How to navigate a Microsoft Teams migration from Skype for Business

A Microsoft Teams deployment seems inevitable for Skype for Business users. Learn how to prepare your organization, whether you're in the cloud or on premises.

What does a Microsoft Teams migration look like? For many organizations, the path to Teams will be shaped by their current Skype for Business deployments and plans for the cloud.

The Microsoft Teams migration is not simply a rebrand, like the transition from Lync to Skype for Business. Microsoft Teams is an entirely different, cloud-based product. The path ahead will be unique for each organization.

Microsoft announced in September 2017 it would replace Skype for Business with cloud-based Teams as the main communications hub for Office 365. The announcement has left both cloud and on-premises Skype for Business customers wondering how to approach the transition.

Teams is now ready to be a complete replacement for Skype for Business, according to Microsoft’s August blog post with the recent addition of features for Meetings, and an update available for Skype Room Systems that enables them the join Teams meetings. Microsoft's roadmap details their plans for additional functionality to come within the year.

We have put together a summary list of the Microsoft-recommended path for customers looking to make the move to Microsoft Teams, and will continue to feature educational resources to help make the transition more comfortable.

Pilot Teams alongside Skype for Business

Testing Teams becomes critically important when tackling the migration. When running a Teams pilot, organizations should keep a detailed comparison of quality, reliability, usage, and adoption and satisfaction statistics to compare with Skype for Business.

Nearly 70% of Skype for Business users have started using Teams either as a pilot or a complete migration, said Lori Wright, general manager of Microsoft Teams and Skype. Microsoft has encouraged organizations to run Teams parallel to Skype for Business to get the platform running and to get employees used to the Teams experience.

On-premises Skype for Business customers should also start piloting Teams, Wright said. Later this year, Microsoft will release Skype for Business Server 2019, which can support on-premises users. Microsoft currently does not have plans for another server beyond the 2019 release, but would not rule out any future updates, Wright said.

"As we continue to build features, and as [on-premises users are] ready to go from on premises to cloud, Teams will be the place for them to go," she said.

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How to prepare for Microsoft Teams

Finding the right Microsoft Teams migration

A Microsoft Teams migration will not be a one-size-fits-all strategy for organizations. How an organization has deployed Skype for Business will dictate how to approach the migration.

Organizations that are fully in the cloud and intend to stay in the cloud should start piloting Teams. Organizations planning to move some or all of their users to the cloud can continue with their plans to move users to Skype for Business Online. While Microsoft has said organizations can move to Teams once they're ready, they will more aggressively push organizations to Teams in 2021.

On-premises organizations that are happy with their current setups should delay a Microsoft Teams migration and consider deploying Skype for Business Server 2019. On-premises organizations that don't have a definitive plan for Teams should take time to define their specific requirements for a migration and wait to see if Microsoft delivers on its roadmap.

For more information on Microsoft Teams or Skype for Business, or assistance in the planning or transition, Betach has the experts to assist you. Contact us at (403) 984-2473 or info@betach.com.