This Fall, Microsoft opened the doors to its flagship conference, Microsoft Ignite, which brought us a week of networking, insights, and technical advancements. One of the more exciting announcements included the much speculated about integration of Skype for Business Online into Microsoft Teams.
During his key note, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella highlighted a shift in technology paradigms from technology-first, cloud-first technology to intelligent cloud and intelligent communications that empower employees in the Modern Workplace in order to be more creative and collaborative. In this sense, Microsoft announced that Skype for Business, which has doubled its usage worldwide in the past 12 months, will be joining forces with the latest Microsoft unified communications technology – Microsoft Teams. Teams is already being used by over 125,000 organizations, demonstrating its popularity and traction since its launch in March 2017.
A single hub for seamless collaboration & communication – Microsoft Teams
Microsoft’s new vision for intelligent communication is supposed to go beyond traditional Unified Communications to enable teams to complete tasks more efficiently, increase productivity and help organizations more effectively manage the entire communications lifecycle in a single platform. Microsoft Teams brings together file storage, chat-based communications, and collaboration tools to form a single hub for teamwork in Office 365. This will now be combined with enterprise-grade voice and audio calling to become the primary client for intelligent communications in Office 365.
What does this all mean for your organization? Let`s have a look at the details:
- Microsoft Teams will be the new front-end application with modern User Interface (UI) capabilities for the end-user and collaboration and productivity tools all in one fat client; including OneNote, OneDrive, Excel, Word, Persistent Chat (or Chat History), Telephony, Desktop Share, Meeting & Conferencing, Planner, and SharePoint Sites
- Enterprise Voice features (inbound and outbound calls to PSTN numbers, including hold, call transfer, voicemail, and audio conferencing) will be brought to Microsoft Teams.
- Microsoft Teams has the same HTML5 architecture across all client devices
- New media stack ensures enhanced network performance and voice quality
- Single Admin Center for Skype for Business and Teams
With that being said – what about organizations that use Skype for Business on-premises? Do they have to let go of their on-premises environments immediately? It is important to note that the Skype for Business on-premises client is still king. Microsoft remains committed to Skype for Business server for on-premises and hybrid customer needs. This means:
- Skype for Business client can still be used for the foreseeable future (side by side or Teams only)
- Standard Edition server version, Persistent Chat and the Director Role of Skype for Business will be discontinued
- For hybrid setups, cloud workloads will be used (this includes call queues, voicemail, auto attendant, authentication, etc.)
In addition, Microsoft is going to release an official roadmap for the new communication & collaboration releases later in October 2017. Based on what we know today, we expect to see a transition period of some length for you to be able to assess when Microsoft Teams in Office 365 is right for your organization
If you would like to learn more about all of the features to come, we invite you to our UC Expert Talk – an exclusive online session where we provide detailed information on the future of communication and collaboration.
In addition, schedule individualized consulting today to find out how the future of communication & collaboration can shape your organization and let us help you make the right choices early in your decision-making process for Microsoft Teams in the cloud, as well as, Skype for Business on-premises and hybrid deployments.