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Microsoft

     Welcome back to a blog series around kickstarting your enterprise’s Microsoft Teams deployment.  In part 1, we talked through Teams client deployment.  This time around, we’ll spend our time together discussing options for easing the transition from Skype for Business to Teams.

     Microsoft Teams includes several coexistence modes which are designed expressly for enterprise customers.  Each Office 365 tenant starts in a coexistence mode called ‘Islands’.  This mode keeps Skype for Business and Teams worlds on separate ‘islands’ which cannot communicate with each other.  For organizations to facilitate a transition where Teams capabilities are introduced seamlessly, the other coexistence modes will help.  Here’s a quick primer on the coexistence modes:

 

  • Islands: Teams capabilities are fully enabled. Incoming chats and calls from Teams users are routed to the Teams client.  Incoming chats and calls from SfB users are routed to the SfB client (including federated chats and calls).  Presence to other Teams users is published from the user’s Teams client.  Presence to other SfB users is published from the user’s SfB client.
  • Skype for Business Only: Teams capabilities are fully disabled, and incoming chats and calls are routed to the SfB client (including federated chats and calls). Presence to other users is published from the user’s SfB client.
  • Skype for Business with Teams Collaboration: ***THIS IS A REALLY COMMON STARTING POINT FOR ENTERPRISES*** Teams channel conversations and group collaboration capabilities are enabled, while ad hoc chats and calling are disabled. Incoming chats and calls are routed to the SfB client (including federated chats and calls). Presence to other users is published from the user’s SfB client.
  • Skype for Business with Teams Collaboration and Meetings: Teams channel conversations, group collaboration, and online meeting capabilities (including scheduling) are enabled, while ad hoc chats and calling are disabled. Incoming chats and calls are routed to the SfB client (including federated chats and calls). Presence to other users is published from the user’s SfB client.
  • Teams Only: ***THIS IS THE END STATE FOR THE SKYPE TO TEAMS JOURNEY*** Teams channel conversations and group collaboration capabilities are enabled, as well as ad hoc chats and calling. Incoming chats and calls are routed to the Teams client (including federated chats and calls).  Presence to other users is published from the user’s Teams client.

     In my practical experience, there are a few common approaches to addressing the Skype for Business to Teams transition:

 

  1. Configure an ‘org-wide setting’ default of ‘Skype for Business with Teams Collaboration’ within the Teams Admin Center, and then migrate users to ‘TeamsOnly’ in department-by-department fashion, beginning with a targeted POC or pilot group.
  2. Configure an ‘org-wide setting’ default of ‘Skype for Business with Teams Collaboration and Meetings’ within the Teams Admin Center for a prolonged period of time, in order to realize value from Teams group collaboration and meetings while maintaining an on-premises SfB Enterprise Voice environment.
  3. Disregard coexistence modes and adopt Teams in ‘Islands’ mode, with an eventually transition to ‘TeamsOnly’. This approach is viable for customers who are aggressively adopting Teams.  In many cases, users have already become accustomed to ad hoc chat and calling capabilities within Teams, and taking away those capabilities doesn’t make sense.

    I hope this detail RE: the Skype for Business to Teams transition options for enterprises is valuable.  Next week we’ll focus a bit on strategic position of Teams within Microsoft 365 – the ‘why’ behind deployment.  Have a great week!

4 Comments
Frequent Contributor

@Matt Sims - Is the Healthcare and Life Science field audience mostly on Skype for Business Online? Or are there plans on writing these articles with Skype for Business On-Premises in mind as well? Great to see this kind of guidance being blogged about!

Microsoft

@Timothy Balk - Thanks so much for your kind note.  The HLS audience is mixed - some actively deploying Teams, some SfBO, and some SfB Server on-premises deployments.  For those with on-premises investments, I see a trend toward configuring hybrid + evaluating the coexistence modes I discuss in this post.  There's a lot of value in introducing Teams in a non-disruptive way (i.e. SfBWithTeamsCollab mode), IMHO.  

Contributor

Matt, is mention of these modes to suggest that they will continue to be available indefinitely, with the idea being that customers should be allowed to move forward in their own way and in their own time?  I ask because of longstanding rumors that Teams on Office 365 is going to be forced (i.e. SfB shut down) in the not-too-distant but vague future.

 

There was even some messaging sent to that effect late last year for some tenants, though, through a special request, those tenants were given the option to continue as is.

Microsoft

Hi there @Brian . - Thanks very much for reaching out!  I'm not aware of any specifics regarding the deprecation of Skype for Business Online, but to be very clear - these modes are designed to ease the transition from SfB to Teams.  Future innovation in meetings and calling will land in Microsoft Teams.  Our goal is make the path toward Teams as simple as possible.