Are You Ready for Skype for Business Online to go Offline?
It’s August 1, 2021. Your team is trying to use Skype for Business Online, but there’s something wrong. You know Microsoft announced the end-of-life (EoL) date of July 31, 2021. When a software company provides an EoL date for a product, it can mean the software either is not supported or doesn’t exist. When a company decides to remove a product, it is said to retire the solution. This is what Microsoft is doing with Skype for Business Online. It is retiring the product as of July 31, 2021, which means after this date it will no longer work. So, what are your options? First, you’ll need Microsoft Teams.
What is Being Retired?
Skype for Business Online is a cloud-based service that connects licensed users for meetings, instant messaging, web conferencing, and audiovisual interactions. Microsoft hosts the solution, which can be accessed from a corporate network or over the internet. However, Skype for consumers and Skype for Business Server are not included in the July retirement.
As part of the retirement, integrated services such as the following will not be supported.
- Third-party audio-conferencing
- Skype for Business Online Cloud Connector Edition
- Hybrid voice configurations
- Skype Meeting Broadcast
If any of these products are used outside the cloud-based solution, Microsoft will no longer support them in any implementation.
What are Microsoft-Assisted Upgrades?
Microsoft-assisted upgrades are a nice way of saying Microsoft will remove your business users from the online service if you do not. After July 31, Microsoft will place any existing users of Skype for Business Online into Team Only mode. Teams Only mode allows users to schedule meetings and receive incoming chats and calls through Teams. They will no longer be able to do them through Skype for Business Online.
Hybrid customers use an on-premise and online configuration. On-premise users will not be affected as long as they connect through Skype for Business Server. For any online users, Microsoft can assist in moving them to Teams Only after the end of July 2021. Additionally, any on-premise users transferred to the cloud after the retirement of Skype for Business Online will operate in Teams Only mode.
The move to Team Only mode is the interim solution for companies that have not migrated to Microsoft Teams or an alternative platform.
What Does Teams Do?
Microsoft decided to focus its resources on Microsoft Teams and its Office 365 products, which is why Skype for Business Online is being retired. That means Microsoft has a path for Skype users to move directly to Microsoft Teams or to operate in Teams Only mode until an alternative solution is found.
The following list describes key features of Microsoft Teams.
Teams are a means of organizing groups of people into functional groups. They are not intended to operate along department lines, although they can.
Channels are dedicated areas within a team to help organize conversations. These can be set up by topics or projects. Files shared through a channel are stored in SharePoint for access by all team members.
Conversations happen in channels. They consist of messages sent to one or more users on a specific topic. Maintaining conversation threads means all conversations related to that subject are kept in its history. This makes it easier to search a conversation for information, including message attachments. Notification messages can be sent directly from Teams.
Chats are interactive messaging between two or more parties. It is similar to text messaging, where texts can be sent to one person or a group of individuals. All messaging within a chat is searchable.
Documents are stored in SharePoint by default. Every team has a location in SharePoint Online that has a documents folder. Files shared by a team across all conversations or chats are saved to that folder. Permissions and security options can secure sensitive information as needed.
Video calls can be initiated from any device that supports Microsoft Teams. Furthermore, devices include smartphones, tablets, desktops, or laptops. Calls can be one-to-one or one-to-many. And, video calls can be initiated within Teams conversations and chats.
Screen sharing is useful when providing technical support, editing visual content, or sharing information. Microsoft Teams allows user to share their desktop or just a window. Furthermore, it will also let you share a PowerPoint presentation or Microsoft’s Whiteboard. Users can also give control of their devices to another user.
Meetings are essential for effective collaboration. Teams supports meetings of all sizes. It can host up to 10,000 users, making it easy to include every member of a team. Additionally, individuals outside the business can be invited to online meetings. Finally, other features include scheduling, file uploading, note-taking, and in-meeting messaging.
Audio conferencing enables individuals to participate in a video conference or online meeting with a phone. Using dial-in numbers, individuals can participate without an internet connection. Additionally, this feature promotes collaboration when team members are on travel or lack a reliable internet connection.
Even though Skype for Business Online is going away, Teams offers many features that can enhance collaborative efforts. Therefore, if you’re still looking for a migration path, consider Teams.
How Do You Move to Teams?
Migrating from Skype to Teams depends on what features of Skype you are using and what aspects of Teams you would like to use. Although you can transition from Skype to Teams Only mode, you will not enjoy all the functionality of Microsoft Teams.
Here is a list of prerequisites for moving to Teams:
- Microsoft 365 or Office 365 workloads.
- Verified domain for a 365 workload
- Synchronized identities with Azure Active Directory
- Exchange and SharePoint Online
Moving to Teams can be overwhelming, especially if your organization is new to Microsoft 365 products. At BC Networks, we specialize in Microsoft 365 solutions. Whether it is a new installation or a Teams activation, our experienced professionals are ready to help. Contact us to schedule an appointment.