With a richer feature set, Microsoft Teams is set to replace Skype for Business as the core communication client for Office 365.
Skype for Business Online Retirement
Why is Skype for Business being replaced?
Microsoft announced that Skype for Business will be retired on July 31st 2021. With Microsoft Teams hailed as the new hero products and replacement for Skype.
Microsoft Teams expands on the feature set and capabilities of Skype for Business bringing together chat, apps, files, calling and more all in one integrated app. The improved functionality gives businesses the ability to move faster, cut costs and collaborate more efficiently than ever before.
Can current Skype for Business users add more seats?
More Skype for Business seats may be still be added to your tenant, however you will need to eventually transition all your users to Microsoft Teams, therefore with this in mind it may be better to start your migration now.
What will happen to the Skype for Business server?
Support for the most recent version of the Skype for Business server (released in October 2018) is planned until January 9th 2024. Microsoft recognises that some customers may need to continue to use Skype for Business Server due to geographic and business requirements. In these instances it is recommended by Microsoft that business adopt Teams alongside Skype to drive collaboration and adoption.
Will improvements still continue for Skype for Business?
From September 1st 2019 new Office 365 customers will not have access to Skype for Business and will be onboarded to Microsoft Teams. Tenants already using Skype for Business will be able to continue to do so until their transition to Microsoft Teams is complete.
What is the recommendation for businesses planning to deploy Skype for Business?
If you are currently deploying Skype for Business Microsoft recommends that your continue to do so, but all new Office 365 customers are encouraged to start using Teams, either independently or in parallel with Skype for Business. It is recommended that a path to migration is established. All customers will need to have moved to Microsoft Teams before Skype for Business is retired in 2021.
What support is there for businesses migrating to Microsoft Teams?
Microsoft is encouraging all businesses that are planning to deploy Skype for Business or in the middle of a deployment to adopt Microsoft Teams and start planning their full deployment. There is a huge array of support for Teams with online guides, videos and prescriptive guidance alongside Upgrade Workshops to help with upgrade planning.
How will licensing change?
Licensing of Microsoft Teams will reflect the licensing terms of Skype for Business, with premium Skype features being premium Teams features. Any existing licencing add-ons such as Audio conferencing will be transferred to Microsoft Teams.
Is Microsoft planning scheduled upgrades?
At present there are no plans to upgrade enterprise customers automatically. Businesses can choose their upgrade dates when it makes most sense for their organisation, however all businesses will need to upgrade before Skype for Business retires July 31st 2021.
Microsoft are offering users and administrators tools and guidance to help assist them in the upgrade to Microsoft Teams.
Smaller businesses that may not have dedicated IT resources are being offered assistance with upgrades from Microsoft directly. Eligible customers will receive notification of their upgrade through message centre notifications and email.
How does Skype for Business retirement affect business with hybrid configurations?
Customers will need to upgrade before Skype for Business retirement date, however the upgrade paths for hybrid configurations built around interoperability and coexistence will remain after the retirement of Skype for Business.
Microsoft is encouraging customers with eligible subscriptions to engage with their FastTrack team for assistance with onboarding.
Skype for Business to Teams upgrade
Is there a firm deadline by which customers need to move to Microsoft Teams?
Yes. Skype for Business will no longer be accessible after 31st july 2021. Microsoft encourages business to plan their upgrade now to make ample time for the migration.
How long will my upgrade take?
The time frame can be defined by your business. Microsoft have developed comprehensive guides for upgrading based upon a proven framework, these guides are designed to help you navigate both the organisational and technical elements of the upgrade.
Microsoft's upgrade success framework can be found here.
Is there a recommended upgrade path for Skype for Business?
Microsoft has dedicated upgrade guidance resources to identify and implement the best upgrade path for your business. It is recommended that your plan your upgrade path using these.
Where can I learn about coexistence modes in the Microsoft Teams admin center?
Within your Microsoft Teams admin centre you will notice several options for coexistence modes. These enable your organisation to manage your Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams upgrade in the best way for your organisation.
What should I do to prepare for my upgrade?
A robust planning process is the key to success. Validation of your workforces acceptance and technical readiness all need to be considered. Whilst you may establish that your are not quite ready to upgrade yet the planning process can begin.
Microsoft offer workshops online which are live and interactive, sharing guidance, best practices and resources designed to aid the planning and implementation of upgrades.
I'm already running Microsoft Teams alongside Skype, can I just disable my Skype for Business?
No, If your business is ready to upgrade fully to Microsoft Teams take time to let your users know and to get familiar with Teams. When you are ready to make the full switch you can switch users to Teams only mode to complete your upgrade.
