We have used the phrase Unified Communications for some time in the industry. And many of us have used Skype for Business for Instant Messaging, Status Availability, Meetings and Voice. But what about Microsoft Teams, the new Intelligent Communications offering from Microsoft?
As a Productivity Architect I am asked about this a lot, questions like: What is it? What's the advantages? I've already invested in Skype for Business, so what now?
Let me start by saying if you run Skype for Business in your environment then, if you don’t already know, Microsoft committed to a new 2019 version.
In terms of timing, it is currently in Preview as at July 2018 and is due out in late 2018.
For Skype for Business Online (and the important part there is "online") Microsoft have announced the end is nigh. All Skype for Business functionality will transition to Teams.
So, when should you move?
When you make this transition depends on what functionality you currently use and when it will become available in Teams.
The Skype for Business to Teams roadmap can be found here.
There are different options available during the transition. These range from allowing your users to use different features in both Skype for Business and Teams, to forcing a complete transition to Teams.
The route you choose comes down to many factors. I’d recommend reading this Microsoft Summary for an overview. And some of these are not just technology based. Many relate to educating employees and end users to make sure they adopt the technology.
What is so good about Microsoft Teams?
- Microsoft Teams is the new hub for teamwork. It’s a single application that allows users to communicate through, chat, meetings and calls.
- It makes teamwork very easy. It allows you to co-author and share files in Office 365 apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, SharePoint and PowerBI.
- It's fully customisable allowing you to integrate 3rd party applications, increasing productivity.
- It's calling capabilities are developing all the time. When paired with Phone System (License) - a calling plan from Microsoft - or the newly released Direct Routing, it allows you to route calls to your on-premises telephones lines to provide a full business calling experience.
- It's available across many devices so whether at your desk, or on the move, Teams is available to you.
- All the above functionality is great, but what about compliance? all these new ways of working and sharing documents your organisation needs to be able to control and monitor its data.
- Teams leverages the enterprise grade security, compliance and management capabilities including built-in information protection, secure guest access, multi-factor authentication and more.
Wherever you are in your Microsoft 365 journey, I’d recommend Teams is one app you simply cannot overlook.
As a FastTrack ready partner, OCSL have access to a wealth of methodology and experience to assist in every step of your transition.