Microsoft officially announced that 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 Teams client will eventually deprecate the SfB client when using the cloud service. The SfB client and phones will continue to work on premises, and a next gen on-premises server will be released in 2018.
Here is our read and early advice for organizations that are impacted. First, some reasons for the change.
- Skype for Business was not designed as a multitenant cloud service. It's really a 5th generation of Office Communication Server from back in 2007.
- Teams is more API friendly, having connectors to many 3rd party SaaS apps for integrated alerts, file posting, etc.. Skype's Online's APIs have been a moving target that haven't been delivered.
- Teams provides persistent chat, something Skype Server has as an option on premises, but was not possible with the online product.
All of that said, Teams is not ready to replace SfB Online. The main capabilities today simply include chat and internal conferencing. Ability to add outside parties to a team (a next gen way of federation) exists. However, add-on features like calling into a conference from a telephone and in/outbound calling features are in development and will now be called "phone system" with "calling plans."
Guidance for customers:
Microsoft isn't planning an abrupt change but if you are in either of these scenarios, the advice is straightforward:
- If using SfB on premises on premises for Enterprise voice and or dialing in conferences, continue as you are
- If using SfB Online for only IM and presence, and if you are also using Teams, migrate users over to Teams and eliminate SfB from your service portfolio.
- If you weren't yet using Teams, and you want to check out the compliance and process of creating and controlling Teams, it's simple to get started.
For those in any other scenario, there are many considerations, which will be outlined in future blogs when timing of additional features of Teams is announced. For more information: https://blogs.office.com/en-us/2017/09/25/a-new-vision-for-intelligent-communications-in-office-365/