Skype for Business Online takes its final bow this Saturday, July 31st, as has Microsoft decided to consolidate its online services. Before you worry about one of the internet's oldest treasures disappearing, Skype itself will still be sticking around for a while yet – it's just Skype for Business Online that's ducking out.
Skype for Business Online is/was a communication platform for businesses, wherein users could message and video chat with each other in a work context. Before the days of COVID-19 where these platforms were plentiful, Skype for Business Online was one of the bigger names in the industry.
However, since 2017, Microsoft has decided to retire the software, slowly replacing it with Microsoft Teams. If you're the owner or stakeholder in a business that operates with Skype for Business Online, you'll need to be ready to make the switch over to Microsoft Teams.
What Are the Essentials for Skype Users?
If you're a Skype for Business Online user and this is the first you're hearing of this, worry not, you're not being left out in the cold. Microsoft has laid out a series of steps for users to take in order to smoothly move their business from Skype over to Microsoft Teams.
The first thing users will want to do is make sure that both their teams are ready to transfer, and that their information within Skype is primed for transfer. It's recommended that your users have ample time to adapt to Teams, rather than needing them to figure it out the day of an important meeting or presentation.
The second thing that is strongly recommended is a free upgrade planning workshop, offered to all Skype for Business Online users. This will help users smoothly move their businesses from platform to platform. If you're a Skype for Business Online user, this workshop is a crucial step in migrating your business.
What Else Do Users Need to Know?
While the free workshops are a fantastic resource for anyone making the switch, there are a few other things that users should know in order to make it and easy transition. For example, if you're already using both systems (Skype and Teams), it's suggested that you still make the effort to migrate your Skype data over to Teams.
Since the process of moving your business over can take a while, you might not want to do everyone at once. If you have one team that's especially busy, you might want to leave them for last so that they're not sidetracked by the move. The migration system does allow for compartmentalized moves, meaning you can take members across as you see fit. Don't delay people too long, though, as the final change must be made by July 31st!
Finally, you may be wondering why you need to bother with the migration at all. Why not just scrap Skype and start anew in Teams? Microsoft answers this question best:
Upgrading from Skype for Business to Teams is more than a technical migration. It represents a transformation in how users communicate and collaborate, and change is not always easy. The ideal upgrade approach should address the technical aspects of your upgrade as well as encourage user acceptance and adoption of Teams, driving a positive user experience and business outcome realization.
The Future of Teams
Microsoft isn't asking you to step out of one boat without your foot firmly in another. Teams has been around for a while, and is a very respected and well-tested product. Microsoft is constantly supporting Teams, releasing updates to make remote working easier and more streamlined.
We've even done some research on how the platform matches up against other software. Check out our Zoom vs Microsoft Teams guide or our Google Meet vs Microsoft Teams guide to get a better idea of how this platform matches up against its competitors.