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Skype for Business Online Being Retired in 2021

Say it ain’t so! Our beloved Unified Communications platform will sadly be pushing up daisies starting July 31, 2021. For most of us working with Skype for Business (Online) we knew it was only a matter of time before Teams took the throne as Microsoft’s preferred UC/IC product. Microsoft has made this clear over the past year with almost all of their focus going towards Microsoft Teams while Skype for Business Online planned for an early grave. In this article we’ll discuss what this retirement plan includes and what this will mean for those of you currently on Skype for Business Online. With that being said, let’s get discuss what will happen to your Skype for Business Online environment before it kicks the bucket.

Skype for Business Online Retirement Plan

Yes, believe it or not Microsoft doesn’t want to leave you as a loyal customer dead in the water after Skype for Business Online is swimming with the fishes. Microsoft has stated that, “starting September 1, 2019 (yes… that is only a couple weeks away), we will onboard all new Office 365 customers directly to Teams for chat, meetings, and calling. For those of you using Skype for Business On-premises you need not worry as this change will not affect you. So, why has Microsoft opted to go this route all of the sudden? Well simply put, Microsoft now feels that Teams provides all the functionality (and then some) that Skype for Business Online provided so they can confidently recommend that every Skype for Business Online customer upgrade to Teams.

How is Microsoft Helping?

Microsoft has gathered feedback from current Skype for Business Online users to provide some of the features that weren’t offered in Skype for Business Online and integrate these into Microsoft Teams. Some of the feature requests included:

  • Dynamic 911
    • Automatically find a caller’s current location so you can route to a PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) call center operated by the local government. Dynamic E911 is due by the end of 2019!
  • Shorter Retention Periods
    • Set retention periods to as short a 1 day! This ensures channel and chat data will be removed from all permanent storage locations in the Microsoft Teams service. This feature is also due by the end of 2019!
  • Teams and Skype Consumer interoperability
    • You asked and Microsoft answered! With this latest feature you will be able to communicate between Microsoft Teams and Skype Consumer by using either chat or calling. This is due to release in Q1 2020!
  • Contact Center Integration and Compliance Recording
    • If you weren’t at Microsoft Inspire this year you may have missed the announcement of the Teams partnerships: Five9, Genesys, and NICE to enable Contact Center solutions. In addition, Compliance Recording will be offered by: ASC, NICE, and Verint! Microsoft will continue to work on expanding this list for other Contact Center and Compliance Recording providers!

Although Skype for Business Online may be meeting an untimely end, it is always good to reflect on the great (and not so great) times we had as IT admins. Afterall, Skype for Business Online has served us greatly for about 5 years now but it is time for Microsoft Teams to step up and take the throne as the preferred UC/IC service. Microsoft has some big plans for Teams and this should only instill more confidence in their vision on making Teams the great hub for teamwork that it is shaping up to be! If you’re interested in learning more on this transition to Teams, feel free to checkout Microsoft’s guidance here. If you’re the lucky guy/gal doing this transition, I highly encourage you to checkout Microsoft’s training here so you can make sure you’re properly prepared! Lastly, if your organization sees this and is full steam ahead, you have options like FastTrack to get you there quickly and confidently! I hope you have found this quick article beneficial and I encourage you to check back soon, as I release new blogs on all things Teams on a regular basis!

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