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RIP Skype for Business, hello Microsoft Teams

Last night saw some expected news from Microsoft. The business officially announced that Skype for Business will be going into retirement as of 2021 - 31st July, to be exact!

Skype has been around since the beginning of time (or it feels that way!) and was the go-to communication tool for businesses with instant messaging, calls and virtual meeting functionalities. As Microsoft and businesses move towards the modern workplace, Microsoft Teams is becoming the go-to tool for organisations looking to move away from Skype for Business.

What does this mean for Skype for Business users?

Skype for Business will be retired on 31st July 2021, and after that date the service will no longer be accessible. Between now and the end-of-life date, current Skype for Business customers will experience no change in service, and they’ll be able to continue to add new users as needed.

However, starting 1st September 2019, any new Office 365 customers will be onboarded directly to Microsoft Teams for chat, meetings and calling.

UPDATE: Microsoft announced on 5th November that it would be launching a full telephony solution integrated into Teams. This will give businesses benefits such as one phone number, lower costs and makes Teams an external communication process tool too. Find out more about Office 365 telephony.

Why has Microsoft decided to make this announcement now?

In 2017, Microsoft released my personal favourite business application, Teams. It's something I’ve previously blogged about when we celebrated Teams’ 2nd birthday earlier this year.

Teams was launched as the “hub for teamwork” and has surpassed the 13 million user mark in 2 years, overtaking Slack in the process. This means it has become Microsoft’s fastest-growing business application it has ever launched!

Key features include real-time chat, video, calling and document collaboration in a single, integrated app accessible across multiple devices, enabling an entirely new way of working. Microsoft has worked closely with customers over the past couple of years to refine Teams. Now it feels it can confidently recommend Teams as an upgrade to all Skype for Business customers.

Teams was developed to give businesses good communication habits and improve collaboration in the workplace It's especially useful if your team works remotely because you can still collaborate easily. You can host business meetings within Teams and communicate effectively even if you're not all in the same room. These online meetings can happen with a group of people from 2 to 250!

Customers who have already made the move tell us that Teams not only has helped them improve collaboration in general. It has also provided a rare opportunity to rethink the way work gets done in their organisations. Check out how we helped our customer CCG revolutionise its internal communications using Microsoft Teams.

Using Teams, companies across the world are becoming more agile, shortening cycle times, improving the efficiency of key workflows and cutting out unnecessary overhead. Teams isn’t just an upgrade for Skype for Business Online. It’s a powerful tool that opens the door to a new way of doing business.

Improve business collaboration

Are you ready to take the next step in moving your business forward and empowering your colleagues to work in a more agile manner? Contact a member of the Microsoft Solutions Team at TSG and talk to one of our dedicated specialists who can assist with your migration plans.

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