Your Journey
From Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams

Your Journey From Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams

  • Thino Ullmann
  • Unified Communications, User Productivity
  • Trends, Office 365, Skype
Microsoft’s announcement that Microsoft Teams will replace Skype for Business came like a bolt from the blue for many companies! Setting out the terms for the conversion, Microsoft published the Roadmap until Q4 2018 during Ignite. The aim is that Teams will replace Skype for Business incl. the client. But changes take time, especially in companies that already operate a Skype for Business landscape. So how can the transition be managed successfully? Our expert Thino Ullmann provides some useful and practical tips.

Skype for Business & Teams: "Islands mode"

This is the standard (default) mode. Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams can be used simultaneously without restricting individual functions to one platform.

Microsoft Skype for Business & Teams: “Islands mode” is interesting for companies that want to deploy Microsoft Teams as quickly as possible. But to ensure this happens, the entire team requires extensive training before rollout, as proceeding otherwise might create confusion as to the overlapping functions of both platforms – “What function do I use in which setting?”

  • Situation: Smaller or simpler Skype for Business deployment
    Ability and willingness to manage some short-term complexity to move to Teams more quickly
  • Short-term goals: Go to the full Teams experience as quickly as possible
    Conduct a proof of concept (PoC) of Teams
  • Advantages: Simple to operate, no interoperability
    Best Teams experience up-front for all capabilities
  • Caveats: Requires good user communication to avoid confusion and to drive usage toward Teams.
    Exit strategy requires users to have fully adopted Teams by the time Skype for Business is decommissioned

Source: Microsoft

Skype for Business & Teams: "Collaboration–only mode"

This mode has practically no overlaps between Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business. A significant proportion of the communication continues to run on Skype for Business, as the features like private chats, calling and meetings are disabled in Microsoft Teams.

The Microsoft Teams collaboration-only mode is particularly interesting for companies that just recently introduced Skype for Business. The clear delimitation of functions prevents any confusion as to which tool the employees should use for the individual forms of communication.

  • Situation: Skype for Business deployment with requirements that aren’t yet met by Teams (for example, advanced compliance)
    Long-term need for and/or commitment to Skype for Business
  • Short-term goals: Start Teams adoption quickly, focusing on group collaboration first
    Want to keep all unified communications workloads on Skype for Business for now
  • Advantages: No overlapping capabilities between Teams and Skype for Business
    Instant messaging and chat will reside in Skype for Business (tied to calling)

Source: Microsoft

Skype for Business & Microsoft Teams: "Collaboration and Meetings mode"

Unlike in “collaboration-only mode”, the planning and organization of meetings are now also included in the range of possible functions. Private chats, as well as voice and video calls, remain on the Skype for Business platform as usual.

The Microsoft Teams “collaboration and meetings mode” is interesting for companies that are planning a soft transition to Microsoft Teams and that, as part of a first step, are keen to exploit initial added value in the form of Team’s meeting functions, without creating a hard break between the two platforms. Proceeding in this way gradually introduces employees to the additional benefits of Microsoft Teams.

  • Situation: Skype for Business deployment with significant use of enterprise voice and requirements that aren’t yet met by Teams calling
    Long-term need for and/or commitment to Skype for Business
    Might be using a third-party meeting service
  • Short-term goals: Start Teams adoption quickly, going beyond group collaboration
    Improve your users’ meetings experience
  • Advantages: No overlapping capabilities
    High-value meetings on Teams (WebRTC, cloud meeting recordings, and so on)
  • Caveats: Instant messaging and chat will reside in Skype for Business (tied to calling)

Source: Microsoft

Skype for Business & Teams: "Teams-only mode"

In this mode, Microsoft Teams is used as the primary communication and collaboration tool for employees in “Teams-only mode”, e.g. for IM, chat, status display, calling or meeting functions. Nevertheless, communication with employees that are not in “Teams-only mode” remains possible thanks to the interoperability functions between Teams and Skype.

This mode is interesting for companies that plan a soft migration to Microsoft Teams, or that will introduce a first step in which only individual user groups, workgroups, locations or company departments will be provided with the full functionality of Microsoft Teams.

  • Situation: Some users need to stay on Skype for Business
    You’re upgrading your Skype for Business Online users to Teams while keeping Skype for Business on-premises users on Skype for Business Server. You might have already deployed users in islands mode and are ready to retire Skype for Business for groups of users.
  • Short-term goals: Reduce variable costs on Skype for Business (on-premises server operations, outsourcing contract, and so on)
    Go to the full Teams experience as quickly as possible, for at least some users
  • Advantages: Limits user confusion by providing only one client to work with
  • Caveats: Interoperability only supports basic chat and calling between Skype for Business and Teams

Source: Microsoft

Skype for Business & Teams: "Skype for Business-only mode"

This mode will likely be particularly interesting for companies that do not want to make Microsoft Teams available to all employees. This mode disables Microsoft Teams for these staff members, while still permitting communication between the two solutions thanks to the interoperability function for Teams and Skype for Business.

Among other things, this mode would be useful for employee groups that only require the VoIP solutions by Skype – so production, reception and many others.

  • Situation: Some users need to stay on Skype for Business
  • Short-term goals: Limits user confusion by providing only one client to work with
  • Advantages: Continue to meet business requirements that currently can only be met by Skype for Business
  • Caveats: Interoperability only supports basic chat and calling between Skype for Business and Teams

Source: Microsoft

BIG Picture Skype for Business & Teams Coexistence / Upgrade

The following BIG picture illustrates very well which opportunities and modes exist for an upgrade to Microsoft Teams, i.e. for coexistence between the platforms.

Microsoft Teams upgrade models (all)
Source: Microsoft – Skype for Business & Teams Coexistence/ Upgrade

Successive upgrade models from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams:

Simple

Microsoft Teams upgrade model (simple)
Source: Microsoft – Skype for Business & Teams Coexistence/ Upgrade

Complex

Microsoft Teams upgrade models  (complex)
BIG Picture Skype for Business & Teams Coexistence/ Upgrade

Summary

In the long term, Microsoft will retire Skype for Business and replace it with Microsoft Teams. The company is offering a broad variety of opportunities to make sure that this transition proceeds smoothly. But no matter how diverse the options may be, companies still have to consider an immense variety of factors, among them the number of different generations within the company, regional organizations, locations, processes and many more.

Technical implementation is among the easier obstacles along the way. Indeed, transition will only be successful if employees are included at the heart of the process from an early stage, e.g. through training or a clear communication strategy, and only in this way will the benefits of Microsoft Teams as a collaboration strategy for the whole company become clear.


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  • Thursday 05 July 2018

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Author

Thino Ullmann, Senior Technical Presales Executive

Thino Ullmann Go-To-Market Manager Central Europe

Microsoft products with a focus on Modern Workplace and Cloud Computing

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