- As an existing Office 365 customer will I be able to still add new users to Skype for Business?
Existing customers of Office 365 that are using Skype for Business Online today will be able to continue adding new users.
- What are the ways a customer can be upgraded to Microsoft Teams?
Customers can successfully upgrade from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams via three ways:
- Microsoft-driven upgrade - customers will be offered an upgrade by Microsoft via an automated process. Some customers have asked for Microsoft to assist them with their upgrade to Teams, especially where they have minimal IT support.
- Partner-driven Upgrade - Partner upgrades customers’ tenant/users from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams on a customer’s behalf.
- Customer-driven Upgrade – Customer IT Admin upgrades their users to Microsoft Teams.
- Is Microsoft planning scheduled upgrades?
Microsoft is offering to assist customers with limited IT resources with automated upgrades from Skype for Business Online to Teams. Microsoft is not currently offering automated upgrades for larger customers, and these customers can choose to move to Microsoft Teams as the capabilities meet their business needs.
- What does Microsoft’s upgrade guidance entail?
As customers are not “one-size-fits-all”, organizations may have specific requirements when it comes to implementing this change. To offer added flexibility, Microsoft has organized this framework into two tailored upgrade paths:
- Upgrade Basic: Targeted for smaller organizations or those with out-of-the-box deployments, Upgrade Basic is a ten-step checklist designed to quickly upgrade an entire organization to Teams.
- Upgrade Pro: Targeted for larger organizations or those with customized deployments, Upgrade Pro includes Pre-, During- and Post-Upgrade phases to accommodate move to Teams over a period of time. Upgrade Pro offers detailed resources across both technical and user readiness to assist in conducting a pilot, using Skype for Business and Teams in co-existence, and driving user awareness.
- What if a customer is upgraded and encounters issues with the upgrade?
If a customer is upgraded and requires to be reverted back to Skype for Business Online it will require a customer/partner to open a support case with Microsoft Support.
- How will upgrades to Teams be communicated to customers?
As part of the Microsoft automated upgrade experience, Microsoft will proactively communicate with customers in two ways: 1) Message Center posts within the Microsoft Teams & Skype for Business Admin Center and 2) Relationship Marketing emails sent to the Skype for Business Online IT Administrator(s).
These communications will provide:
- step-by-step upgrade guidance if customers wish to upgrade their tenant on their own
- a date for which their tenant will be upgraded to Microsoft Teams should they choose to not take any action of their own
- A process by which they can choose to postpone the Microsoft automated upgrade experience.
Customers, regardless of size, can elect to opt-in to take advantage of the Microsoft automated upgrades or use the customer self-guidance. Please refer to Helpdesk Guide for Partners for the detailed timelines.
- As a Microsoft partner, can I elect to upgrade my customers prior to the Microsoft-driven automated upgrade?
Partners can choose to proactively upgrade their customers if they do not wish to rely on the automated upgrade process. This is accomplished through PowerShell commands (using Admin on Behalf Of/Delegated Admin Permissions) today, and will become available through the Skype for Business and Teams Admin Center (Modern Portal) later this calendar year.
- What do you recommend for customers who are currently in the process or planning to deploy Skype for Business Online?
Microsoft’s vision for bringing together Intelligent Communications and collaboration is focused on Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams is now the default application for messaging, meetings, and calling in Office 365. For the optimal meetings, calling and chat experiences move customers to Microsoft Teams as soon as their business requirements can be met.
- What resources exist to prepare our service desk management and help desk staff?
Microsoft recognize that partner’s service desk staff need to be provided the appropriate guidance and resources to support their customers upgrade from Skype for Business to Teams. As a result, Microsoft has developed the following Helpdesk Guide for Partners to assist your support staff in the Microsoft-driven Upgrades.
- What happens once users are upgraded?
- Once upgraded, Teams will become the user’s default client for chat, voice, video and meetings in Office 365. When users are upgraded to Teams (e.g. Teams Only mode):
- Their Skype for Business client will be disabled, and all chat and calls will go to Teams. Note that this will not uninstall the Skype for Business client on users' desktops.
- Any Skype for Business meetings scheduled prior to the upgrade will work as designed, but all new meetings will be scheduled to Teams. Previously scheduled Skype for Business meetings will connect via the Skype for Business desktop client, or Skype Web App.
- If users attempt to sign in to Skype for Business, they will receive a notification in their client that they have been upgraded to Teams.
- Users and/or IT administrators will need to uninstall the Skype for Business client on their mobile devices manually.
- What is the future of Skype for Business Server?
Microsoft recognize that customers are using Skype for Business on-premises and many need to use Skype for Business on-premises for some users or geographies due to their requirements. Microsoft is targeting general availability of Skype for Business Server 2019 by the end of 2018 (dates subject to change).
- What will happen to the Skype brand?
Microsoft remains committed to the overall Skype brand which represents a family of communications capabilities across Microsoft’s consumer and commercial segments. Skype remains the product name for Microsoft’s consumer offer and Skype for Business remains as the product name for the on-premises server. The Skype for Business brand will also surface in voice and video experiences within Teams.
- What does this mean for existing Office 365 customers?
Microsoft will bring the key set of Skype for Business capabilities in Office 365 into Teams over time along with new voice, video, and meetings innovation. Customers may choose to migrate Skype for Business users when the capabilities meet their requirements. Microsoft encourages all Office 365 customers to start using Teams independently or side-by-side (islands-mode) with Skype for Business.
- Will Microsoft continue to invest in improving Skype for Business in Office 365?
Microsoft plans to continue to support Skype for Business in Office 365. Microsoft plans to continue to support the Skype for Business service and client. Microsoft has no plan to remove Skype for Business from Office 365 subscriptions at this time. There is also no end of support date at this time.
- What does this mean from a licensing perspective? How will customers pay for Intelligent Communications services in Teams?
Teams is available in the Office 365 suites. Capabilities that are premium workloads in Skype for Business in Office 365 today will continue to be premium workloads in Teams. Existing licensing investments made by customers will carry forward to Teams. For example, if a customer has purchased Audio Conferencing standalone or E5 with Skype for Business, Audio Conferencing will be enabled in Teams as it is available today.
- What do you recommend for customers who are currently in the process or planning to deploy Skype for Business?
Customers should evaluate the Teams roadmap to determine if capabilities will meet business needs and timing requirements. If so, they should adjust strategy to deploy Teams. Planning and infrastructure investments such as network assessments will accrue to Teams deployment. If not, customers should move forward with Skype for Business. Microsoft encourages all Office 365 customers to start using Teams, independently or in parallel with Skype for Business.
- Tell me about the benefits of the backend infrastructure.
Supported by the new Skype back-end infrastructure, Teams is built for the cloud on a highly scalable micro services architecture that’s efficient in bandwidth consumption, provides a more robust telemetry, and enables maintenance and upgrades with minimal disruption. As a result, users will see faster meeting join times and a better browser experience without needing to download plug-ins. This modern infrastructure makes it easy to tap into Microsoft Cognitive Services, which include transcription, translation, speech recognition, and machine learning capabilities and have the power to make communication and collaboration easier and more effective.