News out of Microsoft Ignite Orlando this morning: Microsoft Teams is set to replace Skype for Business as the primary collaboration/teamwork platform – eventually. This came as no surprise to many, given the slip up that occurred last month.

Rest assured that this change will not be forced onto end users, and, for the time being, Teams will only be an option to replacing Skype for Business users homed to Office 365 only: on-premises Skype for Business environments/users will not be affected. That makes sense, as typically it’s on-premises environments that have additional complexity to deal with, such as telephony, video conferencing or custom application interoperability that may not be possible in the cloud just yet.

Office 365 administrators will be able to select from three different policy options to control the migration to Teams:

  • Side By Side (Teams and Skype for Business running together)
  • Side by Side with Notify (you can use both, but you will receive a banner at the top of the Skype for Business client advising that you can now use Teams)
  • Teams Only (Skype for Business client will only be used to join Skype for Business meetings)

Please excuse the terrible image quality, there will be higher quality slides released during Ignite.


What does this mean for Skype for Business Server/Hybrid?

Here’s the slide showing what to expect with the next version of Skype for Business server. Note the target date of availability: Q4 2018. key takeaways:

  • Will support SfB Enterprise Voice on-premises for the foreseeable future
  • Will introduce cloud analytics/voice apps into on-premises server environments
  • Improved Teams interoperability

Skype for Business Features in Teams

Here’s some of the traditionally Skype for Business features and capabilities that will soon appear in the Teams client (demonstrated in today’s session):

  • Import your Skype for Business buddy list groups and contacts directly into Teams
  • Single presence model across Skype for Business and Teams (no more out of sync presence)
  • Calls tab built into Teams, with contacts, speed dials, suggested contacts, etc
  • Exchange Voicemail tab, presumably using Azure Voicemail
  • Full PSTN dialler (assumes PSTN calling availability for this feature to function)
  • Call transfer within Teams
  • Create Teams Online Meeting directly within Teams thread, recording of meeting saved to thread (very cool)
  • Search for words said in meeting to jump to, utilises speech recognition, transcription (AI/Machine learning capabilities, also very cool) – really using the power of Microsoft Stream embedded into Teams

There’s still a ton on unknowns regarding the Teams announcement. What does this mean for Skype for Business Online certified devices, such as Polycom group, Polycom Trio? What about Skype Room System? Will it become a Teams Room System? Is a new app on the way for Surface Hub? Will I be able to integrate Cloud Connector Edition with Teams?

Additional Notes from Today’s Session

Is this Teams thing ready for me?

  • Security and Compliance
    • Diverse Data Centres
    • Conditional Access & MAM support
    • Retention Policies
    • E-discovery and Audit (Audit Log search data that’s in Microsoft Graph)
  • New Teams and SfB Admin Centre, built from the ground up
  • Nothing changes with calling plans, PSTN conferencing, call queues etc when migrating to Teams
  • Interop with Skype Room System, as well as interop services from Polycom/Pexip/BlueJeans to come

How do I transition my users between environments?

  • Use the new and improved Skype for Business & Teams Admin portal
  • Select users and set Teams upgrade status:
    • Side By Side (Teams and Skype for Business running together)
    • Side by Side with Notify (you can use both, but you will receive a banner at the top of the Skype for Business client)
    • Teams Only (Skype for Business client will only be used to join Skype for Business meetings
  • If select Teams Only, SfB client will only join SfB meetings only, everything else is moved to Teams
  • Will be able to have some users on Teams, some on SfB, calls between, transfers etc work

What about devices?

A new player to SRS endpoints, and a couple of new players to the conferencing interop space:


To learn more, check out Microsoft Fast Track site: Get started on your Microsoft Teams Journey

There will be more sessions during the week that will delve deeper into some of the changes mentioned above. Stay tuned for daily updates!

Damien Margaritis

Damien Margaritis

Principal Consultant: Modern Workplace at Insync Technology
Damien Margaritis is the Principal Consultant for the Modern Workplace practice at Insync Technology: an innovative Microsoft systems integrator. Damien is also involved with organising the Melbourne Skype for Business User Group, held quarterly at Microsoft’s Melbourne offices.

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