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Will Microsoft Teams be the future of Skype for Business?

 

The last couple of days there has been a lot of buzz around Microsoft upgrading some Office 365 users with Skype for Business Online to Microsoft Teams.

This upgrade is suspected to be a test, as there has been no official announcement from Microsoft. In light of these speculations, we want to provide a brief overview about the state of both of these products today.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams was launched in preview on November 2 (2016), as a ‘chat-based’ workspace and hereby a direct answer to Slack. It provides built-in features of several Microsoft products as Sharepoint, OneNote and Skype for Business.

The messaging part of Microsoft Teams is based on a persistent chat experience. You can send chat messages to your whole team or you can send a private chat message to someone in your organization.

Team channels are conversations that everyone on the team can see. Private chats are only visible to those people in the chat. – Support.office.com

When you’re in a private internal chat conversation, it is also possible to start a (Skype) Audio or Video call with the same person.

From a team channel chat, this would result in an ad-hoc meeting with audio and video enablement.

From Microsoft Teams meetings can be scheduled, again ‘in private’ with an internal colleague or directly for the whole team (based on the related team channel). Meetings in Microsoft Teams are limited to 80 participants.

Guest Access is a new release this month in Microsoft Teams. Microsoft has announced that this new feature will first be rolled out to all Office 365 commercial and educational customers. Guest Access allows organizations to give access to Teams to outside parties. This is very useful if you have external people collaborating on your projects. To secure this external Guest Access, Microsoft will allow your Teams admin to easily manage permissions and view reports on the activities of those external guests. One important remark: for now, only Office 365 users (people with an Azure Active Directory account) can be added as a guest. Microsoft plans to also allow people with a Microsoft account (e.g. outlook.com) as a guest in the future.

Microsoft Skype for Business

Skype for Business on the other hand, has already been positioned for a long time as the Universal Communications service enabling all our real-time communication needs, including:

  • Sharing rich Presence (including status, location and social)
  • Federation service with external people using Lync, Skype for Business or Skype consumer
  • Several meeting experiences (Online meetings up to 250 active internal and external participants, PSTN Conferencing services for audio dial-in/dial-out calling and Meeting Broadcast up to 10.000 participants)
  • Telephony (PBX) integration and migration/replacement
  • Device choice for audio and video communications (USB audio/video, IP deskphones, wireless DECT/WiFi phones, VC Room systems, …)
  • 3rd party integrations for all Enterprise needs (Contact Center software, Attendant/Receptionist solutions, call accounting, …)

 

Looking at this tremendous list of unique possibilities, Skype for Business has earned its place as a modern communications solution. It’s current solution offers a lot of ‘must-have’ communication features that are not yet available in Microsoft Teams.

Teams vs Skype for Business

Will one product replace the other? It’s hard to tell but I think not. In my humble opinion, we need both, each for their own specific pros. Microsoft Teams delivers a great interface to collaborate on projects, with a mix of frequent chats, team meetings (personal device based), shared documents and integration with other Team applications (e.g. Microsoft Planner, …). Whereas Skype for Business is the best for enhanced Realtime Communications (incl. telephone (PBX replacement) and Video Conference Room integrations). There’s still a way to go before Microsoft Teams can also consolidate the rich feature set of Skype for Business, but times are changing, and we will keep you informed of any releases or updates to this as Microsoft Ignite approaches. This is Microsoft’s biggest IT Pro conference that always provides some great announcements.

“Ignite is fast approaching, and everyone at Microsoft Teams is really excited to make the debut appearance at the event. We have a lot of exciting content for you across Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business - ranging from overview sessions, deep dives, ask-the-expert panels, interactions with the the product team on the expo floor, live studio, community-led sessions and much more." - Praveen Maloo 

Get in touch for more information: kristof.maes@inia.be

 

 

Inia is part of the Xylos group and is a Belgian ICT services supplier with a focus on the design, the implementation and the management of Unified Communications, Networking and Security solutions. For more than a decade Inia has been a leading system integrator working with Microsoft UC and Enterprise/Cloud Voice implementation.

 

 

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