Since its introduction in 2014, Skype for Business has been a valuable tool for people all over the world. It revolutionised the way we communicated and established a new vision for business communications. However, the glory days of Skype for Business are over with the service coming to an end on 31 July 2021. Microsoft made the announcement in mid-2019, and with this deadline fast approaching, existing customers are being encouraged to switch to Microsoft Teams. 

The majority of businesses have already made the switch but there may be, some organisations still using Skype for Business, that haven’t made the change. 

This will no doubt raise some questions and concerns if you’re a Skype for Business user or have considered the service for your organisation. We uncover some of the details behind Microsoft’s decision and what steps are in place to ensure a smooth transition to Teams.

Why now?

Over the years Microsoft made some radical changes to Skype for Business and some sizeable investments towards its development. In 2014, Microsoft even ended its own communication tool Lync, in favour of Skype for Business. The same thing is now happening with Teams. 

Despite its promise, the announcement shouldn’t come as a complete surprise as there was talk about making this move in 2017 when Lori Wright, general manager for Microsoft Teams and Skype product marketing said: 

“To achieve our vision for intelligent communications, we are bringing comprehensive calling and meetings capabilities into Teams…As we build out these capabilities, Teams will evolve as the primary client for intelligent communications in Office 365, replacing the current Skype for Business client over time.” 

How does Microsoft Teams stack up against Skype for Business? 

While Skype for Business provided useful tools like screen/video sharing, and outlook calendar integration, Teams goes further. Teams was designed unsurprisingly to support team and project-based collaboration, with the biggest change being the way you can create spaces for always on collaboration, file sharing and more. This new approach is designed to keep teams talking and reduce traditional methods such as email. 

Teams offers all the communication capabilities of Skype for Business: calls, instant messaging, video and audio conferencing. But it also has several other features which make it an effective hub for collaboration. In Teams, you can share and save files, edit files together and view your calendar, all within a single app. 

Ultimately Teams makes your communication more streamlined and relevant, as you can create individual teams and channels for specific projects. 

Making the migration from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams 

To prepare for the move we recommend the following steps to give you the best start.  

Begin preparing your users – Start as soon as possible and understand the new features Teams brings to the table. Teams can bring a wealth of benefits to your organisation when used correctly, so it’s important to ensure all relevant users and stakeholders are across the process of migration.

Create plans for governance – With the vast capabilities of Teams it is essential to create a plan for best practice and to maximise its benefitsBy providing a clear set of guidelines, users can understand exactly what Teams can do and begin managing their workload effectively. 

Get ready for implementation – Now for the technical part, ensure the right people are on top of the setup and testing of Teams. Make sure they understand the featuresall security capabilities and can phase in the application to relevant users.

What if I take no action?

Will you automatically be moved to Teams? Currently, Microsoft does not offer a scheduled upgrade for organisations, except for smaller clients who may not have dedicated IT resources. The move to teams is relatively straight forward unless you use Skype for calls, in which case we would recommend getting some assistance in making the move. There are also Microsoft resources available to help you through the migration process which we have included at the end of this blog. 

It’s important to note, while those who use Skype for Business Online will not be affected immediately, we would recommend starting the migration process as soon as you can. Microsoft has already discontinued the service for new users since 1 September 2020 providing them with Teams as the central base for communication.

What support is available?

Microsoft offers comprehensive guidance and resources for customers who want to upgrade their Skype for Business users to Teams. There’s also a proven success framework, best practices, planning documents, instructor-led training, and FastTrack onboarding assistance for eligible subscriptions. 

Need help migrating to Microsoft Teams? Bridgeall is a leading Office 365 partner with experience of implementing and supporting Microsoft Teams for a wide range of organisations. Contact us to discuss your migration.