How the End of Skype for Business Online will Affect You
We recently wrote about how Skype for Business Online is temporarily alive and well, but in the interim Microsoft has decided that they need to more aggressively clear a path for Microsoft Teams. While Skype for Business Online (SfB-O) was originally Microsoft’s one and only UCaaS offering, the launch of Teams in 2017 made it clear that SfB-O would have a relatively short shelf-life.
Of course, reading the writing on the wall, it’s not just SfB-O that’s on its way out. Although there haven’t yet been any formal announcements for the end of Skype for Business on-prem, Skype for Business Server 2015 and Skype for Business Server 2019 mainstream support both already have retirement dates on the calendar.
Retiring Skype for Business Online
When is the Skype for Business Online EOL (end of life) date? Skype for Business Online End of Life is officially July 31, 2021. This means that effective after that date, the service will no longer be accessible. While those who currently use SfB-O will not be affected immediately, it does mean the days are numbered and it’s time to put a transition plan in place.
Hoping to ease the transition, Microsoft is working to address some features and functionality currently available in SfB-O that’s not yet in Teams including:
- Dynamic 911
- Shorter retention periods
- Teams and Skype Consumer interop
- Contact Center integration and compliance recording
The reality is that if you’re a current Skype for Business Online customer, it’s going to require both time and effort to migrate from SfB-O to another platform, and that effort should enter its planning phase ASAP.
The End of Skype for Business Online is Approaching – What’s Your Game Plan?
So if you’re currently utilizing Skype for Business Online, what should you do?
In its recent announcement about the Skype for Business Online end of life date, Microsoft said those using Skype for Business Online can expect to be “onboarded to Microsoft Teams for chat, meetings, and calling starting as early as September.” With the timeline to migrate from SfB to Teams quickly approaching, it’s important for IT teams to consider how they will prepare for the journey to Microsoft Teams – or taking a step back, if Microsoft Teams will be the workstream collaboration platform of choice.
Migrating to Microsoft Teams is a serious path that needs planning to be deployed properly. At a basic, high level, you should:
- Vet that Microsoft Teams is the right platform for your company
- Prepare your organization for the deployment (including determining your organization’s technical and legal readiness for Teams)
- Organize Teams and Channels
- Become familiar with security and compliance needs and tools
- Adopt a change management strategy
You can read more about successfully deploying Microsoft Teams here.
*In addition to considering your strategy for migrating to Microsoft Teams, it should be noted that certified IP phones that are working against SfBO have to be replaced with a Microsoft Teams certified device by July 2023.*
Skype for Business Server 2015, 2019, and Extended support end dates.
It’s important to note that in 2018 Microsoft announced end of life dates for both Skype for Business Server 2015 and Server 2019 mainstream support (2020 and 2023, respectively). Even extended support for both have an end date in 2025.
While there’s been no formal announcement that Skype for Business is coming to an end, it’s likely that there won’t be another Server release for Skype for Business and that it’s only a matter of time before on-premises users will be experiencing a similar transition as SfB-O users.
Considering New Collaboration and Communication Platforms
With millions of Skype for Business users, it’s likely this will impact you in one way or another. Considering this, deploying and then running new platforms can be a lot of work for IT teams to take on. Many platforms – think Microsoft Teams, Slack, Zoom, Workplace by Facebook, etc. – may already be in use within your company in small quantities. Workstream collaboration will be a $3.2 billion market by 2021 and a recent report on teamwork and collaboration found that 54% of all end users are using unapproved apps in the workplace at least a few times per year. Turning these platforms into your core collaboration and/or communications platforms is an exponential set of work
Unify Square is well-positioned to help with all aspects of your Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams (or Zoom or Slack) migrations – see how we can help.