Microsoft is now aiming to bring the capabilities of Skype for Business in the cloud into Teams to deliver a single hub for teamwork, with built-in, fully integrated voice and video. As users are working on more teams, Microsoft want to more seamlessly integrate communication capabilities into Teams so users can have a single place for their conversations, contacts, and content. In this post, we show the similarities and differences between Skype for Business and Teams, along with FAQ’s on Microsoft’s vision for bringing these two solutions together.

skype for business and ms teams comparison

Is there a locked in deadline for customers to move from Skype for Business Online to Teams?

The roadmap for Teams was made available so customers can assess the capabilities for Teams relative to their needs and plan their move to Teams. Customers can determine the timing for moving to Teams that best meets their needs. A great way to stay on top of news about the journey from Skype for Business to Teams is the Skype for Busineses to Microsoft Teams Capabilities Roadmap – a downloadable PDF that gives Microsoft’s current expectations about Skype for Business capabilities coming to Teams.

Do you Know Why is Microsoft planning on bringing Skype for Business and Teams together?

As users are working on more teams, Microsoft sees the opportunity to more seamlessly integrate our communication capabilities into Teams so users can have a single place for their conversations, contacts, and content. We believe Teams also provides a modern cloud infrastructure that enables us to take advantage of our assets for artificial intelligence such as AI, Microsoft Graph, and LinkedIn to deliver intelligent communications. With Teams, they are creating new experiences for meetings and calling, including the prep, delivery, and post–follow-ups.

What is Microsoft’s new vision for Intelligent Communications (aka Unified Communications vision)?

Microsoft is now aiming to bring the capabilities of Skype for Business in the cloud into Teams to deliver a single hub for teamwork, with built-in, fully integrated voice and video. By tightly weaving communications into the apps teams use to collaborate every day, alongside AI, Microsoft Graph, LinkedIn, and other data and cognitive services, we are enabling Intelligent Communications, revolutionizing calling and meeting experiences.

What are the benefits of the back-end infrastructure?

Supported by the new Skype back-end infrastructure, Teams is built for the cloud on a highly scalable microservices architecture that’s efficient in bandwidth consumption, provides 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.

Will you continue to invest in improving Skype for Business in Office 365?

Their vision for bringing together Intelligent Communications and collaboration is focused on Teams. Microsoft plans to continue to support the Skype for Business service and client in Office 365. We have no plan to remove Skype for Business from Office 365 subscriptions at this time. We plan to continue to support the Skype for Business clients to access on-premises server and online services. There is no end-of-support date at this time.

What does this mean from a licensing point of view? How will customers pay for Intelligent Communications services in Teams?

Teams is available in 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 as part of E5 with Skype for Business, Audio Conferencing will be enabled in Teams as it’s available today.

Is Microsoft planning scheduled upgrades?

Currently, we have no plans to schedule upgrades for enterprise customers. Customers can choose to move to Teams as the capabilities meet their business needs. We’ll empower administrators and users with tools and guidance to assist them in the transition to Teams.

The Skype to Teams Upgrade what to expect

What does it mean to have Teams “be ready” for my organization?

As an existing Skype for Business customer, you’ll know Teams is ready when it meets the Skype for Business functionality that’s currently enabled and active in your organization. Aligning your upgrade with the availability of relevant functionality will help ease your users’ transition from Skype for Business to Teams. In addition to understanding when Teams might be ready for your organization, you also want to plan for your organization’s readiness for Teams, from validating technical readiness to implementing a user readiness and acceptance strategy.

Approximately How long will it take to upgrade to Teams?

Your organization’s journey from Skype for Business to Teams can be defined by you. To assist in your planning and execution, you can choose from two core upgrade paths, Upgrade Basic and Upgrade Pro. Upgrade Basic is for smaller organizations or those with low Skype for Business adoption or core workloads such as IM, and is designed to upgrade your entire organization to Teams at once. Upgrade Pro is for organizations with expanded functionality for those who’d benefit from a more phased upgrade approach. Review both paths to determine the optimal approach for your organization.

How come I don’t see a “Teams only” mode in my portal?

We’ll be enabling this mode in the coming months. Further, you’ll see additional coexistence modes lighting up, enabling your organization to manage the Skype for Business to Teams journey that’s right for your organization. Learn more about the coexistence and upgrade modes that are available or will be available soon.

What are the necessary steps to be done to prepare for the upgrade?

A successful upgrade will include validating technical readiness in addition to user acceptance readiness. Even if Teams isn’t quite ready for an upgrade, your organization can begin planning today. Further, you can start realizing the value of Teams by enabling Teams alongside Skype for Business. Get started on your Skype to Teams journey today.

What If My organization is already running Teams alongside Skype for Business. Can I just disable Skype for Business?

No, you’ll want to switch users to Teams only mode to complete their upgrade to Teams. If your organization is ready to transition to Teams, take time to communicate to users to let them know what’s happening and allow them some time to acclimate to Teams. This will help ensure they have a positive upgrade experience and help alleviate calls to your helpdesk. For sample communication templates, download our Upgrade Success Kit.

Do we upgrade all users on my tenant together, or can I opt to upgrade select users at a time?

You have the flexibility to upgrade users as Teams meets your needs, whether it’s individuals, groups of users, or your entire organization. To help understand the optimal approach for your organization, review the various coexistence and upgrade modes that you can enable.

What happens after users are upgraded?

After your users are upgraded to Teams (Teams only mode):

  • Their Skype for Business client will be disabled for use as all chat and calls will go to Teams. This client will be used for previously scheduled Skype for Business meetings. If this desktop client is uninstalled, users will be redirected to access previously scheduled Skype for Business meetings via the Skype for Business Web App.
  • Any Skype for Business meetings scheduled before the upgrade will work as designed, but all new meetings will be scheduled in Teams.
  • If users attempt to sign in to Skype for Business, they’ll get a notification from their client that they’ve been upgraded to Teams.
  • Users will need to manually uninstall the Skype for Business client on their mobile device.

