January 18, 2019

Upgrading from Skype for Business Online to Microsoft Teams

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Since you’re reading this article, I would automatically assume that you’re aware of Skype for Business retiring on July 31, 2021. This means that after its cutoff date, it will no longer be accessible or supported. In order to maximize benefit and ensure that your organization is given proper time to deploy your upgrade, its best you begin your journey to Microsoft Teams today.

Built exclusively to integrate with the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, Teams is very likely to surpass and replace Skype for Business in terms of adoption and functionality. The upgrade to Teams may not entirely mean a 1-to-1 transition, but ultimately, it’s an upgrade that delivers a lot of value.

Why switch from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams?

The update in the Teams platform that is replacing Skype for Business will combine the communication capabilities of Skype for Business with the collaboration tools, app integration, and file storage and sharing of the spiritual successor, Microsoft Teams. Teams works closely with the rest of Microsoft 365, all the while supporting teams and groups - making it easy for employees to communicate.

Extending the capabilities of Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams brings together chat, meetings, calling, collaboration, app integration, and file storage into a single interface. This new central hub for teamwork can help streamline the way users get things done, improving user satisfaction and accelerating business outcomes. Microsoft is constantly expanding Teams’ capabilities, enabling users to communicate and collaborate in new ways, break down organizational and geographical barriers, and drive efficiency in process and decision making.

Because of the richer set of experiences offered by Teams, it replaces Skype for Business as the core communications client for Microsoft 365. Hence, organizations should invest in Microsoft Teams not only because it offers enhanced functionality, but also because eventually Skype for Business is going to be obsolete.

Learn more about the potential benefits of Teams for your organization with the recently published Forrester white paper “The Total Economic Impact of Microsoft Teams.”

Skype For Business Online Upgrade To Microsoft Teams

A flourished technical environment, sustained user adoption, and the understanding of your business goals all begin with proper planning. A solid plan gives you a framework for your upgrade and makes sure that all stakeholders are working simultaneously.

Preparing for your upgrade to Teams

Once you’re ready to move your communication to Teams, Microsoft has two upgrade paths that can help with your migration:

Upgrade Basic

The Upgrade Basic is designed for smaller organizations or those that are using Skype for Business for chat and meetings only. It’s a quick action plan for implementing your move from Skype for Business to Teams that includes recommended activities, and relevant resources. This upgrade is designed keeping in mind that you’ll be shifting your entire organization to Teams at once. The upgrade process typically takes around 30 to 45 days.

The following ten steps furnish everything you need for a successful upgrade. They're designed to be completed in the estimated 30 to 45 days, but can be adjusted based on your organization's upgrade schedule.

  • Notify your key stakeholders
  • Prepare your organization for Teams
  • Know your Skype for Business users
  • Notify your users about the upgrade
  • Activate the user upgrade notification
  • Give your users a reminder of the shift
  • Upgrade all users to Teams
  • Monitor Teams usage against your baseline
  • Measure user satisfaction
  • Maximize your ROI with Teams

You can learn in detail about all these steps in this article by Microsoft.

Upgrade Pro

The Upgrade Pro is designed for organizations larger in size, or those that aquire a more complex deployment of Skype for Business. It is comparatively a more prolonged upgrade lifecycle and offers extensive guidance and planning resources. This phased approach typically takes around 120 to 150 days. You can learn more about this upgrade in this article.

Using Skype for Business while Migrating to Teams

Microsoft offers several options for running Skype for Business Online and Teams together. These coexistence modules allow users to familiarize themselves with Teams while helping accelerate your upgrade to Teams ONLY. Here’s how you can use the two platforms together in the meanwhile.

After the Migration

After your users are upgraded to Teams (Teams Only mode):

  • Their Skype for Business client will be disabled, and all chat and calls go to Teams. This will not uninstall the client on their desktops.
  • Any Skype for Business meetings that were scheduled before the upgrade will work as designed, but all the new meetings will be scheduled in Teams. The Skype for Business plugin will no longer be available in Outlook.
  • If a user tries to sign in to Skype for Business, they will get a notification from their client that they've been upgraded to Teams.
  • Users would need to manually uninstall the Skype for Business client on their devices.

Teams Phone System & Calling Plans

Calling in Teams is ready for all your communication needs. Microsoft has encouraged all its customers to start using Teams, independent of Skype for Business. However, clients interested in bringing their own telephone service to Teams can now do so with the general availability of Direct Routing. Direct Routing and Calling Plans are the two choices for dial tone in Microsoft Teams. You can learn more about Teams Phone System in this article.

Next Steps

Working closely with cloud service providers or managed service providers can make the transition for organizations easy and without disruption. Get in touch with us today for a run-through of the process of migration.

Last Updated 2 weeks ago

About the Author

Ateeb is a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate. He aids clients in deployment, and management of Microsoft technologies - for both, on-premises and on the cloud environment. With significant experience in deploying stand-alone and enterprise solutions, Ateeb enjoys helping organizations with their digital transformation journey.

Ateeb Fayyaz

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