Microsoft is Dropping Skype for Business | Who's the New Apple of Their Eye?

Microsoft and Skype for Business have been going steady since 2015, and unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard that Microsoft is dropping Skype for Business. This breakup—reminiscent of the Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston split—while shocking, we all saw coming. Anyone who watched Mr. And & Mrs. Smith saw the writing on the wall. Angelina and Brad oozed chemistry, and they clearly worked well together. So who’s the Angelina of this telltale breakup? Microsoft Teams, of course.

Now, whether you were Team Jen or Team Angelina, we here at PixelMill are, and believe everyone in the digital collaboration world, should be Team Teams. So let’s break down what’s happened, what’s going to happen, and what it means for the rest of us.

When is Microsoft dropping Skype for Business? 

The good news is, this isn’t going to be an instant breakup. Skype’s been served the divorce papers, but nothing will be official for quite a while. You’ve got time to plan.

What does this mean for organizations using Skype For Business?

You must (if you haven’t already) begin strategizing and creating a migration path—the need to switch is inevitable.

Why is Microsoft Dropping Skype for Business? 

Microsoft needed to create a product to compete with other digital chat tools—cue Microsoft Teams. With near parity in offerings between MS Teams & Skype for Business, there was no longer a need for two platforms under the same entity. Let’s face it, (sorry Skype) Teams as a platform offers a richer experience with the same (and in most cases, better) features. This obvious overlap was further proven when Microsoft merged Skype for Business and Teams into one product group internally.

Who does this affect?

This affects anyone using Skype for Business; even if you’re on-prem, you should be looking at a path and putting it on your roadmap. Think of this as a not-so-gentle nudge to see what other digital tools are out there. Consider this an opportunity to properly plan for a migration that could transform your organization for the best.

What’s the new platform of choice?

Microsoft Teams! Microsoft isn’t just dropping this bomb and walking away. They are making it clear through their many resources and tools where they want you to go, and that they want to help you get there.

So why move to Teams? We could spend another 8 pages listing out all the reasons we think you’ll love Teams, but here are a few to consider.

Perks of moving to Teams:

  • Inherent integrations with Office365 Groups
  • Concept of a connected group of people
    • Channels for threaded discussions
  • Persistence of information
  • Tabs/Files for organization and easy access
  • Opportunity for feature-set expansion
  • Video chat and meetings
  • Recordings and storage in Microsoft Stream
  • External user access
  • AI integrations
    • Whiteboard (second smart camera)
    • Blur background

Don’t just take our word for it. Major organizations are making the shift, and the telephony marketplace is investing in the change. Just look at all the Teams-ready phones already on the market: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/phones-for-teams

Be Prepared. | How to successfully make the transition

  • The transition:
    • According to Microsoft, beginning Q1 2020, Skype and MS Teams users will be able to communicate in MS Teams on calls or chat via Consumer Interop.
    • If you currently have 3rd party audio conferencing integrations with Skype for Business, check Microsoft’s documentation on their end of life program. 
  • Opportunities:
    • In addition to all the marvelous reasons we listed above that prove Teams is the future, the reality is you’re getting a more feature-rich platform. Many of the frustrations we’ve experienced in Skype for Business are freshly addressed in Teams. Plus, there’s more opportunity for growth over the next few decades with this new platform.

Is Teams Just the Rebound?

We all know that moving on can be difficult, and it’s essential to get yourself right before diving into a new relationship. The same goes for a new platform. Take the necessary time to get things right before diving in.

Okay, so how do we know this isn’t just a rebound? And how do we avoid the pitfalls that come with jumping right into a new relationship?

5 Pitfalls to Avoid when rolling out MS Teams:

  1. Not giving yourself enough time
    • Set a deadline, a realistic deadline, and stick to it
  2. Not having stakeholder buy-in
    • We can’t stress this enough. You must get your leadership on board, and they need to help move the change forward by championing your new solution.
  3. Not listening to your users and building a plan to govern
    • If you want substantial user adoption, truly listen to your users and solve for their needs. User adoption also increases when users feel heard.
    • Creating a solid plan and listening to your users is just the beginning. To ensure that your new solution is used, and used the way you expect, create sound governance, and most importantly, enforce it.
  4. Not providing internal support and training
    • This is a no-brainer. Be sure your team knows how to use your new tool, and provide on-going resources to keep your team up to speed.
  5. Not having a user-adoption campaign and plan for feedback
    • When it’s finally time to launch, have a plan. Prepare to hype it up and get your team excited about your new tool. And don’t stop listening! Provide ways for your users to contribute feedback as they use the solution day to day.

The Road to Success:

Change can be scary, but as they say, when one door closes another one opens. We hope you’ll see Skype for Business’s door closing as an opportunity for you to take your organization on a new adventure. Microsoft Teams has brought PixelMill huge successes in efficiency and teamwork for Project Management, Sales, Marketing, Delivery, R&D, and so much more. We would love to help you realize the same. Microsoft is providing some excellent resources to help with this transition.

Microsoft materials:

Fast Track: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/fasttrack/skype-for-business-transition-to-teams?rtc=1

Microsoft Teams webinars: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/instructor-led-training-teams-landing-page#pivot=tab1&panel=tab1-all

This is a huge opportunity and one that demands thorough and empathetic planning and design. Now is the time to surround yourself with experts who can help you properly prepare with a solid strategy to get the most out of Teams. A PixelMill Teams expert would love to chat with you today.

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