26 Mar 2020
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Moving from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams: Your Top 10 Questions, Answered

Microsoft has announced that Skype for Business Online (SfBO) will be retired on July 31, 2021. After that date, the service will be no more. The good news here is that your team has more than a year to prepare, so let’s begin by answering your questions about Microsoft Teams. It is important to note that Skype for Business Online and Skype for Business Server, which on premises and hosted Skype services utilize (such as ThinkTel’s Think 365 Dedicated product), will not be affected by this retirement and will continue to work as they do today.


What will happen to SfBO between now and the retirement date? 

SfBO will continue to be fully supported and will still receive security patches. However, no new features are planned. 


When should we start planning our migration? 

Now. Migrating from one unified communications service to another is a big undertaking for any organisation, clichés about turning oil tankers aside. That’s why ThinkTel is offering workshops specifically about migrating from SfBO to Microsoft Teams, proof of concept projects, and training for both users and administrators.


We use Skype for Business Server. How will this affect us? 

Good news: customers using Skype for Business Server won’t be affected. Even though Microsoft is phasing out SfBO, Skype for Business Server will continue to be supported. Microsoft has published that mainstream support for Skype for Business Server 2019 runs to January 1, 2024, with extended support to October 14, 2025. 


But what if we use a hybrid solution, combining SfBO with Skype for Business Server? 

Only customers with on-premises configurations or our Think 365 Private Cloud are unaffected by the retirement of SfBO. Hybrid customers still must transition to Microsoft Teams or a Skype for Business server solution by the retirement date. 


We’re in the middle of a SfBO deployment. What should we do? 

Our technical team and your ThinkTel Account Manager can work with your organization to choose an optimal Microsoft solution. 


We’re Think365 Connector clients. Will this affect us?

Yes. All of our Think 365 Connector clients must transition away from their SfBO solution prior to the July 31, 2021 retirement date. 


We’re currently using SfBO. Can we still add new seats to our tenant? 

Yes. SfBO is still being fully supported until the retirement date, so you can still add new seats. Just remember that all users must transition by the retirement date. 


Will Skype Meeting Broadcast retire too? 

Yes. The successor to Skype Meting Broadcast is Teams Live Events, and we’d be happy to tell your organisation all about the new functionality it will bring to your workplace. 


How will this affect our devices? 

If the decision is made to transition to Microsoft Teams, the best user experience will be maintained by using devices certified for Microsoft Teams.

If you use third-party IP phones, it’s important to know that Microsoft will no longer support 3PIP phones on Teams after July 31, 2023. Your third-party audio-conferencing devices will continue to work until the retirement date. 

If you’re using SfBO phones, you can read this short document from Microsoft detailing what kind of support you will receive. 

If the decision is made to transition to Skype for Business Server, your Skype certified devices will continue to function as expected. 


What are our options? 

Option One: you can work with ThinkTel to migrate from SfBO to Microsoft Teams. It will be your new unified communication platform, with powerful productivity boosting tools like meetings, presence, chat, and more. 

Option Two: you could sign up for Think 365 Dedicated Private Cloud Hosting. It’s ThinkTel’s private cloud Skype for Business solution, available in both Enterprise and Standard editions. This solution has high availability and disaster recovery options for these solutions.

Option Three: you can stick with Skype for Business but forgo the online part. An on-premises deployment of Skype for Business 2019 is available in both Enterprise and Standard editions, has high availability and disaster recovery options, and comes with build support for one month (30 calendar days). 

Contact ThinkTel today to discuss your options.

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