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Microsoft Teams is Replacing Skype for Business - Are you Ready?

Microsoft-Teams-Replacing-Skype-for-Business

There’s a major shift coming up for companies using Skype for Business, and whether they’re ready or not, Microsoft Teams will be taking over. There has been a lot of improvement since Teams first rolled out, and Microsoft announced they would be phasing out Skype. The roadmap for this integration is complete, and Teams is now the go-to solution for collaboration services. However, we know that with this big shift companies will inevitably have questions and concerns.  What is the future for Skype? Can the two tools coexist? What does this transition mean in terms of licensing? Not to fear—Interlink is here to guide you through the transition and answer any questions you may have. Here are some common questions and concerns that we’ve seen.

Why is Microsoft replacing Skype with Teams?

The workplace is ever evolving and changing – with a shift to a more collaborative workspace, Teams fills the void of needing a tool that seamlessly integrates communication into a single place. Microsoft has brought the capabilities of Skype and added them with additional features into Teams, like fully integrated voice and video. Teams also integrates communication tools with applications becoming more intelligent with Artificial Intelligence (AI), Microsoft Graph and LinkedIn to enhance work meetings. While there is no end of support date for Skype at this moment, Microsoft’s vision is focused on Teams. There is no need to panic if you don’t have a migration strategy in place…today.

What are the Benefits of the Back-End Infrastructure?

Teams is built for the cloud on a highly scalable microservices architecture that’s efficient in bandwidth consumption and allows for upgrades with little to no disruption. This means that users will experience faster meeting join times and better browser experience without having to download plug-ins. This infrastructure is more modern and makes it easier to tap into Microsoft Cognitive Services – like transcription, speech recognition, matching learning capabilities, and translation – which all together promotes better, more effective communication and collaboration.

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 customers 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.

The features mentioned above – Audio Conferencing, Phone System and Calling Plan will remain as add-on licenses.

  • Audio Conferencing is included if you have the Office 365 E5 plan or will be a $4.00/user/ month add-on fee if you have the Office 365 E1 or E3 plan.
  • Phone System is included in the Office 365 E5 plan or sold separately for $8.00/user/month and enables call control and PBX capabilities in Office 365 to replace on-premises telephony hardware.
  • Users can then get a phone number and a phone line two different ways.
    • Direct Routing – allows for Teams to connect back to a company’s on-premise location and utilize an existing connection like a SIP trunk.
    • Or users can subscribe to a calling plan. Calling Plans are not included in any of the bundles. Calling plans basically, provide carrier services to the Cloud PBX users who don’t want to use direct routing.  This is especially good for small businesses, remote locations with a small number of users, or those companies that don’t have an office at all.  Pricing for Calling Plan is showcased below:

Teams calling plan

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

As current Skype customers, a complete transition will take some time, 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.

Can Teams and Skype Coexist during the Upgrade Period?

These two applications can coexist but it’s important to understand how they work alongside one another, when and how they interoperate, and how to manage the migration to an eventual full upgrade. Depending on how your organization deploys Teams, some capabilities will overlap. The default mode is to run Teams and Skype together, but a user can be assigned a coexistence mode to ensure capabilities will not overlap for users. These modes include:

  • Islands Mode – In this mode, users can run Teams alongside Skype as two separate solutions with the overlapping capabilities. Each of the client applications operates as a separate island. Skype for Business talks to Skype for Business, and Teams talks to Teams. Users run both clients and can communicate natively in the client from which the communication was initiated.
  • Skype for Business Only – In this mode, users remain in Skype for chat, meeting and calling capabilities and do not use Teams.
  • Teams Only – In this mode, users purely use Teams for communication and can only access Skype to join an existing Skype meeting or a meeting that has been organized by a non-upgraded user or external party.
  • Skype with Teams Collaboration – In this mode, you leave Skype for Business unchanged with chat, calling, and meeting capabilities and you add Teams collaboration capabilities—teams and channels, access to files in Office 365, and applications. This is similar to Islands Mode, but organizations with a starting point of Skype for Business server on-premises or hybrid should use this mode instead.
  • Skype with Teams Collaboration & Meetings – In this mode, private chats, voice and video calling remain on Skype but users use Teams for meeting capabilities. This enables users to take advantage of Teams new capabilities such as translation and transcription. It is especially useful for organizations that will take some time being fully upgrades but want to benefit from Teams meetings.

Overwhelmed? Don’t Be – Interlink Can Help

Upgrading from Skype for Business to Teams is more than just a technical migration – it will be a transformation in how your users communicate, and change is not always easy. Interlink can help with every step of this migration process and can help your organization find the ideal upgrade approach. Interlink has experience upgrading companies and guiding them through the best decisions that make sense for their organization. We can assist in the technical aspects of the upgrade as well as encourage 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 with a hands-on, interactive learning session. Start your journey to Teams today – there is no rush, but Microsoft recommends upgrading quickly as possible to optimize your benefits and ease the transition. Don’t put this on the backburner and contact us to help you navigate through a successful migration.

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