Managing Office 365 Updates with SCCM 1603

Till SCCM 2012, if we have to manage the Microsoft Office updates, we have to manually download the update, create a package, distribute this package to distribution point and the application need to be shut down while applying the update.

Managing Office 365 updates is a new feature from SCCM 1511. Also, there are improvements in how we manage the updates from SCCM 1511 to SCCM 1606

Before we proceed with how we manage the updates of O365, we first have a basic understanding of O365 Client, the deployment method and the available channels as this information is needed in choosing the relevant updates.

Overview of O365 Client :

Office 365 Client is similar to other versions of Office. The programs in O365 have the same features and functionalities as other versions of Office and the applications work the same way in all the available versions.

The difference is only with respect to Licencing and deployment methods.

There are different versions of O365 Clients:

  1. Office 365 ProPlus
  2. Office 365 Business
  3. Visio Pro for Office 365
  4. Project for Office 365

I have used O365 ProPlus Client for this demonstration


To use Office 365 ProPlus, a user must have an Office 365 account and should be assigned to a licence .And this is the reason the client machine is to be connected to internet at least once in a month so that the user’s licence can be validated

I have used the O365 Client Trial Version which is valid for 30 days. After 30 days, office apps works with reduced functionalities

Deployment Methods:

O-365 Proplus  uses different method of installation “Click-to-Run” which is different from the traditional MSI.

The advantages of Click-to-run over MSI installation are:

  1. User can run these apps and doesn’t have to wait till the installation completes
  2. By default Click-to-run products are configured to be updated automatically
  3. Flexibility to choose among the channels ( Current, Deferred )
  4. Run different versions of Office products on the same computer
  5. Flexibility to restrict the applications during product installations

Overview of Channels :

Microsoft has changed the terminology from Branch to Channel. This is the key factor in managing the updates. Which updates are to be applied to which client depends on which channel the Client has

There are 4 different types of Channels:

  1. Current Channel : Provides the users with all the new features as soon as they are released by Microsoft
  2. First release Current Channel : Provides an earlier look of the next current Channel
  3. Deferred Channel : Provides the users with the updates few times a year
  4. First release Deferred Channel : Provides an earlier look for the next Deferred Channel

How to decide on Channels ?

It is recommended to use the Deferred Channel in production as we have time to test the new updates and upgrades through their respective First releases

Current Channel, First release of Current Channel, First release of Deferred Channel can be used by set of pilot users who want to test the features and functionalities

Check this Microsoft Technet Article  for Version and Build numbers

Managing O365 Updates with SCCM (System Center Configuration Manager) 1603:

Prerequisites :

  1. SCCM 1602 or later
  2. Windows Update Services 4.0
  3. Office 365 Client with the below min version

For Current Channel, Version should be at least  1602 (Build 6741.2017)

For First Release for Deferred Channel, Version should be at least  1602 (Build 6741.2014)

For Deferred Channel, Version should be at least  1602 (Build 6741.2048)

4.   Office Deployment Tool

Enable Configuration Manager to receive O365 Client updates:

Navigate to Administration-> Site Configuration->Sites-> Right click on the site->Configure site components->Select Software Update Point


Navigate to Classifications and select check updates and upgrades


Navigate to Products and select Office 365 Client under Office


Navigate to Software Library and Synchronize Software Updates


Enable O365 Client to receive software updates from System Center Configuration Manager:

There are two ways to enable to O365 Clients to receive the updates

  1. Office Deployment Tool . This supports only the new installations
  2. Group Policy Administrative Template. This  supports already installed O365 as well as new installations

Enabling O365 updates with Office Deployment Tool:

Download the Office  Office Deployment Tool

Extract the contents to a shared location. The extraction will have setup.exe and configuration.xml files

sccm 2012 Office 2016 deployment

Edit the .xml file as per your requirements in version and channel

You can refer the below link for changing the xml file to your requirement

Click to run installation with Office Deployment Tool xml file

Technet Article

The standard command to install the O365 client is

setup.exe /configure configuration.xml


Enabling Office 365 Client to receive updates with Group Policy with Office Admin Template:


  • Import Office16.admx to GPO repository ( C:\windows\PolicyDefinitions)
  • Also copy the necessary language files to GPO repository


  • Enable the Office 365 parameters in gpedit.msc

Enable Office 365 Client Management and channel identifier  parameters


Channel identifier :

“Validation” for First Release Deferred Channel

“Current” for Current Channel

“Business” for Deferred Channel


Checking for the O365 Updates in SCCM

O365 Client version in my client Machine is 6741.2047 which is First release for Deferred channel and it was released on June 7th 2016.

We can use this article to check the build and version information of the clients


Now, we can see in SCCM console that a newer update is available for the existing O365 Client under required section


Creating a package with O365 Update:

Select the update, right click on that and create a software update group



Select the software update group, right click and select download


Create a  new Software deployment Package


Select the Distribution Point



Check for the download progress


Deploy the software update to the collection :

Select the O365 update which is showing as required, right click and select deploy


Give the name to the deployment


Select the deployment method


Select the schedule for the deployment


Select the user experience


Configure alerts if required


Select the download settings


Select the option to download the package from internet


Select the language


Review the settings and download the package


Now login to the client machine and check for the available update

Open software Center and check for the update


Download and install the available O365 Update


Now, we see that available update is successfully installed in the client machine



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