Microsoft Teams (+ Skype) Roadmap for 2018

Microsoft Teams (+ Skype) Roadmap for this year will be long,  full of high traffic and will contain several pull over sightseeing stops along the way.

Microsoft is placing a lot of resources and time behind the Teams platform of products, becoming the  ntegral piece of its enterprise collaboration portfolio. There are so many layers to this offering, it will become a lengthy series of posts as I research, design and deploy this product at the company I work at.  I will start to stage these posts this coming week.

As I posted earlier in the intro, this “chat service” was launched last spring as Microsoft’s answer to the popular collaboration startup, Slack. Their review to purchase, then redirecting to producing their own platform may win out.  Microsoft will not let this product slide, as it releases regular updates, tools, support, and a growing number of integrations with several popular third-party.   The new guest security feature has shown their ability to recognize where the product was not competing well and make the appropriate changes.

Microsoft is not shy about the path Teams will take, even announcing the transition of Skype into this product.  Removing the it as a stand alone unified communications (UC)  suite of its own.  The gain is the as it folds in all of these products, they start to gain functionality as they use other components, such asMicrosoft Graph, to open up new doors in these once stand alone products.  Some of the negative I see, is affordability to own a useful suite of products that does not leave you feeling a gaping hole because something was out of reach financially.

Although currently Skype and its administrative capabilities within Teams is a little lighter that the full product, Microsoft is quickly adding capabilities to ready itself for the cut over.   These updates most recently have included, screen-sharing, third-party video support, voicemail capabilities and transcription/recording services. Other features, including “location-based routing,” “group call pickup,” “call park” and “shared line appearance,” are due by year’s end, according to Microsoft.

It will take some time for Skype to go away completely, having see their announcement for another Skype Business Server release coming soon.  But this is just another one of there methods, lately, of ensuring a proper cut over to not leave us all hanging without the functionality we need.  At least for too long.   Below is a list of updates recently unveiled.

  • The Skype for Business and Teams apps for Windows Phone will be retiredon May 20, according to Microsoft.
  • Microsoft rolls outa combined Teams-Skype for Business management portal.
  • Microsoft has begun testingthe Teams progressive Web app (PWA), according to a Petrireport.
  • Microsoft details new features coming to Teams, including support for Skype Room Systems and the Surface Hub in the first half of 2018, and “Direct Routing” in Q2.
  • Microsoft extendsthe Teams guest access feature.
  • Microsoft may be planning a “freemium tier” for Teams, according to a Petri report.
  • Microsoft is keeping the Standard editionfor Skype for Business Server 2019, contrary to earlier plans.
  • A preview of the Call Analytics feature is now available in Teams, along with other new capabilities.

Others rolling out soon are:

Microsoft Teams & Skype for Business Admin Center. The new Microsoft Teams & Skype for Business Admin Center will provide a unified experience to manage Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business. The must anticipated administrative tool will be  delivering additional functionality, end-to-end insights, and the ability to manage Teams settings on a user level.  This should open the use and development of additional product integrations going forward.

A few Skype (under Teams) updates that will bring the product closer to full capability include: Microsoft Teams – Unified Presence. This is one of the SfB messaging capabilities coming to Teams that supports unified presence between Teams and Skype for Business. Microsoft Teams – Messaging Policies. This is one of the Office 365 IT Pro capabilities coming to Teams. Administrators will be able to set user level policies to control messaging experiences in Teams. Microsoft Teams – Contact Groups. This is one of the SfB messaging capabilities coming to Teams and provides support for Contact Groups originally created in Skype for Business.

StaffHub: Communicate across platforms with Teams Interop. Microsoft StaffHub will adopt the Microsoft Teams chat experience, allowing users to communicate across services.  I am trying to understand the gaps this product fills that teams does not, although it seems to primarily focused on companies with a significant percentage of staff works working varying schedules, such as, retail stores, hotels, restaurants, manufacturing and other service-related industries. Staff Hub, is being developed to assist with access and to share information important for the staff member’s workday, replacing the popular bulletin board in the back of the store, etc.

Content in this posting was originally driven off of information provided by Gladys Rama, May 4 2018 on Red Channel Partner Mag site: 2018 Microsoft Roadmap – Teams and Skype for Business

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