What is Microsoft Teams and why did it replace Skype for Business?

What is Microsoft Teams and why did it replace Skype for Business?

Your business may be using a lot of computer applications to ensure the best productivity in the workplace. And when it comes to communications, you might be using Skype for Business because of its flexibility and ease of use.

Given this, you might’ve been surprised when Microsoft announced in 2017 that Skype for Business would soon be replaced by Microsoft Teams. You might be wondering: What is Teams in the first place, and what does this news mean for my company?

Microsoft’s chat-based workspace app

Microsoft Teams is the software giant’s new workspace collaboration platform announced back on November 2, 2016. It’s part of the Office 365 platform, and can be used on multiple operating systems such as Windows 10, iOS, and Android. The application includes features for chatting, meetings, note-taking, calling, and file sharing within your organization.

A unified communications platform

Microsoft has implemented many new features for the Skype platform to enable, faster, clearer, and more reliable voice and video communications. However, the company’s applications are disjointed, requiring users to use various applications for a single video conference. To schedule a meeting, for example, you have to use another app outside of Skype for Business.

Microsoft Teams offers a shared workspace for the various applications in Office 365 through its hub feature. This makes it possible for your employees to collaborate natively on a project in PowerPoint, for instance, without toggling between applications. This streamlines your operations and saves time and effort.

How businesses are affected

While Skype for Business will still be usable, users will be prompted with a message saying that "Skype for Business is now Microsoft Teams."

However, you’ll eventually need to migrate your communications over to Microsoft Teams. Microsoft has provided a framework that organizations can follow when moving from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams. Included in its major steps are the following:

  1. Bring the project stakeholders together. Choose the right people to help you migrate to Teams.
  2. Define your project. Solidify your scope, goals, and timeline. This helps create a solid foundation for your upgrade journey.
  3. Achieve technical readiness. This includes ensuring the quality and presence of all needed components.
  4. Achieve user readiness. Conduct employee training and take steps to ensure acceptance of the migration in your operations
  5. Test, debug, deploy and implement. Before rolling out the change to all users, test out the new application with a small pilot group. This makes it possible for your team to iron out bugs that may impede productivity.
  6. Maintain operational excellence. To ensure maximum benefit of the migration to your organization, establish a plan that keeps up with system issues, adopts new features, and accelerates user adoption.

Current Skype for Business users will be offered an automated upgrade to Microsoft Teams, enabling a hassle-free move. However, those who have the necessary resources or those who want to be more involved in their company's systems can manage their upgrades.

Microsoft offers two upgrade paths for organizations: Upgrade Basic and Upgrade Pro. The former is designed for smaller enterprises and those with simple deployments such as instant messaging (IM), and can quickly move all users to Teams at once. The latter is for those with more complex deployment scenarios such as voice calling, and might benefit more from a phased upgrade approach.

All things considered, it’s worth noting that your migration to Microsoft Teams shouldn’t be too much of a concern. The features present in Skype for Business will still exist, but the new application will bring your firm a much more streamlined approach that will improve your productivity.

Do you need help transitioning your online communication systems from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams? We can help. USWired’s Office 365 offering can get your company a cutting-edge cloud solution that will boost your productivity. Call us today!