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Skype For Business End of Life: Next Steps

November 10, 2020 / Scott Kinka, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer

2021 marks the year that Skype for Business online is no longer supported by Microsoft. In addition, no new features will be added to Skype for Business servers.

While you’ve been stuck at home these last few months, you’ve likely seen hundreds of commercials for Skype end-of-life replacement … Microsoft Teams.

  • Microsoft is recommending Teams for businesses that leverage the core functions of Skype for Business online and,
  • Teams Direct Routing for organizations that have integrated on-premises voice via onsite SBC / carrier trunks.

If you’ve not yet started the migration from Skype for Business online to Teams, here are few key considerations:

  • There is no automated upgrade path
  • While Microsoft touts a “coexistence” migration path from Skype to Teams, these have proven to be difficult and confusing.
  • Teams Direct Routing implementations require some serious expertise (check out our implementation guide here).

Suggested Next Steps for Skype For Business End of Life

Skype’s end of business with Microsoft means there are different paths an organization can take to ensure successful online meetings. Any online meeting after the Skype for Business end of life on July 31, 2021, should either utilize Microsoft’s Audio Conferencing or a third-party provider. In order to best prepare for Skype’s end of life, organizations can:

    1. Check out the Teams Upgrade framework online.
      1. It’s important to note that there is no automated upgrade path. You will need to set up Teams as if it’s a new tenant, and then figure out how to move people to Teams over time. Even though they try to make it look prescriptive
    2. Consider if you need services to co-exist while you’re transitioning. These modes blend meetings and chat based on your choices and move users from one client to the other.
      1. Most Microsoft consultants are recommending ripping off the Band-Aid and jumping right in.
    3. Determine when you want to integrate your communications/voice platform with Microsoft Teams.
      1. If you’ve already integrated a voice solution prior to Skype’s end of business, start doing your due diligence on pricing models for Teams Direct Routing and evaluate Teams phone systems for users that need a handset.

Deploying Microsoft Teams with Phone Systems

This overview dives into the major considerations you’ll want to think through, as well as provides advice on implementing Microsoft Teams Direct Routing independently or with a 3rd party enterprise voice provider like Evolve IP.

Want To Work With An Expert with Microsoft Teams Direct Routing and Voice Experience?

If you’re a mid-market or enterprise business and looking to move from Skype for Business online to Microsoft Teams, Evolve IP can help. Our Virtual Desktops platform integrates Teams with Cisco voice communications. It’s direct routing married to the #1 enterprise VoIP solution in the world. Evolve IP has the capacity and capability to perform so the Skype for Business end of life wont impact your organization.

Additionally, as a Microsoft Gold CSP, we have hundreds of MSFT certified technologists to make sure your transition from Skype for Business online to Microsoft Teams is seamless and can also provide M365 licensing and a ‘clean-up’ with best practices in the event you implemented Teams on the fly due to COVID.

      1. Microsoft announced in September 2017 that Skype for Business online would be replaced with Teams as Microsoft’s meetings and collaboration platform.
      2. Support for Skype for Business online will end in July 2021.
      3. Skype for Business Server 2019 will receive support through October 14, 2025, but will not receive any new features.
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