May 07, 2019
In late 2017, Microsoft announced that, over time, Skype for Business would be replaced with Teams for Office 365 customers. They want to provide organisations with a single hub for teamwork using “Intelligent Communications”. The idea is to bring together meetings, one-on-one conversations, files to collaborate on, other Office 365 services and even third-party apps.
For customers who do not subscribe to Office 365, Skype for Business will still be available for on-premises deployments. A new version of Skype for Business Server 2019 was released in late 2018.
When will the Replacement Happen?
As of October 2018, all new Office 365 tenants, with 500 seats or less, automatically get Teams and no access to Skype for Business. For existing Office 365 tenants, either the organisation can perform the upgrade manually, or they can wait and Microsoft will upgrade them to Teams at some point in the future.
When Microsoft decide to upgrade a tenant, advance notice would be given through posts to the Office 365 Message Center and emails to the tenant administrators. Once the upgrade is done, the entire tenant will be converted over to Teams.
What’s Different in Teams and What’s the Same?
As of the writing of this article, Teams has been updated to include all the major features that Skype for Business has. There are a number of small things that have not yet been added to Teams that will hopefully be over time. Teams adds a lot more functionality, however, when you consider the ability to communicate through persistent-chat channels and also the various features that Office 365 Groups add.
But if you are accustomed to using Skype for Business for instant messaging (IM) and scheduling meetings, then the transition should be relatively easy. Just bear in mind that previously scheduled Skype meetings won’t be converted over to Teams meetings.
Can We Use Both at the Same Time?
Microsoft is encouraging customers to start using Teams either independently, or in tandem with Skype for Business. You can either have Skype for Business and Teams in “Islands” mode or “Interop” mode. Islands mode means that there is no way to cross-communicate between the two, whereas Interop mode lets people using Skype for Business communicate with others in Teams. Either way, the coexistence of the two systems can help users get accustomed to Teams over time rather than have to switch straight from one to the other. Microsoft Docs has more on this.
If you want more information on Office 365 end-user or technical training that New Horizons can provide, see our Office 365 Training page.