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Skype for Business Online Says Goodbye
Skype for Business Online has an official end of life date. On July 31, 2021, you will no longer be able to access the service. However, that gives you and your team two years to figure out the next steps, and Microsoft has some guidance.
The good news for those who enjoy the online version of is that you can still add users, make calls, and utilize the service for the next two years. Microsoft has said that starting in September of this year, any new Office 365 customers will onboarded into Teams rather than Skype for Business Online.
Announcing the retirement two years out gives users the ability to assess their needs. Skype for business was a unifying communication tool that Microsoft leveraged across enterprises. Customers were able to use “instant messaging, calling, and video into a single app” according to the announcement. The features associated with Skype for business were also baked into Teams with some new features as well.
Microsoft would prefer that you migrate to Teams as online Skype for business goes away. In order to entice you, the company is adding dynamic 911, making it easier for Teams and Skype to communicate, and Contact Center. However, you should take a step back and realize why you are using Skype for Business.
Get Skype for Business free
Some are reading this that only use Skype for Business because it comes bundled with an Office 365 license. Using the service as a default isn’t a wrong reason; it isn’t a great one either. Like many software companies, Microsoft bundles its products together in the hopes that you will use them. These secondary apps include Yammer, Flow, and Planner. You and your team didn’t get Office for the use of Sway, and yet you have it. If using Skype for Business online is more comfortable than getting another video conferencing, then you can either let Microsoft switch you to Teams.
Companies who have a disparate workforce rely on products like Skype for Business online. Being able to chat and video conference daily could be your reason for getting the app initially. You and your team have daily video calls, keep running chats on the sides of your screen, and regularly dial one another up. In cases like constant unified communications, you should look into moving to Teams. Microsoft Teams has all of the chat and video functions of Skype for Business with added collaborative and communication tools. Teams is the next evolution in UCC from Redmond.
Just the Video, Please
Some only utilize the video function of Skype for Business online. These companies were using Skype before Microsoft ever purchased them in 2011. Organizations have invested in Skype, and it’s evolution, for years. Their entire address books are in there, and they aren’t quite sure where to go. In these cases, the good news is you have choices. The bad news is you have over 200 options. The current track of video conferencing services is around 250 and growing. Some cost nothing on upwards of $30 per user per month.
The move to end Skype for Business online is only the first step. Skype, in general, will be going away as Microsoft fully invests in the success and functionality of Teams. The Teams ecosystem is the centerpiece of Microsoft’s unified communications strategy. The company will still honor the Microsoft Modern Lifecycle Policy, which states the company will give “a minimum of 12 months’ notification before ending support.” As Teams evolves, there may be other apps that get integrated into the software. For now, those using Skype for Business should begin the migration over to Teams.
Futurum Research provides industry research and analysis. These columns are for educational purposes only and should not be considered in any way investment advice.
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Timothy Albright is Analyst in Residence at Futurum Research where he covers the Collaboration, Unified Communication and ProAV space. Tim is also the founder of AVNation, an audiovisual industry B2B media firm. Taking the data, ideas, and objectives of clients and industry leaders and turning them into easily digestible content is where Timothy has lived and worked for the last twenty years. His career has lead him into broadcast television and radio, education, programming, digital media production, and has been teaching and producing podcasts since 2006. Over the last ten years, Timothy has been focused on researching where business communication is and where it is going. This includes working with education, healthcare, and Fortune 1000 companies leverage their existing infrastructure to help their employees and customers communicate more effectively and efficiently. In addition to hosting and producing a weekly AV and UC news program, he has contributed to several industry-leading publications. Timothy has lead industry discussions around the globe and is a highly sought-after moderator for his ability to bring the real-world uses into conversations and panel discussions.