Click-to-run. CTR. C2R. At this point you have probably seen mention of one of these – this is Microsoft’s alternative to the traditional Windows Installer-based (MSI) method of installing and updating Office. It has actually been around for a few versions of Office now, but organizations are really just starting to adopt this deployment method. As a quick summary of the technology – this is Microsoft’s streaming and virtualization technology which enables organizations to download and begin to use Office products before the whole product is installed. Click-to-run is licensed on a per-user basis and each user may install the software on up to 5 devices. Activations are processed and tracked in the O365 cloud every 30 days.
Microsoft has been encouraging customers to make the switch to Office 365 Click-to-run, with earlier announcements that “Starting October 13, 2020, Office 365 ProPlus or Office perpetual in mainstream support will be required to connect to Office 365 services.”
Microsoft is saying that any organization that uses any Office 365 service will have to stay on the latest version of Office starting in 2020. That presents a challenge for companies like law firms with hundreds of add-ins. Law firms that have or are looking to migrate to Office 365 are potentially taking on added risks with their vendors by moving to this platform. These vendors solutions are often necessary, so what do you do? Start by asking questions. The two most frequent questions our customers are asking us and the ones we are coaching our customers to be asking their vendors:
- What testing plans do you have in place to keep up with the frequency of Microsoft O365 updates?
- Do you have communication channels for informing customers of any breaks met in your software as a result of a Microsoft update?
These questions will help you understand the testing framework and preparedness of your vendors, but in the end the best protection comes in the form of limiting your technology vendors.
For firms that have already moved, simplifying add-ins, and buying from a joint source will be more important than ever. Some vendors in this market have been historically troubled with keeping up-to-date with the older Microsoft model. Finding vendors who are equipped to work at these new speeds and combining for better vendor management will be critical.
We at Litera Microsystems see consolidation in the legal technology market not only as a chance for law firms to improve their overall competitiveness, but a necessity for application management as the industry moves to CTR models. Limit your risk by limiting your vendors.