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Microsoft
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By now you may have heard that Microsoft announced the end of life for Skype for Business Online -- July 31, 2021. You can read the official announcement here, or a blog post Shelly Avery and I wrote about it here.

 

For some, the first reaction may be panic, but hopefully the rest of this blog post serves to replace that with a level of confidence. We want you to be successful as you transition from Skype to Teams, and we want to help you understand how Teams can have a far greater and more positive impact on your organization than Skype for Business. Hopefully you find the below thoughts and resources helpful. If you're already familiar with Teams and want to learn more about the resources available to help you transition from Skype, then feel free to skip to the second section.

 

First off, what is Microsoft Teams?

If you're just hearing about Microsoft Teams this section is for you. To provide a little context, in the past work was organized and executed around individual applications. You went to Outlook for email, Skype for chat, all over the place for files, PowerPoint to create slides, Excel to create spreadsheets, etc. It was (or still is) hard to stay organized and be effective in such a fragmented environment. And honestly, work is more naturally organized around projects and teams of people. Enter Microsoft Teams. Teams is frequently referred to as a "hub [or platform] for work," because it brings together the people, conversations, apps, files, and other tools that are relevant for your work under one secure and compliant roof.

 

Honestly, it offers so much more than Skype for Business, and if your organization owns Office 365 they own Teams! And we here at Microsoft are ready and genuinely excited to help you transition to and take advantage of all of these capabilities. 

 

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What resources are available?

The good news is there are so many resources to help! This list isn't meant to be exhaustive, but hopefully it provides you with some resources you find beneficial as you seek to successfully deploy and adopt Teams.

 

People

  • Your Microsoft account team, especially your customer success manager and your Teams Technology Specialist
  • FastTrack: they help customers deploy and adopt Microsoft cloud solutions via online resources, engineers, etc. To see if you're eligible, check the requirements here.
  • Microsoft Stores: Did you know Microsoft Stores offer a range of free services for businesses? I've used them many times to lead or partner with me to deliver on-site or virtual trainings. You can even schedule 1:1 or group training sessions in the store. Check out this link or talk to your account team to learn more.

 

Deployment 

 

Training

  • The Official O365 Training Center
  • Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways: a free, customizeable, on demand training solution that can be deployed in your organizations environment with all the latest content from Microsoft. If you have questions, reach out to your Microsoft account team or FastTrack contact.
  • Microsoft Teams Admin Training
  • Microsoft 365 Certifications
  • Microsoft Technology Center Events: These free events typically take place at a Microsoft office and cover a range of topics including Teams.
  • Partners and the Microsoft Account team: there are many partners we work with who can deliver all kinds of training, and at times members of account teams can as well.
  • Help and training from within Teams: If Teams is already deployed, just type "/help" in the command bar at the top of the screen to find a range of training videos available within Teams.
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Communication

Perhaps the most overlooked part of any change management efforts is communication. Your Microsoft team can support you here as well, especially your customer success manager if you have one. The FastTrack Resource Hub also has tons of resources to help, including email templates, flyer templates, poster templates, and more!

 

Moving forward with Teams

At the end of the day Teams is so much more than a replacement for Skype for Business! In its fullest sense, its a platform for accessing all of the conversations, people, files, apps, and resources you need to get your work done. And the best part is, it can connect all of these together to transform processes and engages employees in ways that weren't possible before. Whether it's a scenario as simple as editing a file with a group or as complex as discharge planning within a hospital, Teams can improve the way you work.

 

If you aren't currently leveraging Teams in a way that you feel is significantly improving your organization or if you still feel completely overwhelmed by all of this and don't know where to start, reach out to your account team and start taking advantage of all of these resources at your disposal. We're here to help! You can also check out this upcoming webinar on "Demystifying Skype for Business to Teams Migration" on August 26 at 12pm ET (9am PT). 

 

Co-authored by Shelly Avery and Josh Thompson.

5 Comments
Contributor

If Microsoft really wanted to help they would make the interoperability between Skype and Teams actually work.

 

Forcing customers to make this transition and not making it easy to do is very frustrating.

Microsoft

Thanks for your comment Michael. There are certainly a lot of options to consider when it comes to how to upgrade from Skype to Teams. We do this through interop modes. You can learn more about them here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/upgrade-and-coexistence-of-skypeforbusiness-and-team.... Depending on the state of your environment, one mode is likely more appropriate than another. You can also use several at the same time for different groups of users if needed. Once these modes are set, interop should work. I hope this is helpful.

Occasional Contributor

I have recently shifted all my work from Skype to Teams long before I have been Forced to do so.  Overall I'm pretty pleased.  However there are a number of Fundamental features in Skype For Business meetings which are missing or otherwise very hard to do in Teams Meetings.  I really hope that Microsoft is looking at all the uservoice feedback so others won't suffer the same issues I have seen.

Microsoft

Hi @clinthic  glad to hear the positive feedback on Microsoft Teams! And kudos to you for moving so early. Regarding the features that are missing or challenging in Teams, I know that the product group is closely monitoring user voice and taking a serious look at any remaining features that may be missing/challenging. What are the features you're referring to?

Occasional Contributor

@JoshThompson 

>> What are the features you're referring to?

 

* Ability to know who was in attendance at a meeting after the meeting is over and in a format I can easily copy/paste into my meeting minutes

* Ability to have attendance automatically updated in a linked OneNote file

* Ability to control entry/exit beeps at the user level

* Ability to easily see who is talking or adding noise to the bridge so I can mute them

* Ability to control who is a presenter in a meeting on a per meeting basis to prevent someone from all of the sudden taking over the meeting by sharing something