The 2011 news of Microsoft’s purchase of Skype signalled that something big was in the works. Therefore, it came as no surprise when in 2017, Microsoft announced a transition of Skype for Business (S4B) users over to Microsoft Teams from 2018, and now Microsoft has announced that Skype for Business Online will be retired on July 31, 2021.
This article provides details on the switch over, a brief explanation of why Microsoft is making this announcement now, and a summary of what Microsoft is doing to help customers migrate to Teams. If you or your IT admin are affected by this transition, we have assembled some fast facts to help you understand how this will affect you in our Q&As below.
Q: What’s changing with Skype for Business and why?
A: On the back of the popular uptake of Office 365 and increasing use of its suite of productivity apps. Microsoft has been promoting its Teams add-on feature as the suite’s central collaboration hub for facilitating collaboration across the apps. By integrating S4B functionality into Teams, Microsoft is intermeshing communications, voice and video across the core suite of Office 365 apps.
Creating a central hub which supports all your employee’s workplace conversations, contact, collaboration and content requirements – in the cloud!
Q: “We use Skype for Business (S4B)! What do we need to do?”
A: Since September 2018, Microsoft has been automatically scheduling upgrades for affected clients as follows:-
- If not already received, you (or your technology partner) will receive a notice via email or via the Office 365 Message Center with the title “Teams is Ready”, prompting you to upgrade to Microsoft Teams.
- This communication will include a proposed upgrade date.
- You will receive a number of email reminders ahead of your scheduled upgrade date.
- S4B users will also receive a notice in S4B notifying them of the change
- On the scheduled date, you will be upgraded to Teams.
Many small-to-medium-sized S4B customers will have their upgrade automatically scheduled by Microsoft through the process above. Larger organisations may need to work with a technology partner to plan and manage their upgrade timeline.
Q: “What’s going to change after the upgrade?”
A: Once you have been upgraded, you will notice the following:
- Your S4B chats and calls will now be received in Microsoft Teams
- Your meetings will be scheduled in Microsoft Teams
- S4B will no longer offer Instant Messaging/Calling/Meeting scheduling functionality
- You will be redirected to Microsoft Teams when you sign on to S4B
- Microsoft Teams add-on will be enabled on Outlook
- The S4B Outlook add-in will be disabled
- Your S4B Contacts will be migrated to Microsoft Teams
- Your HID preferences will be updated (audio/mic are associated with MicrosoftTeams, not S4B)
1, All your S4B meetings scheduled before the upgrade will work as normal, but new meetings will need to be scheduled in Teams.
2, Your previously scheduled S4B meetings will connect via the S4B desktop client or Skype Web App.
3, You will need to uninstall the S4B client manually on your mobile device when you are ready.
Q: “We have S4B, but we don’t really use it…”
A: Well, it’s your lucky day! Now is your chance to explore Teams to see what you’ve been missing out on! You will be able to see for yourself how bringing content, collaboration and communication together can boost your team’s productivity. Check out our Top Tip below for how to get started, and contact us[SD1] here or call 1300 629 786 to come in for a demo!
Q: “We use S4B, but I’m not really sure we’re ready for Teams….”
A: Absolutely fine. In most instances, you will be able to run S4B and Teams side by side until you have had a chance to prepare – communicating changes with your team members, supporting user readiness and training for your move to Teams mode.
Once you’re set to make the transition to Teams, we suggest testing out Teams on a small scale, while experimenting and collecting feedback from a small set of early users.
This will help you towards tailoring a full organisation-wide roll out further down the line. Practically, testing might mean starting small with the chat features or setting up test teams while you gain familiarity with the broader capabilities of the service.
Considerations for the Move from S4B to Teams: The Bigger Picture
We understand that this will be the first foray of many clients into Microsoft Teams, and we’re very excited about assisting our clients through the transition. However, the functionality of Teams expands beyond communications capabilities alone, and this is why we recommend a two-step approach:
Step 1: Create a plan for your transition from using S4B to Teams. If you have relied heavily on Skype for Business in the past, you will need to ensure that your team will be able to effectively utilise the communications capabilities in Teams. This means that you will need to have a transition plan in place which includes communications and materials to guide your team members through the change. If you are a larger organisation, or if you use Skype for Business on-premises or for hybrid configurations, you will need to work hand-in-hand with your technology partner to implement some additional planning!
Step 2: Grow into Teams. Ensure that you take time to explore the broader content, contact, collaboration and communications features of Teams to assess their synchrony. You will need to work closely with your business technology partner to plan and develop this intricate project, especially if you are a larger organisation or have Skype for Business on-premises or hybrid configurations. Your plans will include:
- A general assessment to understand the benefits of the broader Microsoft Teams offering to your organisation
- A governance-related discussion regarding the security, privacy and administrative functions and policies which underpin effective use of Teams
- A transition plan and timeline which ensures a smooth, seamless transition which tracks progress and usage against organisational goals;
- A change management program which includes ongoing communications and training to ensure successful adoption across the organisation.
Helping businesses to make the move to Teams and make the most out of their Office and Microsoft 365 investment is a key focus of Linktech Australia. As you progress through your S4B to Teams upgrade, keep on the lookout for more Linktech Australia content and workshops to assist you through this transition.
- Microsoft Teams: Migrating from Skype for Business
- 6 Ways Microsoft Teams Improves Workplace Collaboration
To find out more, get a free Microsoft Teams migration assessment to get the ball rolling!