the types of changes you can expect for the Microsoft Managed Desktop service.

Functionality Non-security updates Security
Type of change
  • Feature updates
  • New features or applications
  • Deprecated features
Client hotfixes for issues Security updates
Advance notice Five days notice for changes that require action No such changes are included in the monthly release No changes are included in the monthly release
Communication channel
  • Message center
  • Email alert
  • Message center
  • Email alert
  • Message center
  • Email alert
Requires global admin action Sometimes Rarely Rarely
Type of action Change settings Communicate changes to users Change admin settings
Requires testing Check business applications including remote access services Sometimes; testing the fix against processes or customizations Rarely
Examples of change
  • Feature updates: IT admin center simplified support ticket submission and review
  • New features or applications: Semi-Annual release of a Windows 10/11 feature update
Hotfixes based on customer reported bugs