MS Teams vs. Skype
How to Plan Your Upgrade

Your Guide to Upgrading Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams

You drive your car into the garage in the evening and close the gate. The next morning you open it up again and – discover a truck sitting there! Some Microsoft Skype for Business customers could soon experience similar things when they start up their computers in the morning and find that their Skype for Business tool has transformed into the collaboration solution Teams, practically overnight. The simple explanation: Microsoft has integrated Skype for Business into Teams – as announced. But there was no mention that besides offering a variety of upgrade paths, Microsoft would automatically switch certain customer groups to Teams without necessarily informing the individual users beforehand! The Skype for Business/Teams issue raises questions. Our expert provides the answers.

Added Value or a Problem?

Automatic or initiated by the user: Does the update bring added value – or a set of problems? After all (to stick with our analogy), the truck might be precisely what the user wanted – but too broad to fit through the narrow garage doors or to let anyone climb in. Which risks are conceivable, and what way of using Teams is best for the individual companies themselves? One need only consider the concept of hybrid solutions. But let’s take the journey from Skype for Business to Teams one step at a time.

Microsoft used the Ignite Conference in September 2017 to announce its plans to bring the communications tool Skype for Business into the fold of the collaboration solution Teams. The company reported that it had completed integration in June 2018.

How will Skype for Business Become Teams?

But how exactly will the upgrade from Skype for Business to Teams take place? Microsoft offers the following three options:

  • The do-it-yourself upgrade: In this case the IT admins upgrade their own users to Microsoft Teams.
  • Service provider upgrades: Here, an authorized Microsoft Partner takes charge of upgrading the tenants and/or the users on behalf of the customer.
  • Then there is a third option. For customers/tenants with fewer than 500 users, Microsoft provides what it calls an “automatic process” upgrade. This refers to the consent given in the Cloud

Agreement to receive regular updates without the need for each one to be confirmed individually every time. This would be the largest customer group by far – so most of the questions relate specifically to this issue.

Microsoft’s roadmap is as follows:

Tenants without usage will be upgraded automatically from October onwards. Microsoft will also upgrade voluntary test tenants in October, followed by all tenants with 500 users from November. Tenants with more than 500 users are not included in the Microsoft plan for the time being.

Other noteworthy details

Contacts

Contacts – like Skype for Business client settings or buddy lists – will be migrated from Skype to Teams. External or connected partner contacts (Federation) will be migrated as well, but will not be shown in the client (as things stand). Skype consumer contacts will not be shown, as they are unsupported in Teams. The Skype for Business client will still be available for meetings, but customers will be unable to chat, place calls or access their contacts.

Functions/features

Microsoft has added a number of functions to Teams that are associated with Skype. They are shown here. But customers will not find all the individual functions of Skype for Business in Teams, as Microsoft sees Teams as an upgrade to what Skype was able to offer. Nonetheless, Microsoft is aware that customers are adamant that they want certain other functions and will prioritize these requirements via UserVoice.

Conversation history

Users are also advised to save the conversation history in the Outlook client prior to the update. Storage might not be required if a suitable configuration is already in place, but validation might be necessary. Microsoft is currently working on the client updates to ensure that conversation histories remain accessible after the upgrade to Teams. Customers are advised to refer to the Service Desk Guide for information in this regard.

Hybrid, Exchange and Teams

There are currently no plans for automatic upgrades of hybrid scenarios. Nevertheless, Microsoft urgently advises companies to consult with an authorized partner for assistance. There is also a reference document with information on things that need to be considered if Exchange and Teams will be connected.

Timeframe

Be aware: If a rollback is necessary, it needs to be managed via Microsoft Support. It is also possible to prevent or exclude migration. As things stand, customers can delay migration by 30 days, but a precise date by which the tenants need to have been migrated has not yet been set.

Policies

Teams will come with the same adaptable policies that were available in Skype for Business, for instance the CsClientPolicy or the CsConferencingPolicy.

Customers that are considering a connection with Enterprise-VoIP / PBX systems are urgently advised by Microsoft to consult an authorized partner, as Enterprise-VoIP does not permit any automatic upgrades. The same applies to CCE, as automatic upgrades are not available. In this case also, Microsoft strongly advises customers to consult an authorized partner to obtain the necessary information.

Need Help with the Automatic Integration of Skype for Business into Teams?

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  • Thursday 22 November 2018

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Author

Markus Martwich Team Manager Office 365 Communication

Cloud, Modern Workplace

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