It is no secret anymore, the end of life of Skype for Business Online is scheduled for July 2021. So what does it mean exactly? Well, after July 31, 2021, Skype for Business Online will no longer be available, and integration with third-party audio providers will stop. Additionally, Microsoft no longer accepts new customers for the platform.
If your organization operates on Skype for Business Online, you need to start planning an upgrade or transition sooner rather than later.
What are your options?
There are two options that you may consider to go through this transition smoothly:
- Migrating to Skype for Business 2019
- Moving to Microsoft Teams
At Softlanding, we strongly encourage organizations to migrate to Microsoft Teams and we will explain why.
If you’re currently running on Skype for Business Server (On-Prem) or plan to upgrade to Skype for Business 2019, you are in the safe zone for now. Microsoft will provide support until 2025 for both Skype for Business Server 2015 and 2019 (see table below).
Mainstream Support Ends
Extended Support Ends
Skype for Business Online
Skype for Business Server 2015
Skype for Business Server 2019
If you are running on a hybrid environment, you’ll have to move to Microsoft Teams if you are running on Skype for Business Online (since it will be discontinued) but you can stay in a hybrid environment if you are using Skype for Business Server.
Microsoft has also announced that the next version of Skype for Business (SfB) Server will be available in the second half of 2021 and will support an in-place upgrade from SfB Server 2019. However, you will be confronted with the challenges that we describe below.
Migrating to Skype for Business 2019
If you are planning to upgrade to Skype for Business 2019, here is what you need to know. Even though upgrading to SfB 2019 will be cheaper in the short-term and less trouble, the platform will not receive any new features. Indeed, Microsoft reserves the development of new features and innovation to Microsoft Teams.
Additionally, you might need to purchase new software or hardware (e.g. with SfB 2019 you need at least MS Server 2016) and you will lose some functionalities such as persistent chat, SQL mirroring, mobility service, XMPP Gateways, etc. You can check the list of features that are deprecated from Skype for Business 2019 here.
Therefore, we recommend making transitions to Microsoft Teams as you will have to keep upgrading and you won’t receive any new features.
Moving to Microsoft Teams
If you are not familiar with Microsoft Teams, you might be wondering if the platform will provide the same features as Skype for Business offers. The good news is that Microsoft Teams offers more features than Skype for Business as it has been designed as a hub for teamwork and collaboration since its inception.
Indeed, Microsoft has been investing in Teams since 2017 to replace Skype for Business but also to help organizations get ready for the modern workplace. While Skype was a great option a few years ago, it doesn’t meet the current business needs organizations have regarding remote work, collaboration, and productivity.
Microsoft Teams provides a single and secure hub for chats, meetings, calls, video meetings, file sharing, and real-time collaboration.
If you want to dive deeper into the two platform’s features, you can visit Luca Vitali’s website here as it offers a very clear and up-to-date comparison table of the two solutions.
Transitioning to Microsoft Teams:
If you haven’t started your transition to Teams yet, here are a couple of things to take into account:
- There is no automated upgrade path
- Even though there is a “coexistence” mode to transition from Skype to Teams, this can be complex and overwhelming
- Microsoft doesn’t provide any direct support through one-on-one consultation for the migration. However, you can find many resources and events to get you started
If you want additional details on how to prepare for the transition, you can check out one of our blog post: From Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams: How to prepare for the transition
If you need some help to navigate this migration, our experts can help you make the switch smoothly and efficiently. This type of transition can be complex and often involves change management to ensure Microsoft Teams will be used to its full potential by your organization and employees.
Contact us now if you want to learn more about how Softlanding can help.