Do I have to upgrade all of my users at the same time?
No, You have the flexibility to upgrade users when it suits you best. You can upgrade whole teams or keep it to individual users or upgrade your entire organisation in one go. Microsoft has dedicated resources to help you understand the optimal approach to upgrading for your business.
What happens after my users are upgraded?
Once your users are upgraded to Microsoft Teams (Teams only mode):
- Their Skype for Business will be disabled. All chat and calls will go to their Teams.
- Previously scheduled Skype for Business meetings will work as before, however any new meetings will be scheduled in Teams.
- Any sign in attempts will alert users that they have been upgraded to Teams.
- Users will need to manually uninstall their Skype for Business mobile app.
Will users still be able to use Skype for Business after the upgrade notification has been activated in their client?
Yes. Upgrade notifications are simply to alert users that they will be upgrading to Teams shortly and a call to get them started with Team if they haven't already.
Microsoft Teams capabilities and roadmap
What are the benefits of Teams back-end infrastructure?
Built for the cloud on a highly scalable architecture provides users with efficient bandwidth consumption and upgrades and maintenance that come with minimal disruption. The result is a faster experience for users, with quicker meeting join times, better browser experience and mitigating the need for browser plug-ins and extensions.
The modern infrastructure offers capabilities within Microsoft Cognitive Services, including transcription, translation, speech recognition and even machine learning, all of which make for a more efficient collaboration solution.
Will third-party development opportunities be available in Teams?
Yes. As a key benefit of adopting Microsoft Teams, app integrations are fully supported. Microsoft currently support connectors, extensions and third-party bots with an extensive range of add-ins available to Teams users in the app store.
Is Teams available in Office 365 Education?
Teams is available in all Office 365 for Education suite licensing.
What is the plan for Teams voice capabilities?
Microsoft offers voice calling plans which provide complete support for calling.
Wavenet offers enhanced voice calling through their TeamsLink product which takes voice calling to the next level, including advanced contact centre capabilities.
What is the guidance for customers already deployed on Phone System (Cloud PBX) in Skype for Business Online?
You can continue to use your phone system as per your licensing agreement. The same applies for enterprise voice users.
Is Audio Conferencing coverage in Microsoft Teams the same as Skype for Business?
The coverage will remain the same for both products with over 90 countries and 400 cities supported, Microsoft plans to grown it's reach as Microsoft Teams continues to develop.
Are third-party audio conferencing providers supported in Teams?
Microsoft does not support third-party ACP. Audio conferencing services are supplied in Office 365. Customers needing to leverage ACP support in Skype for Business meetings can continue to use their Skype for Business client to join meetings, with Teams meetings needing to utilise the services of Office 365.
Will there be video interoperability for support for Teams meetings?
Several meeting room devices are available for Microsoft Teams and will be shows as official Microsoft licensed products. Cloud video interoperability services with existing VTC systems are also available.
Will Skype Room Systems v2 support meetings in Teams?
Skype Room Systems were rebranded to Microsoft Teams Rooms which fully support Microsoft Teams meetings, making this an uncomplicated migration path to Teams by simply enabling Teams on the device.
In addition, users can identify nearby Microsoft Teams Rooms via proximity detection, join meetings with a single-click, whiteboard and dual screen support. Microsoft continues to roll out new features like content camera with intelligent capture.
Skype Rooms System v1 reached end of support October 9th 2018 and will no longer support product updates or fixes. If you business is using Skype Rooms System v1 you are advised to upgrade your device to Microsoft Teams Rooms.
What are the management capabilities for Teams?
Microsoft Teams can be administered within the microsoft 365 admin centre. Within the portal administrators can create custom apps, chat, meeting and voice policies and assign those policies to individual or group Teams users.
Can I use Teams on Surface Hub?
Teams meetings is now available on Surface Hub and includes meeting and calling experiences.
Will current third-party IP phones continue to work with Microsoft Teams?
Users migrating to Microsoft Teams from Skype for Business will only have a limited functionality set after Skype for Business retirement.
Enable external voice calling from within your Microsoft Teams client securely and efficiently with TeamsLink from Wavenet. Make and receive UK, international and mobile calls even with non-Teams contacts with reliable and cost-effective calling bundles.
TeamsLink and Microsoft Teams will give you the power to boost your business into a high-performing, collaborative team allowing you to share files and collaborate on working documents in real-time, with instant messaging built directly into the platform.
TeamsLink gives your business the ability to easily hold online meetings, with your team, or even your customers and prospects no matter where you are. Even if you miss the meeting, have to leave early or have arrived late, you can easily listen to the meeting in your own time as Microsoft Teams can store the recording for you.