As a user of Skype for Business for meetings, instant messaging, audio and video calls for several years, I was surprised to learn that Microsoft is bringing this application to an end.
As an integral part of most Office 365 plans, Skype for Business (S4b) offers a cost-effective method of communicating with colleges, clients and business. However, Microsoft has recently announced the retirement of Skype for Business with the functionality transitioning to Microsoft Teams. For regular users of S4b, this means coming to grips with the new Teams functionality and layout.
So what is ‘Teams’?. Launched on the 14th March 2017, Microsoft Teams is an application that is now a core part of most Office 365 subscriptions. Teams has the integrated messaging, meeting and calling capabilities of Skype for Business, plus added features of creating “Team Groups” where files, folders, meeting notes and team conversations can be grouped in one location.
The Microsoft Teams application is available from the app store for Windows PC, Mac, Mobile Android and iOS. The mobile app version features a simple design and easy to use layout with Activity, Chat, Teams, Meeting and Calls icons located at the bottom of the screen.
In the PC version of Teams, calls have an improved display layout compared to Skype for Business, with participants displayed using the full screen or displayed in a ribbon along the bottom of the screen when content is being shared.
Creating a meeting is easy within Teams or directly from an Outlook Calendar meeting. A personalised URL link to the meeting is automatically attached to emails when sending invitations. It’s now easier to start meetings on time with a one-touch join button, project to rooms displays and share to remote participants via the Teams App. We’ve all been in meetings where people have trouble joining and then delay the meeting, so this is a refreshing feature!
It’s also easier to present during a meeting by sharing your screen or giving another meeting attendee control to present a file. For example; at Calibre One, we often share content during meetings and then hand control to another Team member to walk through their content or demonstrate how to use an application. Teams also meshes nicely with other Office apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, SharePoint, and Power BI, allowing you to co-author and share files seamlessly.
Share your screen
present on a file
Audio Conferencing is an option that can be added to your Office 365 plan that allows users to join meetings from a dial-in phone number. A dial-in number makes it easy to provide access for people who may not have access to an internet connection. If you have an Office 365 E5 plan then Audio Conferencing is included, for other Office 365 plans, Audio Conferencing is available for a small monthly add-on fee. When the organiser of a meeting has the Audio Conferencing option, meeting invites will show the dial in number in invitations as shown:
Microsoft Skype for Business to Teams Transition Timeline
Customers already using Skype for Business online will be able to continue doing so (including provisioning new users) until they complete their transition to Microsoft Teams. However, as of 1st October 2018, new Office 365 customers with 500 seats or fewer will be onboarded to Microsoft Teams and will no longer have access to Skype for Business Online.
As of 1st November, Microsoft will begin offering partner-associated customers automatic upgrades from Skype for Business Online to Teams.
While the Skype for Business App is still available and working for current 365 licence holders, Calibre One recommends the immediate adoption of Teams as the primary application for Meetings, Chats, and Calls.
To see more about how Teams and Skype for Business can be used as a full cloud hosted PBX Phone system for your business visit our Telstra Calling for Office 365 Page:
Additional Information and Resources
To learn more about teams, we recommend reading this quick blog post from Microsoft: How to use common features in Teams.
Migration away from the familiar Skype interface takes some getting used to, the new Teams application, while not yet perfect, offers new and exciting capabilities including the new Telstra Calling for Office 365 that can replace your existing phone system.
If you have any questions on teams, please comment below and we’ll be happy to help!