Skype migrating to a component of Microsoft Teams

SkypeOver the next several months Microsoft will be unveiling a continual vision for intelligent communications to transform calling and meeting experiences.

Microsoft Teams will continue to be the hub as many of Microsoft’s former products (ex. Skype) and recent products (Azure Cognitive Services) are integrated or ‘consumed’.

 

Microsoft is ushering Teams, its collaboration tool, into the spotlight as the focal point of Office 365 communications, at the expense of Skype for Business.

Redmond’s Slack competitor already offers chat-like messaging to Office 365 users, but at its Ignite conference in Orlando, Microsoft yesterday said Teams would subsume Skype for Business’s voice and video capabilities, too.

Teams is less than a year old, and only came to Office 365 in March when it was generally released, but while Microsoft is planning an on-premise server release for Skype for Business in the second half of 2018, its role as Microsoft’s go-to communication service is coming to an end. – Microsoft Teams subsumes Skype’s voice and video features, Staff Writer, September 27, 2017, PCAuthority.com

There are seemingly five options to how customers can move from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams, and coexist.

3 modes where Users have Skype for Business and Teams and use each for specific purposes:

Islands mode where each product is an Island, and the capability of each will remain separate and the same. Microsoft Teams collaboration–only mode – Teams is configured to support teams and channels-based leaving Skype for Business to remain the client for Chat/Instant Messaging, Voice, Video and Meetings. Microsoft Teams collaboration and meetings mode –  Teams is enabled for team meetings and team or channels-based conversations, Chat/Instant Messaging, and voice and video calling, remain on Skype for Business.

2 modes where users *either* use Skype for Business or Teams:

Skype for Business only mode – User is disabled from using Teams and will only use Skype for Business. If they have to join a Teams meeting they will join via the web browser. Microsoft Teams only mode: User is disabled for Skype for Business and only uses Microsoft Teams for channels, direct chat/Instant Messaging and meetings.

 To enable admins to better manage the various aspects of the service, we have started to roll out a new Microsoft Teams & Skype for Business Admin Center that provides you with a unified experience to manage both Teams and Skype for Business. The new admin center provides you with additional functionality including the ability to manage messaging policies on a user level. – Microsoft Teams April 2018 update with several new features and improvements, by Andrei Pryymak, April 6, 2018

Microsoft Teams April 2018 update with several other new features and improvements.

Out of office message – An Out of office status and message will now show up in when people hover over your people card, also a reminder that you’re out of office when someones @ mentions you or send you a private chat.

Chat enhancements – Added the ability for Teams users to communicate with other users who are using Skype for Business (both online or on-prem), along with the ability view the full interop chat history across their Microsoft Teams clients.

Call notifications – The response is similar to our mobile phones, such as, missed call lists, click on missed call to call them, visual voice mail, click on a voice mail link to listen or review the text.

All of the above may be subject to a calling plan subscriptions.

Interoperability between Skype for Business and Teams only supports basic chat and P2P calling and video. No escalating directly to conferences or multiple participants from a P2P interop call. If your organization is currently a Skype for Business on-premises deployment only, you need to setup Skype for Business hybrid before upgrading your users to Teams-only mode so that interop will work.Microsoft Teams April 2018 update with several new features and improvements, The 5 Modes – How Migrating from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams will work, Tom Arbuthnot, Principal Solutions Architect at Modality Systems, April 7, 2018

All of these options and capabilities seem complicated and rigid.  It has been published that Skype for Business Server 2019, and also a future cumulative update for Skype for Business Server 2015, plan to simplify the mechanics of upgrading on-premises users to Teams by managing the migration to Skype for Business Online and upgrading the users to Teams-only mode in one step.

What are your thoughts on the future of Skype for Business?  Have you tried any of this yet?  How do you feel this will help Microsoft compete with Slack, Cisco and Google?

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