Internet Explorer 11 is going
Internet Explorer 11 is in the final stretch of its life. It will become unsupported on the 17th of August 2021. So what does this mean? Microsoft 365 apps and services have slowly been ending support on IE11 since its decommissioning date was announced last year. After the dates on the timeline below, customers will have a degraded experience where new M365 features won’t be available or certain features will stop working altogether. As Microsoft put it:
“Customers have been using IE11 since 2013 when the online environment was much less sophisticated than the landscape today. Since then, open web standards and newer browsers – like the new Microsoft Edge – have enabled better, more innovative online experiences”.
It was recently announced that the desktop application of IE11 will be retiring on Windows on June 15th 2022. After this date anyone trying to access IE11 will be redirected to Edge, hammering the final nail in the legacy browsers coffin.
When will the changes begin?
The push to Edge
Organisations should now start thinking about how they can shift across to Microsoft Edge, a browser built on the Chromium open source engine. Both personal and commercial Microsoft 365 users will benefit from the seamless transition from the legacy IE11 to the new Edge browser. This means organisations can still access their custom-built private sites and utilise up-to-date Microsoft 365 apps and services in one standardised Microsoft Edge browser.
The shift across to Edge is about more than just performance. It’s underpinned with the latest security and online safety features. With cyber-attacks becoming more sophisticated, there must be continuous monitoring to protect company and consumer data. To tackle this, Microsoft Edge was built and designed to compatibly operate on Windows 10. Organisations can also leverage additional Microsoft security features and functionalities including Azure Active Directory.
Managing the change from IE11 to Edge
As with any technology change, you need to make sure you plan, manage and deliver an effective change management approach to ensure a smooth transition between the two browsers.
Impact analysis – As part of your discovery, ensure that you understand fully what potential impacts are to business process and who it affects. Map out the ‘current state’ activities why are users accessing IE11, how, when and what for. See the FAQs below for some of the top impacts.
Define future state – Understand what the future experience for users on Edge will be. Anticipate any changes to process or navigation and build it into the communications campaign. Discuss with your IT team the opportunities to automate any redirects or legacy links to help end users. Selecting a date to uninstall IE11 company wide can also help when planning communications and to spark the desire to change.
Communicate the change – Create a four week communications campaign to create awareness of the switch to Edge. Ensure the key messaging includes the additional benefits Edge brings, how it’s better and the ‘what’s in it for me’ for the end user. If you are also rolling out other M365 applications you can combine messaging around a secure cloud first digital work place.
What happens to favourites?
To ensure that all of your quick access favourites are available on the new browser there are a few options. Users can import and export their IE11 favourites as a file that you can open into the new edge browser and manually save each one. Alternatively, if Microsoft Edge is already downloaded, you can easily import your favourites from IE11 using these steps.
What happens to legacy apps?
IE11 isn’t going away for Microsoft customers who own legacy IE11 apps and investments. These will continue to work. To solve the need for organisations needing the use of two browsers for different apps, Microsoft Edge has Internet Explorer mode (IE mode). This helps to standardise on one browser seamlessly experience the best of the modern web in one tab while accessing a business-critical legacy IE11 app in another tab – all housed within the new Microsoft Edge.
Note: Using Internet Explorer mode in the new Microsoft Edge will not help to extend IE11 access to Microsoft 365 apps and services beyond the dates listed above. Microsoft 365 apps and services will stop supporting IE11 on the dates listed.
‘Open in file explorer’ is breaking
A number of organisations rely on a rudimentary work around to access shared cloud based files in their familiar file explorer. The technology that is used when selecting the ‘open in file explorer’ link from a SharePoint site and then mapping the folder structure into your file explorer is called WebDav. It’s riddled with issues, unreliable and stripped of features and isn’t available on Edge. The obvious fix for this is to utilise the OneDrive sync client that allows you to access cloud files from your file explorer in real time. You can even work on local copies whilst saving to the cloud.
The eventual decommissioning of IE11 will mark the end of an era of internet browsing for Microsoft, making way for its modern, secure and intelligent predecessor, Edge. Whilst some end users still have an emotional attachment to IE11 and may need some hand holding when moving across to a new tool (remember people don’t like change) the future lies in the new chromium experience that Edge has to offer. Wherever you are on your Microsoft 365 journey, we are here to help.