In September 2017, Microsoft announced the transition from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams. Since Teams has a more modern cloud infrastructure, their goal is to create an intelligent communication platform that leverages AI, LinkedIn, and Graphs with voice, meeting, and video capabilities. Ultimately, they want one hub for all communication including contacts, conversations, and content.
So, what does this mean for people currently using Skype for Business?
Not much! Microsoft has not set a specific deadline for the transition. Unless the current features of Teams meet your business requirements, you can plan on transitioning from one application to the other on your own time. However, if you’re deploying Skype for Business in the near future, you may want to look at Teams before moving forward. You’ll just want to align the capabilities from the application to your business needs using the roadmap here. Unfortunately, there’s no ETA on when Skype for Business capabilities will be available in Teams.
At this time, Microsoft recommends everyone to use Teams either by itself or in conjunction with Skype for Business. Currently, there are no plans for scheduled upgrades. Instead, customers can choose to move to Teams when it meets their business needs.
How will this affect on-premises Skype for Business servers?
In 2018, Microsoft will be rolling out a new version of Skype for Business Server. They have no plans to discontinue support at this time.
If you decide to switch to Teams, you’ll be able to use your current devices like IP phones just like you do now.
How will the transition work?
Microsoft will provide guidance, coach marks and support when transiting from Skype for Business to Teams. Licensing for Teams can be found in the Office 365 suites.
There’ll be a number of new innovations including:
- Basic call features like transfer and hold.
- Calls to and from PSTN numbers.
- Advances in voice and meetings.
- Easier search for chat histories.
- Enhanced video capabilities where Microsoft is partnering with Blue Jeans and Pexip.
Things to be noted:
- Microsoft will continue to support Skype for Business Office 365 and on-premises servers.
- There’s no plan to remove Skype for Business from Office 365 any time soon.
- The brand Skype will still be used for consumers and commercial on-premises solutions. We’ll also see certain capabilities in Teams with the brand Skype.