What is Evergreen IT?
Microsoft 365 is deployed as “evergreen”. Microsoft defined "Evergreen IT" in 2015 as "running services comprising components that are always up to date".
At any given time there are between 800 and 1,400 updates for Microsoft 365.
The vision of Evergreen IT is that continuous small, iterative updates to an organisation's IT environment, rather than undertaking isolated big-bang migrations once every x number of years, provide numerous benefits for organisations.
The benefits of Evergreen IT
- Microsoft 365 is always up to date.
- Budgets are predictable: organisations know exactly how much they will need to spend next month or in six months, based on the subscription license model.
- Lower maintenance efforts and costs, eg Gartner estimated a 79% cost reduction when upgrading in an evergreen environment compared to infrequent big-bang updates.
- Significant decreases in cyber security risks as new security and compliance products, features and services are continually released.
- Less shadow IT and application sprawl as the latest functionality is always provided to administrators and users.
- Faster access to new features and fewer interruptions caused by major infrequent updates lead to happier users and improved productivity.
Are there any downsides to Evergreen IT?
Embracing Evergreen IT such as Microsoft 365 is by no means easy. Evergreen IT will only be successful if the company undergoes a company-wide organisational shift towards managing processes in an agile way – this is essential.
Organisations with a flat hierarchy, short approval processes, and a culture within both IT and user communities that quickly adapt and embrace change succeed most. There are often significant concerns around the thought of continuous updates and possible loss of control.
Evergreen IT is a cultural evolution, not a light switch
Another key issue is training for both IT staff and users. Whereas training was only essential every couple of years when a big platform upgrade occurred (such as Exchange, Windows or Sharepoint) – with Evergreen IT, training needs to be a continual process.
QA has developed a mastering curriculum of courses for Microsoft 365 technical training that is continually updated in alignment with Microsoft 365 changes. The courseware and labs include preview features so your organisation can not only stay on top of the current features available but also on upcoming changes to futureproof knowledge for the next few months and beyond.
Phil CrayfordPhil has over 20 years' international experience in the industry helping UK and global clients with designing and deploying technical Microsoft solutions and developing and delivering training and mentoring to provide ongoing support.
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