Transitioning from Skype for Business Online to Microsoft Teams

With Skype for Business Online approaching end of life, organisations that have not yet upgraded to Microsoft Teams must now consider their upgrade plan to ensure a smooth transition. Conall O'Kane, Modern Workplace Team Lead, shares what one might expect from the transition.

The author of this page: Conall O'Kane
Conall O'Kane, Modern Workplace Team Lead Feb 10, 2021

In 2019, Microsoft announced that Skype for Business Online will be retired on July 31, 2021, at which point it will no longer be accessible or supported. With this date only a matter of months away, organisations are encouraged to prepare for upgrading to the Skype for Business Online replacement, Microsoft Teams.

With Microsoft Teams consistent with Skype for Business Online in terms of features, organisations will not have to sacrifice any core functionality when upgrading to Microsoft Teams. However, Microsoft Teams has an improved underlying architecture. As more than just an application for communication, Teams is a unified collaboration platform allowing users to communicate, collaborate and ultimately work through a single unified platform. Below are some of the main differences between Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business Online that users can expect when making the transition;

Persistent Chat

One of the first differences one may notice when moving to Microsoft Teams is the autosaving of chats. On Skype, chats disappeared once a window was closed. The conversation could be retrieved if Outlook was the default mail service allowing users to locate conversations in the conversation history folder. This was an added layer of effort when attempting to pick up a conversation again after closing a window. In Microsoft Teams, all conversations between all users and groups are autosaved unless specifically deleted without the requirement of Outlook being the default mail service.

Better Collaboration

One of the biggest differences between Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business Online is the collaborative features that Microsoft Teams possesses. With Skype originally being built for the purpose of communication, Microsoft Teams was a collaborative platform from its beginning. Microsoft Teams provides improved audio and video features in relation to speed and the ability to share screens and desktops and much more improving communication and collaboration overall.

Enhanced Integration

Microsoft Teams is more flexible in terms of application integration in comparison to Skype for Business Online where native integrations are telephony companies. Microsoft Teams also simplifies integrating applications through the ‘apps’ tab in the platform saving users time by not having to toggle between applications. The possibilities of Microsoft Teams integrations can be as unique as your business with Microsoft Teams having the ability to become your primary digital workspace as users access all working apps through the platform.

Document Management

One strong capability that differentiates Microsoft Teams from Skype is its file storage abilities. Files shared in chats or channels are stored in SharePoint sites. SharePoint’s searchability is also seen in Teams to make retrieving relevant content easier simplifying collaboration for working teams. However, to get the full integration and benefits of SharePoint in Teams it is recommended that organisations sign up for a compatible plan.

With more functionality than Skype for Business Online, the transition and upgrade to Microsoft Teams will require some planning in advance to ensure success. However, there are co-existence modes available that can be considered when planning your route to Teams migration. These modes allow users to be given select functionality of Microsoft Teams while still using Skype for Business Online until users are ready to transition to Teams Only mode. With each organisation different in terms of its working processes, each migration journey must be tailored to suit specific needs.

If your organisation would like some guidance in identifying the most suitable approach for upgrading to Microsoft Teams or would like to avail of Microsoft 365 training to help support the transition, contact us today to speak to a Microsoft Teams specialist.

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