If you haven’t heard, Microsoft announced the end of life for Skype for Business in Office 365. Initially in 2017 Microsoft announced that Microsoft Teams would replace Skype for Business, and since then its customers have been wondering about the cut-over deadline. According to their blog post that deadline is now July 31, 2021.
Current users will continue to be able to use Skype for Business as usual until July 31, 2021 with no change in service, including adding new users. However, Microsoft has discontinued Skype for Business for new Office 365 customers as of September 1, 2019. Now all new Office 365 customers will be on-boarded to Teams for chat, meetings, and calling.
How Microsoft is Helping Customers Migrate to Teams
In 2017 Microsoft launched Teams as the “hub for teamwork” combining chat, video, calling, and document collaboration into a single integrated application. But Teams isn’t just an upgrade for Skype for Business. It’s helping organizations improve collaboration overall by enabling companies to:
- Become more agile
- Shorten cycle times
- Improve key workflow efficiencies
- Cut out unnecessary overhead
Your organization can benefit from beginning the migration planning process today, even if you aren’t quite ready to fully flip the switch.
Resources for Administrators
Of course, neither Microsoft nor Crossfuze would ask customers to navigate this transition alone. Microsoft has launched a resource center called FastTrack, with free planning documents, best practices, and tutorials to help administrators better understand the platform and to prepare for migration. And for more in-depth and custom support, Crossfuze offers:
- Custom migration planning
- Expert implementation
- On-boarding assistance
- Admin training
Integrating Teams with Third-party Audio Conferencing
When considering the integration of third-party audio-conferencing providers, Microsoft offers three paths to choose from:
1. Migrate to Microsoft Audio Conferencing
Organizations that choose this path and complete their migration before July 31, 2021 won’t see any impact to their service during or after that date.
2. Continue to Separately Use a Third-Party Audio Conferencing Provider
Organizations that choose this path on and after July 31, 2021 will be affected because a third-party ACP won’t be able to be used to join a Skype for Business meeting and new meetings will not include third-party ACP dial-in information.
3. Stop Using Dial-in Conferencing Altogether
Organizations that choose this path will not be impacted.
Microsoft encourages its Skype for Business customers to start using Teams and begin planning their upgrades now. It’s important to allow ample time to complete the upgrade prior to the retirement date. By taking the time to communicate to users about the upgrade and allowing them to adapt to Teams, this will help ensure a positive upgrade experience.
Ensuring a Successful Migration
While the technical aspect of the migration to Teams is critical, there is one often-overlooked area that is just as essential to success: training and end-user enablement. For users, Teams is a huge paradigm shift, and therefore the most successful organizations focus on investing in persona-driven training materials and core enablement activities. When users see the value of Teams to their specific role and how they can use it in their daily operations, they’ll adopt it as part of the company culture overall.
Final Thoughts - How Crossfuze Can Help
Announcing the retirement of the Skype for Business Online service is a commitment to Microsoft’s confidence in Teams as the next chapter in the new vision for business communications. The migration journey from Skype for Business to Teams represents a transformation in how your users communicate and collaborate – it means change for your users and change isn’t always easy.
Crossfuze is a Microsoft Gold Partner here to help organizations navigate these changes and find success with Microsoft Cloud solutions. Our expertise across the Microsoft 365 portfolio of services and tools means we are uniquely positioned to help organizations implement, support, and adopt them to maximize their productivity, efficiency, and security.
To learn more about how we can help you with the Skype for Business Online end of life program and your migration to Teams, contact us at LetsTalk@crossfuze.com.