Microsoft Teams is one of the hot Microsoft collaboration tools in the Microsoft 365 suite with huge amounts of attention and development, but not everyone is ready to jump across yet. So let’s look at the top 4 considerations for moving from Skype to Microsoft Teams.

Migrating from On-Premises Skype for Business

The hardest sell is for those of us who are using Skype for Business with Enterprise Voice as one of our Microsoft collaboration tools. That’s on-premises, not Skype for Business Online (SfBO) which now has an expiry date of 31st July 2021, and Microsoft have been fairly clear for a while that Skype for Business Online’s feature set was being moved into Microsoft Teams, and a year ago in August 2018, Microsoft announced they’d already reached feature parity in Teams vs SfBO. Microsoft also stopped provisioning SfBO for new Microsoft 365 tenants under 500 seats in October 2018, another sign they were winding down the product.

Is Enterprise Voice Ready in Teams?

Back to Skype for Business with Enterprise Voice; On-premises PABX solutions using Microsoft have been around for quite some time, going back to Lync and Office Communicator (OCS) days, so many companies who moved to this platform are heavily invested in it. Migrating to SfBO from that wasn’t as much of a hard sell, especially if the users can keep using the same client they’re used to. Moving to Teams however, has many considerations both technically and financially to work through.

I’m not going to get into the telephony side of things itself – this usually requires a specialist in the area that deals with gateways, SIP, telecommunications companies and so on to architect and implement a solution. However, you’re probably going to completely change the topology of what your network looks like in relation to calls, and with those changes are reasonable costs.

Do your desk phones support Teams?

Beyond that layer, there’s the changes in your company:

Do your desk phones support Teams? The old but reliable Polycom CX series (such as the CX600) isn’t supported for example, due to the deprecation of TLS 1.0/1.1 devices. Replacing your entire desk phone fleet is probably going to be an expensive exercise in itself.

Are there any phone based features missing in Teams that you currently need? Luca Vitali’s Skype for Business and Teams Features Comparison Table gives a great rundown of all the features and where they are and aren’t supported. Features like Malicious Call Trace, Location Based Routing, Ethical Wall (Information Barriers) and Private Line currently only exist in Skype for Business on-premises. On the flip side, there are features that only exist in Teams such as Group Call Pickup (Teams definition), Guest Access (see also Anonymous Access) and Video Background Blur, which means you’ll need to assess what you won’t have anymore when moving and see if it’s a showstopper or not.

How does this impact the user experience?

The client experience itself is completely different from other Microsoft collaboration tools. Going from a compact, purely chat and call driven client to a full screen single pane of glass into everything Microsoft 365 related and beyond is a huge change. You’ll need to really be ready before staff start using Teams – you’ll need staff training (ideally find an Microsoft 365 adoption specialist!), and if you haven’t tightened that up for policies and security (such as Multi-factor Authentication), there’s a long but worthwhile road ahead to get your environment in a ready state. If you’re not using Exchange Online for your emails, you’re probably not going to have a fun time with the rest of Microsoft 365 which often works better or simply requires a user to have their mailbox cloud based for features to work.

It’s also worth looking at the Microsoft Teams UserVoice to see what the most popular feature requests are – more than likely the top voted ones you’ll agree with, and it’s worth knowing about those possible pain points before you get started.

Concluding Thoughts

Finally, look at Microsoft Teams Upgrade Modes – they’re different modes your Skype for Business and Teams setup can be in, and the option chosen will define if/how each product talks to each other. Even before migrating, if your users have access to both products you’ll need to get your head around this.

This isn’t a comprehensive look into migrating from Skype for Business to Teams when you have Enterprise Voice as one of your Microsoft collaboration tools, but hopefully provides some considerations as you look at  moving from Skype to Microsoft Teams

 

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