The mood at Ignite prior to the announcement of Microsoft Teams was mixed. There was excitement about change in the air, along with some trepidation from customers and partners how the transition from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams would be handled. After several sessions and discussions this week, it was clear that the bark of the leaked news was worse than its actual bite.
On Monday, Microsoft officially announced that Microsoft Teams will eventually supersede Skype for Business Online, but confirmed the on-premises Skype Server will continue to be developed. No timelines were provided, but the general sentiment from Microsoft was that it would be quite some time and that no customer would have to move before they were ready. That said, Microsoft Teams will receive all R&D attention. The Skype for Business client and phones will continue to work on premises, and a next-gen on-premises Skype Server will be released in 2018. Most of the today’s phones and (some) conference room systems will also work on Microsoft Teams.
Here are the takeaways and some early guidance for clients.
- Microsoft has no intent on pulling out the plug on Skype Online and will continue to provide future Skype Server on-premises.
- Microsoft Teams is not ready to replace Skype for Business Online in every situation. Its main capabilities today simply include chat and internal conferencing.
- The ability to add outside parties to a team (a next-gen way of the federation) now exists.
- The ability to call into a Microsoft Teams meeting from a telephone is in public preview.
- The ability to make in/outbound calls from the Microsoft Teams client was demoed on the show floor but is not scheduled for public preview yet.
- Microsoft Teams will receive the R&D focus.
Early guidance for customers:
Microsoft isn't planning an abrupt change but if you are in either of these scenarios, the advice is straightforward:
- a) If using Skype for Business on premises on premises for Enterprise voice, continue as you are
- b) If using Skype for Business Online or Skype on premises for only IM and presence and meetings, migrate users over to Microsoft Teams and eliminate Skype for Business from your service portfolio.
- c) If you weren't yet using Microsoft Teams, and you want to check out the process of creating and controlling Microsoft Teams, it's simple to get started. Compliance gaps are being closed quickly.
For those in other scenarios, our early guidance is shown below in the graphics.
There are many considerations, which will be outlined in future blogs when the timing of additional features of Microsoft Teams is announced. One outlying remaining question is how and when Skype hybrid voice scenarios will be migrated to Microsoft Teams.
A very pertinent Cloud PBX related question was answered:
A: (from both Microsoft product
Key FAQs (from https://docs.Microsoft.com/en-us/MicrosoftTeams/faq-journey):
- Is there a point at which Skype for Business will no longer be included in new Office 365 subscriptions? We plan to continue to support the Skype for Business service and client. We have no plan to remove Skype for Business from Office 365 subscriptions at this time.
- Will you continue to invest in improving Skype for Business in Office 365? Our vision for bringing together Intelligent Communications and collaboration is focused on Microsoft Teams. We plan to continue to support Skype for Business in Office 365.
- Can customers use existing devices (such as IP phones) that currently work with Skype for Business in Office 365 with Microsoft Teams? Yes, we will enable customers to leverage existing investments in USB & IP phone hardware with Microsoft Teams.
- Is there a firm deadline by which customers need to move from Skype for Business Online to Microsoft Teams? We will make our roadmap for Microsoft Teams available <<ed. Sounds like in October>> so customers can assess the capabilities for Microsoft Teams relative to their needs and plan their move to Microsoft Teams. Customers can determine the timing for moving to Microsoft Teams that best meets their needs.