By Bryan Timm
While Skype is putting people in touch with their loved ones in a socially distant world; Skype for Business is saying goodbye to companies across the globe. It was announced last summer that Skype for Business Online would be retired on July 31, 2021. This leaves less than a year for companies still utilizing Skype for Business (SFBO) to transition to Microsoft Teams; the replacement product launched in 2017. It is much more than a replacement though, as Microsoft Teams brings together chat, meetings, calling, coloration, app integration, and file storage into a singular product; with an easy to navigate interface.
A Forrester Consulting survey done in 2019 shows us that utilizing Teams has so many benefits including:
- “Information workers save 4 hours per week from improved collaboration and information sharing.”
- “Companies reported reduced web conferencing, long-distance, mobile phone, and on-premises telephony solutions costs”
- “Decision makers improve their time-to-decision by 17.7%.”
What are some of the main advantages of using Microsoft Teams to Skype for Business?
- Chat history – Skype for business allowed real-time chat, but with no easily accessible history of the conversation
- Team Features – The ability to have private teams built out to have spaces to share, chat, and collaborate together
- Meetings – Live captions, whiteboard masking, and easy to access recordings all set Teams apart from its predecessor
- Integrations – Choose from hundreds of apps that integrate directly into Microsoft Teams, such as Confluence, Asana, Evernote, SurveyMonkey, and Github.
- Guest Access – Need to invite someone outside of the organization? Give them one-time guest access to your meetings or events with Microsoft Teams
- Storage – Files used in teams while create a SharePoint site, giving ease of access to a shared storage solution
The countdown has begun to start thinking about your business’ shift to Microsoft Teams. A true Teams deployment is more than just downloading the application, however. You’ll need to review your current configuration, and ensure that all appropriate pieces are moved over to Microsoft Teams. And if you need help, you can rely on technical experts like us!
One of the biggest questions asked: What’s the difference between Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams? Microsoft breaks this down:
What is the best feature of Microsoft Teams?
Channels allow your departments, teams, or sometimes your whole organization a single place to communicate, store files, and integrate apps; without cluttering up the view of other departments or teams who do not necessarily need it (ie: the Marketing team vs the Finance team).
You’ll still be able to communicate 1:1 or in any sized group with chats as well. You can A Forrester Consulting survey done in 2019 and take the conversation wherever you go!
What are some Microsoft Teams use cases?
Microsoft Teams is in use at one of the most recognizable names in the sky, Air France. Prior to utilizing Teams, frontline employees struggled to communicate effectively with each other. After its implementation, it allowed them to utilize Teams to collaborate in real-time on a OneNote; to share a summary of daily activities, schedules, and notes that are shared effectively through the cloud.
CenturyLink, a telecommunications company, is going through a strategic growth into a technology leader. Microsoft Teams is helping the company fit it’s new vision “One Company, One Culture” by helping employees stay connected. Cristi Robb, Manager of Information Technology, states that everyone now “works together on one platform to solve corporate problems and achieve our goal to serve customers better”.
Li & Fung, a global supply chain orchestrator, has leveraged Microsoft products & services, including Microsoft Teams, to help serve as a communication platform for their digital product development (DPD) solution. This DPD has helped saved them thousands of dollars and weeks of design time; keeping their business efficient and lean.
What are the main differences between Skype and Microsoft Teams?
How can Microsoft Teams help my team stay connected while working remotely?
Here at Managed Solution, we use Microsoft Teams for nearly everything. It allows us to call and stay connected through 1:1 calls, group calls, meetings, and Live Events; as well as serving as a document management solution that is accessible by only members of that Channel. Our team is located across North America and by utilizing Microsoft Teams we stay connected to each other 24/7 (when we aren’t out volunteering our time in the community).
What are some of the most frequently asked questions about upgrading from Skype to Teams?
- Is there a deadline to upgrade for Skype for Business Online customers? Yes. Skype for business online will be retired on July 31, 2021; at which point it will no longer be accessible or supported.
- How long does it take to upgrade? That depends on your wants and needs; but it is typically is a 4-6 week process.
- My organization is running both; can I just disable Skype for Business? No. You will want to switch to Teams only mode to complete the upgrade.
- Will Skype for Business continue to receive upgrades until retirement? No. There will be no more updates to the application before it’s retirement on July 31, 2021.
- What does this mean from a licensing perspective? Microsoft Teams is included with Microsoft/Office 365 suites (including the E# products).
- Will this work as my phone system? Microsoft 365 provides features to run a 100% cloud-based PBX system. No need for physical devices or on-site equipment!
What are some of the steps involved in setting up Microsoft Teams?
- Identify the teams you will be utilizing in Microsoft Teams (Sales, Admin, Finance, IT, etc). Teams can be rolled out to a single group or department for testing and early adoption. This is best to plan ahead.
- Build out the Channels based on the identified teams, projects, or other subsets of your organization. Then set the appropriate permissions for channel admins and end users.
- (Optional) Integrate phone system into Microsoft Teams.
- Disable Skype for Business on end user machines.
- Schedule training with end users throughout the organization for Microsoft Teams
The most important question is: Are you ready for Teams?