Every company that uses Skype For Business must have wondered at one point: what will happen now that Microsoft has launched Teams as the new key comunication and collaboration platform? Skype For Business was a cornerstone in the digital transformation of many organizations, but since the launch and improvements of MS Teams, the question rose whether both could co exist? Could they be complementary of would this merely come down to a preference of the IT department in organizations?
The answer was given by Microsoft itself: Skype For Business Online will be discontinued by July 31st, 2021. Keep reading to find out what this means to your current company situation.
MS Teams, the ultimate collaboration solution to work better together
Since its launch in 2017, it was already clear that MS Teams was bound to become the new collaboration & communication platform where all team members would collaborate. Serieous investments have been made to optimize it and the new functionalities over time made MS Teams become the ultimate hub for teamwork that counts today more than 13 million users and has totally catched up with Slack. Microsoft Teams combines (group) chat, video, calls and document collaboration in one application and opens up the world to modern collaboration where everything can be found easily.
Everything you need in one place thanks to realtime collaboration tools
- Get access and share documents from everywhere thanks to the Microsoft Teams desktop app, web app and mobile app.
- Stay connected with each other in team channels to collaborate more easily on different projects without losing sight of the notifications.
- Cocreate documents simultaneously with the popular Office 365 apps such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
MS Teams is so much more than just a communication tool. And for this reason, Microsoft has announced several months ago that Skype For Business Online will be discontinued in 2021 and the focus will shift towards Microsoft Teams. For Microsoft, MS teams is a new chapter in the digital transformation for companies. The migration from Skype For Business Online to MS Teams is more than a simple technical migration. It represents a transformation in how users communicate and collaborate, and as we know: change is not always easy.
Less than 24 months to switch to MS Teams
We have known for a while that Microsoft was planning on replacing Skype For Business, but as mentioned earlier in this article: we now also have a date. The Skype For Business Online services will be discontinued on July 31st of 2021. All support will also stop on that date. This gives existing Skype For Business Online users enough tim to migrate successfully to Microsoft Teams.New Office 365 customers are automatically onboarded to MS Teams for chat, video meetings, and calls. The fact that Microsoft announces this almost 2 years before the ultimate date shows how important it is to implement change in organization.
Prepare your users today for change
We can’t stress enough that change in an organization stands or falls with the end users. In this specific case, the whole telephony and instant messaging system, something that your users use daily, will change. The way people share and secure their documents too. The good news in this change management process is that you can skill keep using Skype For Business and help your users get accustomed to MS Teams at the same time. How do you ensure a successful migration from Skype For Business to Microsoft Teams?
The five-step plan for your migration to MS Teams
- Assemble a governance team. Who are the decision makes, from which departments are we going to involve people?
- The MS Teams workshop: what is possible with MS Teams? Out of which functionalities does this collaboration tool exist and which one would be of use on a daily basis? Analyze how your current collaboration systems work internally, get insights in what is lacking and define the goals. Come up with collaboration and communication scenarios that cover different situations.
- Create a roadmap for a successful implementation & adoption, on a technical level but more important: on a user level. If you roll out a collaboration tool without any guidance, chance are the users won’t embrace the tools as hoped. End users are a cornerstone of the migration plan and therefore require an adoption plan. How do you communicate about change in the organization? What channels and materials will you use to do so? How will you support your users? A lot of questions rise in the way you want to execute the adoption plan. Are you going to work out test scenarios that users will perform in small groups to help each other of will they get a training in school style? Will you open a Yammer channel for questions from users? Will you launch tips & tricks per functionality? You can go far, but on thing is for sure: get guidance from a certified Microsoft partner that has experience in change management before startign anything.
- Implement the upgrade. Define when you will roll out MS Teams in your organization and discuss in advance how and when you will phase out Skype For Business. Try to provide the best transition experience and keep the inconveniences to a minimum.
- Further optimization for a successful migration. Keep an eye on how MS Teams is being welcomed by the users, analyze usage statistics and adapt the plan where needed in order to achieve a successful adoption. Analyze the satisfaction of the users and check the problems that might occur. It is only by evaluatiing constantly that you’ll be able to optimize the adoption and really work better together.
On premise version of Skype For Business will continue to exist
Important side note: although Microsoft has announced to discontinue the services of Skype For Business Online, this is not the case for the on premise version. The Skype For Business Server 2019 will keep working after 31 July 2021 and will be supported until 2024 at least.
Does your organization currently work with Skype For Business Online and do you want to know more on how we handle the migration to MS Teams and what our approach is? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team!