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7 Must Have Office 365 Apps #2: Skype for Business

Mo Anwar | | January 17, 2019

There are big changes happening when it comes to Microsoft’s Skype for Business Online. Here’s what you need to know.

Skype for Business Online is Being Replaced by Teams

Up until October 2018, Skype for Business Online was Microsoft’s cross-platform solution for making calls, holding meetings and working together in real time in the cloud. It also integrated with Office 365. Now, Microsoft’s vision for Unified Communications is leading to a transition from Skype to the Teams cloud application.

According to Microsoft, Teams offers a more seamless integration of their communication features. As users are becoming more team-oriented, the Teams application offers a central place for interaction, collaboration, contacts and content. In addition, Teams offers a modern cloud infrastructure that can take advantage of Microsoft’s artificial intelligence capabilities.

If you’re using Skype for Business with Office 365, you’ll be able to identify a migration plan that meets your needs. For more information, you can download a PDF file called Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams Capabilities Roadmap. It provides information on planning your migration to Teams, but you can also run Teams and Skype for Business together until Teams meets all of your needs.

Keep in mind that most new Office 365 customers will use Teams from the outset and won’t have access to Skype for Business Online.

Skype for Business Server 2019 is Here

As of the end of October 2018, Microsoft announced Skype for Business Server 2019 as a generally available product. The intent is to let customers continue to use Skype for Business on premise. In that configuration, it’s also possible for those users to take advantage of some cloud features.

The cloud features on the server currently available include:

  • Access to Cloud Voicemail. It won’t matter if your users are based on premise or online, they will have access to Cloud Voicemail.
  • Cloud Call Data Connector. This will simplify monitoring call quality in hybrid environments.
  • Easy Teams Migration. Simple admin tools allow administrators to move users from on-premise to Teams.

Microsoft will continue to add capabilities to the Skype for Business Server 2019 product. They are committed to providing customers with both on-premise and cloud capabilities.

What’s Happening to the Skype Brand?

Microsoft indicates that Skype will stay in their range of products. It will continue to be used in the consumer market, and in the on-premise version in the business space.

Tips for Migrating from Skype to Teams

Migrating from Skype to Teams is the equivalent of introducing a new system to the users in your organization. While some of the capabilities are the same in the two products, how you use them is very different. In addition, there are a slew of new capabilities that have been added that requires careful planning for a successful migration.

Start by obtaining support from your organization’s stakeholders, defining a migration plan, and then communicate to the organization. You need to determine how ready your users are for the change. As usual, some users will be early adopters and others will hang on to Skype to avoid learning something new.

It’s a good idea to pilot the use of Teams with your most enthusiastic users. Microsoft has helped ease the transition by allowing the systems to be used concurrently.

After that, you can follow the implementation plan you use for introducing other technology. For example, obtain feedback from the pilot users and determine how to address issues and concerns, and then conduct the training necessary for users to be successful with the new system.

Final Thoughts

The migration from Skype to Teams will be an exciting journey for many users. If you have questions about making your migration successful, contact us today.

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