Two years ago, we announced Microsoft Teams as the replacement service for Skype for Business Online and increased efforts to help customers plan and implement their upgrades. Since then, Teams has experienced incredible growth, as organizations realize the transformational benefits of Teams’ improved performance and expanded capabilities.
It hasn’t been easy, as Skype for Business Online earned a loyal following across the globe. We knew helping organizations embrace new ways of communicating with colleagues and customers would require much preparation and effort. But hearing account after account of how Teams helps bring people together to share, create, and connect, affirms the value of these efforts.
Regular readers of this blog series have likely seen the guidance below, but the nature of these changes merits repeating for those who may have missed previous posts.
Microsoft-assisted upgrades to Teams Organizations who haven’t made a full transition from Skype for Business Online will be scheduled for a Microsoft-assisted upgrade to help with the last-mile technical steps getting to “Teams Only”. Scheduling notifications are sent to tenant admins within the Microsoft 365 Message Center and Teams admin center 90 days before the date of the assisted upgrade. Even after scheduling, customers may self-upgrade prior to the assisted upgrade date to better control the timing of their upgrade experience.
Assisted upgrades begin this month, with tenant-specific dates shared in the scheduling notifications mentioned above. Organizations that are scheduled for assisted upgrades after July 31, 2021 will be able to use Skype for Business Online until their upgrade is complete.
The assisted upgrade experience will differ slightly depending on whether organizations have a Skype for Business Online-only or a Skype for Business Online with hybrid environment.
Skype for Business Online-only: The assisted upgrade process will apply the TeamsUpgradeOverridePolicy policy to the tenant. When this policy is applied, all Skype for Business Online users will be placed in Teams Only mode.
Skype for Business Online users in hybrid environment: The assisted upgrade will only switch Skype for Business Online users to Teams Only mode if they're not already in that mode. Skype for Business Server users won't be impacted by the assisted upgrade process and will remain on-premises.
The duration of the upgrade will vary by volume of users and the characteristics of the deployment. In most cases, users within a tenant will be upgraded within 24 hours of the start of the upgrade. During this time, users will still have access to Skype for Business Online. Once the upgrade has completed and users sign out of Skype for Business Online, they'll start using Teams for messaging, meetings, and calling. Post-upgrade, all new online users will be added in Teams Only mode.
Migrating Skype for Business Online meetings and contacts to Teams Regardless of whether an organization manages all aspects of the upgrade or uses the assisted process, our guidance includes steps to ensure meetings and contacts are successfully migrated from Skype for Business Online to Teams.
Migrating meetings data to Teams: It’s important for customers with Skype for Business Online-only deployments to use the Meeting Migration Service (MMS) to migrate existing Skype for Business Online meetings to Teams meetings prior to the assisted upgrade date to avoid the potential for data loss. Learn more about how MMS works.
Migrating contacts to Teams: Existing contacts from Skype for Business Online including federated contacts (but no distribution lists) will be migrated when users log into Teams for the first time. Users must take this step within 90 days of the completed upgrade.
What about specific clouds, Skype for Business Server, and the Skype consumer service? Some clouds, including GCC-High and DoD, will complete their transitions to Teams after the retirement of Skype for Business Online, and will receive scheduling information directly as well as through their account teams.
The retirement of Skype for Business Online does not affect the Skype consumer service, Skype for Business Server products and Skype for Business Online operated by 21Vianet (China Sovereign Clouds Instance).
Have questions about the upgrade or getting the most from Microsoft Teams?
Upgrade guidance helps you prepare and optimize your organization for the transition from Skype for Business Online, on-premises, and hybrid environments.
Again, we want to extend appreciation to all the customers, partners, engineering and support teams who contributed to the longevity of the Skype for Business Online service. But the torch has been passed to Microsoft Teams, and we’re excited for all that lies ahead.