Microsoft has announced its plans to retire the Skype for Business online model.
Whilst the news didn’t come as a huge shock, it was the first time the company had put a specific timeframe to the plans. The deadline from which Skype for Business will no longer be accessible is July 31st, 2021, which now gives customers less than a two-year window to convert to Microsoft Teams or another unified communications (UC) solution.
As part of the announcement, Microsoft also announced they had no plans to make any changes to the current version of Skype for Business for those who are already signed up to the model. However, any new Office 365 customer to sign up since 1st September 2019 have automatically been onboarded to Microsoft Teams with no Skype option.
Microsoft Teams offers a range of next-gen UC features and is already available to Office 365 customers. The application offers many data infrastructure advantages over Skype for Business, including stronger offline collaboration, productivity and mobile options.
Discussing what the news could possibly mean for those heavily reliant on Skype for Business, Forfusion Consultant Steven Pearson says: ‘For the majority of businesses, the migration to Teams will be a relatively simple task, and one that will provide a range of fantastic new ways to collaborate with colleagues and clients.’
However, July 2021 isn’t that far away and there are many key decisions for businesses to make including sharing, guest access and meetings policies, as well as ensuring that your network connection is strong enough to handle additional internet traffic.'
It is imperative to start the planning process now and reach out to your Microsoft support channels to discuss the options around billing and telephone numbers, lines and relevant equipment.’
James Skay, Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft, explained that they have decided to make this announcement now as Teams offers an entirely new way of working: 'Over the last two years, we’ve worked closely with customers to refine Teams, and we now feel we’re at the point that we can confidently recommend it as an upgrade to all Skype for Business Online customers.'
Customers who have already made the move tell us that Teams not only has helped them improve collaboration generally, it has also provided a rare opportunity to rethink the way work gets done in their organisations.'
For further information on this topic, or to get a greater understanding of the Unified Communications (UC) services Forfusion can offer, please visit our Digital Workplace page.