With 13 million daily active users, the adoption rate of Microsoft Teams has been amazing  due to its wide-ranging business communications solution.

Microsoft Teams was launched in 2017 as a go-to app, all-inclusive communications solution for Microsoft 365 business subscribers. The Microsoft Teams application allows users to send and share documents with colleagues, chat about them as a group, schedule meetings as well as handle external calls from customers and clients.

Microsoft has spent the last two years gradually developing and expanding Teams’ telephony capabilities by adding new meeting features. As a result, Microsoft has made the decision to decommission Skype for business online service in July 2021, migrating all its users to Microsoft Teams.

If you are a Skype for Business Online user don’t panic, Microsoft Teams has all the same features and benefits meaning you can ensure business continuity and has the benefit of additional features too. Here is a comparison with a list of all the features you can benefit from.

Skype for Business Online vs Teams* Skype Teams
Chat Features
Persistent individual and group chat
X
X
Transition from a chat to a call
X
X
Share files & pictures (on/offline participants)
X
X
Send emoji’s, GIFs and memes
X
Priority messaging & alerts
X
Like and acknowledge chat messages and tag people in chats
X
Search for files, content, and people in previous conversations
X
File Features
Dynamically work on documents files others at the same time (OneDrive/SharePoint)
X
Meetings Features
Schedule meetings in application & integrated Outlook calendar
X
X
Share screen & video on 1-2-1 & group meetings
X
X
Blur background on video
X
Live captions
X
Access to all chat features and files while in a meeting
X
X
Record and share meetings via Stream with auto-transcription
X
Calls Features
Make, forward, transfer telephone calls
X
X
Mobile Features
Makes calls, chat, share/edit files, and meet from your mobile device
X
X
Set quiet hours on notifications
X
Presence and Location Features
Share your presence details and location point
X
X
Application and BOTs Automation Features
Extensible with Tabs and Channels
X
BOTs (Who, Polly, T-Bot, etc)
X

*Source: Microsoft

Don’t worry, if this announcement has come as a surprise to you. Here are some top tips and steps to consider, ensuring your transition is as painless as possible.

Five steps to consider for a seamless Microsoft Teams upgrade

1. Get ready, get set, get started – plan your transition right away

Skype for Business is already unavailable for some Microsoft 365 users, and whilst there is still time before the retirement of Skype it is important for companies that use it to start planning their transition now; particularly for larger enterprise organisations and those with multiple users. In order to avoid disruption and any potential implementation challenges, a phased roll out across departments throughout the business may be beneficial.

2. Get familiar with Microsoft Teams features: It offers more than just calls

Microsoft Teams offers more than just calls, the benefits and futures are the perfect combination to drive collaborative between teams across a business. It conveniently enables internal conferencing, team scheduling and remote meetings, with users also being able to make and receive external calls from the same place. What’s more Microsoft’s Stream service works perfectly with the Teams app meaning uploading, viewing and sharing videos securely couldn’t be easier. For a full collaborative experience you can share recordings of meetings, presentations and training sessions, allowing colleagues across all departments to have access to content.

3. Consider user adoption phases

As mentioned above a phased approach to adoption can deliver the best user experience when transitioning. A period of time co-using Skype alongside Microsoft Teams can help businesses understand new features, differences and additional benefits Teams will bring.

For users, understanding the differences between the two platforms should be straightforward as Microsoft Teams has been built on the current Skype for Business capabilities – which also means users won’t miss any of the existing features the particularly like / find useful.

An alternative way to ensure a seamless migration is through the use of dedicated champions who can trial, test and become familiar with Microsoft Teams first. This approach makes it possible to gather feedback and identify the features which will help to ensure a successful deployment ready for roll out.  Champions can also take on a ‘train the trainer’ style role, offering support to colleagues as the roll-out commences.

4. Plan your security and governance 

During the course of transitioning from Skype to Microsoft Teams it’s important to consider how to protect, secure and govern across Microsoft 356. Microsoft Teams benefits from the same advanced built-in security, compliance, and management features within Microsoft 365.  The benefits of which are advanced security controls to prevent data loss, information barriers, retention policies, eDiscovery, legal hold, and more.

5. Consolidate your cost 

Moving your telephony over to a cloud hosted solution provides more advanced features and functionality to older systems, with no CapEx, line rental or ongoing maintenance costs as well as a simple and safe migration. Microsoft Teams Direct Routing provided by M247 offers the flexibility of working with your telephony service provider of choice, while using the calling capabilities of Microsoft Teams. It can also deliver additional functionality and monitoring, along with hybrid solutions with existing infrastructure; plus has the potential to save you 30-40% when comparing against Microsoft Calling Plans.

 

To read more about why Microsoft Teams has become so popular, read our blog here. 

Alternatively to find out more about Microsoft Teams Direct Routing via M247 please contact us today.

 

 

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