by Clifton Medford & Heather Waterman

What’s Happening? Skype For Business Online is officially being retired on July 31, 2021, at which time it will no longer be accessible or supported. Third-party audio-conferencing providers will also stop working. If you have not planned your upgrade to Teams, Microsoft will perform an Assisted Upgrade for on-premise solutions and/or switch your environment to Teams Only for Online solutions. Your organization will be upgraded to Teams automatically starting August 1, 2021. Microsoft 365 Admins of Office 365 powered organizations can upgrade individual users or the entire tenant to Teams Only mode before this date.

The retirement was announced in 2019, just two short years after Microsoft Teams made its debut. During that time Microsoft added features to Teams reaching ‘feature parity’ with Skype for Business Online and felt that they could recommend Teams as an upgrade from Skype for Business. New Office 365 (now Microsoft 365) tenants created after September 1st, 2019, were directly onboarded to Teams over Skype for Business Online.

Help, we are still using Skype! It is time to get moving! With less than two months to Skype retirement, you want to make sure that your organization is ready for this transition. You need to plan, prepare, and communicate this roadmap of change to your organization. We recommend checking out Microsoft’s Teams Upgrade guide to get you started. If you do not have the resources or time to plan your upgrade to Teams, CREO can help. The change to Teams could still be disorienting for staff and disruptions to organizational flow, so you want to make sure you communicate and plan this transition ASAP.

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We already use Teams for Chats and Meetings. If Teams is your primary tool for chats and meetings, that is a great start. Still, you need to confirm that you are on “Teams Only” mode and not the other modes (“Co-existence” or “Islands”) that allow user access to Skype for Business or adjust the interoperability of the two systems. You can check your Teams deployment model in your Microsoft 365 Teams Admin portal. You can also confirm your Skype for Business usage with the Microsoft 365 Usage Analytics via PowerBI.

There is also a perfect opportunity to introduce your organization to the other great features in Teams, such as file-sharing/storage, real-time document collaboration, seamless use of Microsoft tools, and third-party apps. Teams’ end-user education before, during, and after the upgrade is ideal for encouraging adoption.

Creo is here to help! CREO has worked with many organizations helping them and plan and deliver their digital transformation with Microsoft 365 toolsets. We have helped organizations transition from Skype for Business Online to Teams with technical expertise navigating the path to Teams Only. These transitions included communication planning and training events for end-users. With the retirement deadline less than two months away, now is the time to ensure your organization is ready to upgrade to Teams.

If the shift to Teams has left you with an unorganized mess and confused about what tool to use and when to use it, CREO can help. Our experts can work with your organization to define what toolsets to use and when, create Teams and SharePoint governance that include naming conventions and life cycle management, and help with email and data migration over to Microsoft 365. CREO has the staff and technical know-how to get you back on the right track, reduce the sprawl and take best advantage of the Microsoft 365 tools. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.