We’ve all known for some time that Microsoft was planning to consign Skype for Business Online to yesterday’s technology. Well now we know the timescale. Skype for Business Online will be retired on 31 July 2021 and the advanced planning gives us all time to migrate to the great alternative – the chat, meetings and calling functionality within the teamwork hub – the Office 365 app, Microsoft Teams.
Until November of this year, calling was available only to the enterprise-sized organisation - through the E3 and E5 Office 365 plans. But 5 November 2019 saw the launch of Microsoft 365 Business Voice, bringing the same benefits to the SMB (for businesses with up to 300 users) as those previously enjoyed by the larger enterprise.
Business Voice is feature rich, flexible and configurable, and removes the need for costly, on-premises legacy systems, while - through being integrated into the office apps and tools of Office 365 and Microsoft Teams - giving users a truly unified modern workplace working environment.
So, when moving from Skype for Business Online to Microsoft Teams, businesses will also benefit from the option of unifying their communication systems - streamlining processing, enhancing the user experience, and working towards digital transformation goals.
So, what are the timescales for the retiring of Skype for Business Online?
New Office 365 customers don’t have to be concerned because Microsoft is already automatically onboarding them to Teams. But if you’re an existing Skype for Business Online customer there’s a couple of key dates you should put into your planning schedule.
Existing users will be able to continue using Skype for Business Online as usual until July 31, 2021 – you will also be able to add new users. But from August 1, 2021, Skype for Business Online will be out of service.
Teams comes calling
Microsoft Teams has been an integral part of Office 365 since 2017 and it’s taken the world by storm. It’s the fastest growing business app in Microsoft’s history and is now used by over 500,000 organisations across the globe. Half a million users can’t be wrong!
More than 13 million people are now using Teams daily and more than 19 million people use it weekly. With availability across more than 180 markets, Teams is now powering teamwork in 53 languages for customers worldwide. What users love about it is the fact that it really meets today’s workplace needs and puts great emphasis on teamwork by integrating, chat, video, calling and document collaboration.
Since launching Teams two years ago, Microsoft has been busy getting user feedback to refine its features and is now confident that it can be a credible upgrade, and more, for all Skype for Business Online users.
The fact is that Teams is more than just a Skype for Business Online successor, it’s a powerful tool that makes working life simple and more agile. Its incredible collaboration features are helping companies improve productivity and efficiency which is leading to reduced overheads and shorter times-to-market. It’s an essential business tool for surviving in increasingly competitive marketplaces.
So how do you prepare?
Leave it to us. At Cobweb we know Office 365 and Microsoft Teams inside out. So, call us now and we’ll be able to give you the lowdown on what you should do and when.
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