Getting Ready for Teams to Replace Skype for Business!

Author: Craig Pollack Date: May 23, 2019 Topics: General Business Owner Blogs, Cloud, Technology Trends

Did you know that Skype for Business Online is going away?  If you’re on Office 365, you may have already received an email from Microsoft notifying you of your impending upgrade to “Teams”.  Don’t fret.  It’s fairly painless.  And Teams adds a number of new options and features.

While the upgrade isn’t all that technically complicated to make happen, depending on the size of your organization and it’s physical make up (the number of locations), the impact to your organization during the initial transition could be a little bit more involved.

Similar to Skype for Business, Teams is what’s known in the industry as a “Unified Communications” (or “UC”) system.  As with any sort of company-wide application upgrade of this scope, this change will impact all of your desktops, your users, and you and your users’ mobile apps – and if it’s integrated with your phone system and web cams, a little bit more.  Like any system change of this size, this is something that should be properly architected, planned for, and then implemented in an organized fashion.  Otherwise, you may feel more pain from this “upgrade” than you really need to.

That said, let’s dive in a little deeper to see what Teams is all about…

What is Teams?

Microsoft Teams is a unified communications platform and/or collaboration app that combines persistent workplace chat, video meetings, file storage, and application integration. The service integrates with the company's Office 365 subscription office productivity suite and features extensions that can integrate with non-Microsoft products. 

At its most basic level, Teams is Microsoft’s answer to Slack.  Instant messaging (“IM”) and a whole lot more.  If you’re using Office 365 for email and Slack at the same time, and unless there’s some compelling reason for why you’re using Slack (ie: it’s your chosen communication channel for client interactions and it would be a hard change to impose upon them), we’d highly recommend moving to Teams to leverage the advantages integration with the rest of the 365 suite of tools brings. If you’re still hosting your email on-premise and are using Link for your inhouse IM, then here’s another compelling reason to move to the cloud and Office 365. 

From Microsoft’s web site, “Microsoft Teams is the hub for teamwork in Office 365. As the primary communications client for call, chat, video, and meetings, it will replace Skype for Business over time. Microsoft is committed to supporting your organization’s upgrade to Teams.”

Is There any Additional Cost to Upgrading to Teams?

Teams is available in the standard Office 365 suite Licenses. Premium capabilities in Skype will continue to be premium workloads in Teams as well, and organizations who made existing licensing investments will carry forward those investments into Teams. For example, if you have purchased Phone System and Calling services for Skype, they will also be enabled within Teams at no additional cost.

How do Upgrades Work and What happens after the Migration to Teams?

Depending on the size and complexity of your organization, a complete transition could be overnight or it could take a number of days, but you can start the journey by enabling your users to use Teams alongside Skype. To formally prepare, it’s necessary to start planning for upgrade scenarios that will allow your organization to embrace Teams as its central hub for communication.

Once users are upgraded to Teams, there is no need to disable Skype for Business. You can simply switch to “Teams Only” mode, and all chat, meetings, and phone calls will go to the Teams client. Any meetings scheduled through Skype before the upgrade will still work as designed, but new meetings will be scheduled in Teams. If users attempt to sign into Skype, they’ll receive a notification from their client that they have been upgraded. Users can also install the Teams mobile app to receive notifications on their phone. Naturally, any clean implementation process should include the removal of Skype from the system to ensure a complete and thorough transition.

Direct from the source, here's MIcrosoft's "FAQ - Upgrading from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams."

Overwhelmed? Don’t Be – FPA Can Help 

Upgrading from Skype for Business Online to Teams is more than just a technical migration – in many respects, it will be a transformation in how your users communicate. And as we all know, change is not always easy. FPA can help with every step of this migration process as well as help your organization find the ideal upgrade approach. While still a (relatively) new process, we have experience planning and performing this upgrade and assisting clients with making the decisions needed that make sense for their organization. We can assist in the technical aspects of the upgrade as well as assist with encouraging user adoption through a Teams Customer Immersion Experience (CIE). This is a great strategy to get your organization fully prepared and ready to integrate Teams into their everyday work situations.

Start your journey to Teams today.  While there’s no “official” rush, Microsoft is recommending upgrading as quickly as possible to optimize your benefits and ease the transition. Contact us today to help you make it a successful transition to Teams.

Have you transitioned to Teams already? How did it go? Want to learn more about what Teams can do for your organization in more detail? Share your experiences in the comments box below or shoot me an email if you’d like to chat about this in more detail.

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Craig Pollack

Craig Pollack

Craig is the Founder & CEO of FPA Technology Services, Inc. Craig provides the strategy and direction for FPA, ensuring its clients, business owners, and key decision makers leverage technology as efficiently and effectively as possible. With over 30 years of experience building the preeminent IT Service Provider in the Southern California area, Craig is one of the area’s leading authorities on how small to mid-sized businesses can best leverage and secure their technology to achieve their business objectives.