Microsoft Teams is the successor to Microsoft's Skype for Business platform. It is a real-time cloud communication & collaboration platform for video conferencing, real-time discussions, document sharing and editing designed to enhance company productivity.
In addition to the traditional unified communications (UC) features of Skype for Business (SfB), Teams is designed around a persistent group chat space that integrates several functions constituting a workstream collaboration (WSC) application. Teams becomes a point of entry where members work with a range of Microsoft365 tools in a group context. This means that Teams moves beyond just being a WSC application and converges multiple technology categories into a single platform. This functional convergence results in Teams becoming a multi-purpose activity hub for the entire enterprise regardless of physical or digital location.
After the retirement of Skype for Business Online on 31st July 2021, you will not be able to access the platform and it will no longer be supported. Therefore, Microsoft (and Pyramid Consulting) is advising you to start migrating to Teams. Start planning your upgrades now so you have enough time to complete the migration.
Start your migration journey by getting familiar with Microsoft Teams and its superior features.
There are two methods for moving from Skype for Business Online to Teams:
Overlapping Capabilities Method (using Islands mode):
Skype for Business Online users of an organization are introduced to Teams so that they can use both the platforms side by side during the migration phase. During this period, most, but not all, functionalities of Teams are available to the users. The mode for this method is referred to as Islands and is the default mode for any existing organization with Skype for Business Online. Once the migration is done, the administrator can switch to TeamsOnly mode.
Select Capabilities Method (using one or more of the Skype modes):
The administrator manages the transition of meeting, chat and calling functionalities from Skype to Teams. Each of these functions is available either in Skype or Teams, but not both. Administrators use TeamsUpgradePolicy when shifting these functionalities to Teams for their users. Users who are not in TeamsOnly mode continue to use Skype for Business Online for calls and chats.
Like Skype, Teams facilitates Instant Messaging, but unlike Skype, it is equipped with persistent chat — which allows you to see a record of previous chats/conversations. Finding important information in Teams is easy as the platform's saved history provides relevant context to current discussions. You can also communicate effectively and securely with vendors and co-workers, allowing new members to easily enter into the dialogue.
Although most of the basic video conferencing features in both the platforms are the same, the experience is much better in Teams. Teams allows outside guests to attend virtual meetings, recording of meetings in the cloud, advanced video customizations etc.
The main reason for switching to Teams from Skype for Business Online is the former's native integration with the Office 365 suite. On Teams, it's easier to collaborate in real-time on SharePoint documents. Teams can also be integrated with apps like Microsoft Planner and Outlook to save time.
Teams empowers you with the ability to set up virtual meetings with better features than Skype for Business Online. Some of the new capabilities of Teams meetings include cloud recording, file sharing, note-taking, and meeting transcription with voice recognition and encoding.
Along with the native Office 365 integration, Teams works great with an astounding list of third-party apps that are not from Microsoft. Some of those apps are Salesforce, Asana, Trello, Github and many more.
Switching to a single solution for multiple purposes helps reduce the costs to train and support multiple systems of the business as everything is consolidated into a single platform.
What support does Microsoft provide to customers switching to Teams?
Microsoft and its partners help businesses moving to Teams with guidance and tools to control and manage the process. Microsoft eases up the transition for new users with a specialized first-run experience and in-product coach marks.
Why do I need to migrate? Can’t I simply delete Skype for Business Online and install Teams?
Upgrading from Skype for Business Online to Teams is more than just a technical migration. It represents a comprehensive transformation in how users collaborate and communicate. An ideal migration approach addresses the technical aspects and encourages user acceptance.
Will Skype Meeting Broadcast retire at the same time as Skype for Business?
Yes. Teams Live Events is the successor of Skype Meeting Broadcast.
Hopefully, the host of new capabilities in Microsoft Teams have convinced you to give Teams a try. If you are still using Skype for Business Online, we recommend starting your migration planning now as you don't have much time. However, don’t jump abruptly! For any successful technical implementation, you must have a proper roadmap, governance framework and the right migration partner. Pyramid Consulting, with its Microsoft prowess, helps global companies achieve a seamless and successful transition from Skype for Business Online to Teams.