At Advantage we are committed to bringing our clients the latest but also the safest technology. We don't rush in with the latest software versions, because too often these carry bugs (software faults) that get picked up with real-world implementations.
When new software is released it has been tested by the vendor quite thoroughly. But, IT environments are so complex, and the way people use software for their own purposes so varied, it is impossible to detect all the possible coding mistakes or potential problems at first release. That is why it is considered industry best practice to wait at least for one software update release. A software update release (known simply a "release") usually contains a series of software or coding fixes to a number of bugs reported after the software has been used in the real-world for several months.
With Exchange, the time was right for us to upgrade from our previous version (Microsoft™ Exchange 2010, to Microsoft™ Exchange 2013) having been out for well over a year. In a multi-tenant environment like ours (i.e. multi-customer platform) we need to take even greater care. In this case, these support partners are companies that develop the Cloud Service Portal, security, and billing integration. That's not just because we are custodians of our customer's data, but also because we have to ensure that all our support partners have worked out their own integration issues with Exchange as well.
The version we have moved to is 2013 SP1 CU5. That is the version number (2013), the major release Service Pack (SP1), and then the Cumulative Update version applied (a series of security and patch type updates in one). So that's a lot of important fixes on the latest version!
When Microsoft™ Lync and Microsoft™ SharePoint were added to this environment late in 2013, and early in 2014, we could introduce these as 2013 versions immediately as the integration software was all '2013' aware. Now, with the completion of the Microsoft™ Exchange 2013 upgrade, all our customers have the benefits of both a stable environment, and one that boasts the most up to date features, security, and support possible.
The biggest advantage for users of Exchange 2013 is the support for HTML version 5 (HTML5). HTML5 is the web coding framework used on all modern browsers that lets you do cool things like detect screen type so content can be displayed the best way to suit each device. For example the picture below shows the comparison between the static Outlook Web App 2010 view, and the improved portability across all devices of the Outlook Web App 2013 view.