With less than two months to go until the Skype for Business Online End of Life, are you and your business ready and what does it mean for you if you aren’t?
Failure to act could result in serious issues for you and your businesses ability to communicate or operate if you are impacted by the announcement so if you still use Skype for Business today, it’s critical that you understand what is happening and what you need to next.
Skype for Business Online has been with us for many years but it’s time for the Skype for Business Online End of Life. Let’s set one thing straight from the offset and that is that Skype for Business Server on-premises is not affected by this milestone and we’ll go on to clarify that point here.
If you are using Skype for Business Online then you will be impacted by the changes unless you move to Microsoft Teams before the end of life date. In this article, we’ll cover in summary what’s changing, the broad impact, and what you need to consider along the way.
Clarifying the Skype for Business Server support policy
Skype for Business Server on-premises deployments are still supported and will be for some time to come if you aren’t using cloud products like Skype for Business Online or Microsoft Teams. Skype for Business Server 2015 mainstream support ended in October 2020 and extended support is available until October 2025. Skype for Business server 2019 mainstream support runs until January 2024 and extended support until October 2025.
What is affected by the Skype for Business Online End of Life announcement?
If you’re using Microsoft 365 services for your cloud productivity and you haven’t yet fully transitioned to Microsoft Teams, then you likely will be impacted. If you are using Skype for Business Server on-premises and are planning to migrate to the online services, you could be affected.
We’re exclusively using Skype for Business Online today
If you are using Skype for Business Online today then you either need to transition to Teams Only at your own pace before the deadline date. Moving from Skype for Business Online to Microsoft Teams doesn’t need to be a painful ordeal if it’s planned, coordinated, and communicated correctly.
If you don’t move to Teams Only mode prior to the deadline date, you’re going to be forced across which isn’t going to give you the control or ability to pick and choose how and when it happens.
We’re partway through moving to Microsoft Teams
If you’ve started the migration process from Skype for Business Online to Microsoft Teams such as setting up your co-existence mode to start using some of the Teams functionality such as moving your Meetings and Collaboration to Teams, great, you’re partway there but there’s still going to be a cutover which will affect you.
We’re using Skype for Business Server on-premises
The initial impact on you is zero. Your on-premsies servers will continue to work as they are. Where you will be impacted is if you decide to move to the cloud in the future.
At present, the migration process from Skype for Business Server to online has two paths. You can either go to Skype for Business Online as an interim hop before moving all the way to Microsoft Teams or you can skip the Skype for Business Online step and go direct to Microsoft Teams.
After the end of life date for Skype for Business Online you will no longer be able to move users to Skype for Business Online in the interim and users will automatically be moved direct to Microsoft Teams.
The other way you could be affected is through PSTN telephony. If you have any connectivity set-up between Skype for Business Server and Skype for Business Online for telephony, this will be impacted.
Considering the impact of the Skype for Business Online End of Life and migration
When you’re thinking about the transition from Skype for Business Server or Skype for Business Online, there’s things you need to think about when it comes to being able to effectively support and communicate with your users on the changes.
- How will people message one another using instant messaging?
- How will people schedule meetings?
- Are you using Skype for Business as your phone system and how will people make and receive phone calls?
- Are you using call management features such as Response Groups, Call Queues, or Auto Attendants to create IVR systems and how will these work?
If you have hardware devices which are Skype for Business certified devices such as desk phones, conferencing systems or meeting rooms, how will these work in a post-Skype world? Are you going to need to replace any of your hardware devices or can they be upgraded to a version of the software that supports Microsoft Teams?
Testing a move to Microsoft Teams
Fortunately, it’s really easy for you to test what may be impacted or to try out the Microsoft Teams experience before it hits all your users. Via the Microsoft Teams Admin Center, you’re able to configure individual users to use a specific Teams co-existence mode to test the experience.
Once you’ve tested individual users in a pilot group with Teams Only and you’re confident it works and does everything you think it will, you can change the organisation level setting to Teams Only Mode to move everyone across.
The Microsoft article Migration and Interoperability at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/migration-interop-guidance-for-teams-with-skype provides important guidance for understanding the user experience during a migration period so that you can understand how and where messages and calls will be routed between Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business Online.
If you are moving to Microsoft Teams from Skype for Business Server on-premises and you have on-premises Exchange Servers, you will need to also be aware of the calendar interoperability that only works with Exchange Server 2016. We’ve written about this previously in our article Using Microsoft Teams Calendar with Exchange Server On-premises.
Need help moving?
If you aren’t sure whether you will be affected by the changes or perhaps you know you will be and need help to get there? Drop us a message at Arcible and find out how we can help.
We work with Microsoft Teams and the wider Microsoft 365 suite as part of our Cloud Productivity services. We can help you identify what needs to change, when, how, and help you along your Microsoft Teams adoption journey.