Microsoft will retire Skype for Business Online by July 31, 2021. They intend to move all Skype customers over to Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams is an online collaboration workspace application and service that includes chat, file-sharing, video conferencing and more.
There are several benefits for businesses using Microsoft Teams instead of Skype. The platform manages to bring together files, chats, and apps, all the while providing functionality that allows for faster and seamless collaboration. Thanks to these features, Teams is a better communication tool than Skype as the core communications client for Office 365.
Plus, it integrates across the entire productivity suite of Microsoft 365 apps and hundreds of third-party integrations, making it your one-stop shop for communication and collaboration.
The Phasing out and Move to Teams
Granted, there are numerous benefits of moving your communications from Skype to Teams, but this doesn't mean that migration won't require some time and effort. For this reason, Microsoft has taken several steps to ensure that the transition process will be as easy as possible.
- Shorter Retention Periods - All new retention period options will allow customers to limit their chat retention periods to a minimum of one day. This will ensure that, when data is deleted, it will also be removed from all storage locations in the Teams service. This feature will be available in Teams by the end of 2019.
- Dynamic E911 - Being a feature of Microsoft Teams Phone System, Dynamic E911 will automatically take the caller's location and route it to a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) call center. This PSAP will be operated by the local government in their region. The E911 feature will be part of Teams in the United States by the end of 2019.
- Compliance Recording and Contact Center Integration - In addition, Microsoft has been talking with its Teams and Skype for Business certified partners to enable Contact Center and Compliance Recording solutions. This will include, among others, Video, Chat conversations, Conference, PSTN, Remote Agent, Mobile or Federated Voice, Content Share, etc.
How to Prepare for the Skype-To-Teams Migration?
A successful transition from Skype for Business Online to Microsoft Teams will require some degree of planning. Microsoft suggests that you start using Teams as soon as possible. This way, you will allow yourself ample time to complete the transition before Skype's retirement date. Keep in mind that after July 31, 2021, Skype for Business will no longer be accessible or supported.
In terms of actual planning, every organization will have to design their own transition journey, which is no small feat, especially for larger organizations with many users.
Why Microsoft Teams?
Let's see how Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business compare.
Both tools allow for individual and group chats, as well as turning chats into calls. However, while you can send emojis via both, only Teams allows for memes and gifs, which in a remote workforce can make staying connected easier. Plus, unlike Skype, Teams stores your conversation history so if you need to go back and reference something, you can easily scroll up or use the search function to find it.
Teams' biggest advantage is its file-sharing capabilities, making it more than just a communication platform. Now, users (both internally and externally, with the right permissions) can share files and collaborate on documents in real-time. Gone are the days of finding the most recent version of something - the latest and greatest will be up to date and synced in real-time in your Teams app.
When it comes to meetings, Teams also has some new and unique features, too. Just like Skype, you can schedule a meeting via Outlook and use the Scheduling Assistant to find the best time for all attendees. Where it differs, though, is that you can have persistent chat before, during and after the meeting. Meaning, you can continue to use that group chat as long as you see fit - this is especially beneficially for recurring meetings with multiple people. You can also tag people in the group meeting chat and 'like' messages to acknowledge you've seen them. Lastly, you can add notes to your meetings and easily send them out afterwards for review, which also stay in the meeting history.
Overall, if you're feeling overwhelmed about the transition, try to get excited - there are so many cool and new things you are going to be able to do! And if you need help, Teams is kind of our thing.
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