For many of us currently using Microsoft Office 365, the Skype for Business feature has become the instant messenger of choice when trying to reach our fellow team mates. It quickly lets us know who is online, available, in a meeting or otherwise busy and others can likewise see your status. While this feature is the standard now, it is slowly being phased out by Microsoft. Last September Microsoft announced at the their “Ignite” conference their plan to replace Skype for Business with Teams. Teams is an app that is currently available on your Office 365 dashboard.
Launched in March of 2017, Teams is a platform that combines messaging, scheduling, notes, and attachments in one place. It integrates with all the features on your Office 365 subscription suite, including Skype, and can also integrate with non-Microsoft products like MailChimp and Facebook. Teams allow a team administrator or owner to send an invitation or specific URL to request communities or groups join their team.
While within a team, members can set up channels, which are topics of conversation that allow team members to communicate without the use of email or group SMS (texting). Users can reply to posts with images, GIF’s and even custom memes. If a user doesn’t want to send a message to the whole group, s/he can still send private messages to an individual user.
Merging Skype and Teams
Microsoft’s goal is to fold the capabilities of Skype for Business into Teams to deliver a single hub for teamwork, with built-in, fully integrated voice and video. They feel that as more of their users are working on teams, this transition will help users seamlessly integrate all their communication capabilities into a single place for their content, contacts and conversations. Teams is supported by the new Skype back-end infrastructure but is built for the cloud. Microsoft knows that many people are using Skype for Business on-premises so they are targeting general availability of Skype for Business Server 2019 by the end of 2018 (dates subject to change) and a slow phase out of Skype for Business to go through 2020.
More Information and Assistance
Altai recently held an Office 365 webinar that featured a demonstration of the usage of Teams. If you are interested in talking with our Office 365 expert and receiving a link to view the webinar, please contact Mike Gargan.