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 announcementhere, or a blog post Shelly Avery and I wrote about ithere.
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.
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.
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 requirementshere.
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 outthis linkor talk to your account team to learn more.
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.
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.
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. TheFastTrack 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 isso much morethan 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).