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During Ignite 2017, several Microsoft representatives made comments that a features and capabilities roadmap for Microsoft Teams would be released in October. Holding true to this promise, Microsoft released the roadmap last week in this blog post in the Microsoft Tech Community. The roadmap lists what is available today and what is coming for three different categories of features: Messaging, Meetings, and Calling. The features and timelines listed are based on current expectations, but as Microsoft states in the roadmap slides, these are subject to change and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions. This blog post will highlight what I am looking forward to and what it means for any transition from Skype for Business Online to Microsoft Teams.
For the Messaging roadmap, there are several capabilities expected in Q1 of 2018 for messaging policies, retention, and interop. Currently in Teams, all chats and messaging is kept indefinitely, and this could be an issue for some organizations who want to have less data to produce in cases of discovery. Being able to limit chat history/retention will be a welcome addition for those who have requirements to control this.
For the Meetings roadmap, I’m looking forward to Cloud Recording (Q2 of 2018), large meeting support for approximately 250 participants (Q2 of 2018), and Edge/Chrome browser support for meetings (Q4 of 2017). I believe the inability to record a meeting is currently the biggest feature gap, and the move not to have client-side recording is a great step in the right direction. Microsoft also demoed several other recording capabilities, such as automatic transcription and the ability to search for keywords from the meeting. This is what will set Microsoft Teams apart from the competitors and even Skype for Business. While it could be argued that many meetings are less than 10 participants, being able to host meetings larger than the current 80 participant limit will only increase adoption and provide support for those smaller company-wide meetings (without going into Broadcast meetings). Also as pointed out in my post for dial-in conferencing in preview, there currently is not support for joining meetings inside the web app. Adding support for Edge and Chrome will add to the adoption story as well.
Finally, for the Calling roadmap, several new features settings it apart from Skype for Business include call park (Q4 of 2018) and location-based routing (Q4 of 2018). I do not remember hearing any details of these features during Ignite, but these are some current Skype for Business Server on-premises features that have not made it into the Office 365 features set yet. Seeing these on the roadmap for late next year is an encouraging sign that Microsoft Teams will fill the gap and finally be equivalent to Skype for Business Server on-premises.
As I recently pointed out in my last post titled The Future of Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business, the road to Microsoft Teams is not going to be quick. If you review the slide deck, many of the features are not expected to make it to Microsoft Teams until the middle of 2018, with others not making it until the end of next year. If you are a current Skype for Business Online customer, you should continue to follow the Office 365 roadmap and see when the feature sets you need are released. Once that happens, start preparing your organization for the migration to Teams from Skype for Business. If it looks like the feature set may be a while and you want to get started now, begin a pilot program to see what is still missing for your organization and determine use cases and governance around the product. Starting the process now will only make the transition easier once the product meets your organization’s needs.
Skype for Business to Teams Capabilities Roadmap (PDF)
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