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Patch Management / Patch Tuesday

Frequent and Uncommunicated Updates are Microsoft Customers’ Biggest Pain Point

It started as an effort to keep up with the innovation of its competitors when Microsoft decided to retool its legacy operations and begin delivering updates to its products at break-neck speed. And, the company has delivered – however, quite possibly at the expense and trust of its customers. When you first think about accelerated product updates, Windows 10 probably comes to mind, since Microsoft has used that product to develop is servicing strategy. But that’s just scratching the surface of the problem.

I heard this too often during IT/Dev Connections 2017 and became one of the bigger stories from the conference. You could sit in almost any session and hear about how Microsoft changed this, or changed that, or made a modification without telling anyone. One speaker, due to some unannounced changes by Microsoft, was locked out of a cloud account he desperately needed to deliver demos during a session that day. Fortunately, after contacting several people at Microsoft he was finally granted access again nearly at the last minute. And, this wasn’t the first time he’d experienced something similar, as his frustration showed.

During the Ask the Experts panel for Cloud and Datacenter, it became a joke about how often Microsoft would update the Azure panel. The company updates Azure so regularly that you must re-familiarize yourself with the layout of the menus almost daily. Even the simplest menu items seemingly disappear and show up in the strangest places. Many on the panel were Microsoft MVPs and can shoot off a quick email to their MVP lead to help them figure it out – sometimes unsuccessfully. But, regular customers normally don’t have this type of access, so you can imagine how much more frustrated they are over this lack of attention. That was made clear.

But, this isn’t just happening in Microsoft’s cloud accounts and services where the company has totalitarian reign. This is happening across the board for every product located on-premises, too. Updates are being delivered fast and furious, delivering many new features that customers might not even want and its causing update fatigue.

But, more than that, if you’ve been following along for any length of time and attempting some of these updates on your on-premises software, you’ve experienced patch quality issues all too often. Many customers have started delaying updating software, waiting for someone else to report the other shoe falling. This has left many organizations unsecure because Microsoft continues to leave bugs inside its security updates and customers have lost trust. Obviously, Microsoft can’t test every scenario in which the patch will be used, but a quick glance at the accompanying documentation shows that there are regularly “known issues” with updates that the company is aware of.

So, what’s the solution?

Microsoft will continue to innovate quickly, but I do believe the company has entered this brand-new world with more frequent updates and a new product servicing strategy and are working to adapt. Even Windows 10 feature updates have now been reined back to just twice a year – so it appears the company is listening. I believe Microsoft will get this sorted out eventually and I also believe customers can help. However, customers need an actual forum where they can come together and be heard.

IT/Dev Connections is the perfect conference to hear this type of information as it gives both attendees and speakers the opportunity to connect, engage, and talk about real issues without feeling like a vendor is trying to control the narrative. The discussions at IT/Dev Connections give customers a better chance to be heard and speakers (many of which are MVPs) a forum for straight, unfiltered talk. Additionally, attendees get access to speakers from Microsoft and some who are MVPs who can take the criticism and feedback directly to the source of the frustration.

The message was heard loud and clear at IT/Dev Connections this year in San Francisco and many of the MVPs are presenting the feedback directly to Microsoft even now. If you want to be included in these conversations, keep watching here and make sure you put IT/Dev Connections 2018 in Dallas, Texas on your schedule.


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Looking for an awesome, no-nonsense technical conference for IT Pros, Developers, and DevOps? IT/Dev Connections kicks off in Dallas, Texas in 2018!

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A community professional, keynoter, and evangelist who has driven social media and marketing strategies, editorial successes, delivered customer successes and built some of the largest and longest-running online communities. Rod has created, managed and grown small, medium, and mega-sized conferences; run entire editorial teams to deliver record traffic and market leadership; as product manager, directed the success of hundreds of product releases; supported sales and marketing to ensure customer success; developed, run and sold businesses; written thousands of technical articles, white papers, case studies, and technical documentation; hosted and delivered hundreds of attendance shattering webinars and virtual tradeshows; and delivered keynote speeches and sessions at a wide variety of events including conferences, webinars, events, and user groups.

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