Will users still be able to use Skype for Business after I activate the upgrade notification in their client?

Yes. The upgrade notification will simply alert users that Skype for Business will be upgrading to Teams and invite them to get started with Teams, if they haven’t already. We recommend complementing this notification with an awareness campaign (emails, FAQs, helpdesk readiness, posters/signage) to communicate further details specific to your organization, such as timing for the upgrade, calls-to-action for the user, access to training, and so on.

Skype to Teams Roadmap

How can customers learn when Skype for Business capabilities will be available in Teams?

We’ve made information about upcoming Teams features available on the Office 365 Roadmap. The Skype to Teams–specific roadmap is available here.

Which APIs and SDKs will be made available for Teams?

Please visit the Microsoft Teams developer platform for information about available APIs and SDKs.

Will you support third-party development opportunities in Teams?

Yes. We currently support third-party bots, connectors, and extensions in Teams. In addition, we have a large ecosystem of add-ins available in the Microsoft Teams app store.

Is Teams available in Office 365 Education sku?

Teams is available in all Office 365 for Education suite licensing: Education, Education Plus, and Education E5, in addition to existing Education E3 customers who purchased E3 before it was retired.

Do you have plans to offer Teams in the government community cloud (GCC)?

Microsoft Teams will begin rolling out for the US Government Cloud Community (GCC) on July 17 and will be available for all eligible customers by the end of August 2018. See this blog post for more details.

Calling capabilities

What is the plan for Microsoft’s online voice capabilities?

We’ve added our currently available Phone System (formerly known as Cloud PBX) and calling capabilities to Teams. Although the majority of our Phone System features have landed in Teams, a few additional enterprise features are slated for the fourth quarter of 2018 (dates subject to change).

What is the guidance for customers already deployed on Phone System (Cloud PBX) in Skype for Business Online?

Customers should evaluate the Teams roadmap to determine when capabilities will meet their business needs. We encourage all Office 365 customers to start using Teams, independently of or in parallel with Skype for Business.

When will hybrid customers be able to move to Teams?

We’ve simplified how customers connect trunks or third-party telephony systems to Office 365, based on customer feedback. For calling, customers interested in bringing their own telephone service to Teams can now do so with the general availability of Direct Routing. Direct Routing and Calling Plans are the two choices for dial tone in Microsoft Teams.

Messaging capabilities

Will people-centric conversations be available in the new client?

One of the many advantages of using Teams is that users gain access to new communication features. All chat is people-centric in Teams. Users can easily review their entire history of chat with other users from their client or browser. Searches are easier to execute.

Meeting capabilities

Is Audio Conferencing coverage in Teams different in Skype for Business?

There will be no change in the coverage for Audio Conferencing as a result of its availability in Teams. The coverage of 90+ countries and 400+ cities we have today will continue to persist in both products. For the current list, see Country and region availability for Audio Conferencing and Calling Plans.

Are third-party audio conferencing providers (ACP) supported in Teams?

There are no plans to support third-party audio conferencing providers (ACP) in Teams. We believe the best audio conferencing experience for customers using Teams and Skype for Business will be to use our Audio Conferencing services in Office 365 (formerly PSTN Conferencing). Customers who need to leverage our ACP support in Skype for Business meetings can continue to use their Skype for Business client. Meetings scheduled within the Teams client will only support the Audio Conferencing services of Office 365.

What’s the plan for video interoperability support for Teams meetings?

Meeting room devices are critical to our vision for the modern workplace. Cloud video interoperability services to support Teams meetings with existing VTC systems are underway, with offerings from Pexip, Polycom, and Blue Jeans to be generally available in the fall. Customers can continue to use Polycom Real Connect for Office 365 with Skype for Business Online.

Will the latest generation of Skype Room Systems (v2) support meetings in Teams?

Meeting room devices are critical to our vision for the modern workplace, and we continue our momentum with Skype Room Systems. A Skype Room Systems update is now available to join Teams meetings, in addition to the ability for users to identify nearby Skype Room Systems with proximity detection. Dual screens and panoramic devices are planned for later releases.

Will Skype Room Systems V1 be updated to support Teams meetings?

Meeting room devices are critical to our vision for the modern workplace. Skype Room Systems v1 (also known as Lync Room Systems) will have an upgrade available that will allow these devices to join Teams Meetings. As part of that upgrade process, we’ll also upgrade these devices from Windows 7 to Windows 10 to further secure the devices. For those devices that use touchscreens, you’ll lose access to touch features and features such as inking, PowerPoint annotation, and Whiteboarding, and front-of-room touch to start a meeting will stop working.

Management capabilities

What’s planned for new management experiences?

Microsoft has launched the Microsoft Teams & Skype for Business Admin Center for IT pros within the Office 365 Admin Center. Like the Skype for Business Admin Console, this new portal will be a single place to administer our new experiences. The initial release of the portal, targeted for the first quarter of 2018, is designed to support administration through an enterprise-ready policy model for Teams-only customers, replacing the existing administration interface for Teams. With this portal, we’ll be able to create custom presence, chat, app, meeting, and voice policies and assign those policies to Teams users.

Device compatibility

Can I use Teams on Surface Hub?

Teams meetings is now available on Surface Hub with Calling and Meetings experience. For more information, see Deploy Microsoft Teams for Surface Hub.

Will certified Skype for Business online phones work with Teams?

For all questions related to phone compatibility, see the Certified Skype for Business Online Phones and what this means for Teams blog.

For more information on Microsoft Teams click here to download the quickstart guide.

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