Enterprise Messaging News + Insights by Mio

Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams Auto-Upgrades

Blog May 30, 2019
Skype for Business 2019 Server is not impacted by the automatic upgrades
Dominic Kent

author:

Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams Auto-Upgrades

Upgrade Skype to Microsoft Teams

In November 2018, Microsoft announced they are ready to upgrade Skype for Business Online users to Microsoft Teams.

Some small business users are being alerted to the automatic upgrade notification on their Skype for Business tenant. The message simply suggests that your upgrade of Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams has been scheduled. Which is great for users that want to – and are ready to – upgrade Skype to Teams. But, what can you do if you’re not ready?

Upgrade Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams

It’s a simple idea. But, one that requires some planning and potentially some assistance. We published an article last year about upgrading to Microsoft Teams when you have Slack users. The assumption here was that you were ready to. Microsoft is fast-tracking Teams adoption and small businesses are looking for a different kind of help.

Bob Manjoney, a frequent contributor to the Microsoft community, says his organization is absolutely not ready to upgrade Skype to Microsoft Teams.

“How can I prevent this upgrade from taking place, and keep my org in Skype-only mode?”

Since his post, he has been able to defer the upgrade but not totally opt-out.

Upgrade Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams

Paul Taylor, an independent IT professional recently shared his experience of being auto-upgraded from Skype to Teams too. His full story is shared here and we’ve included some highlights below.

  • April 9th: admin alerted that Microsoft Teams upgrade is scheduled for May 10th
  • May 3rd: users alerted that Microsoft Teams upgrade is scheduled for May 10th
  • Skype for Business (desktop and mobile) shows a banner warning about the imminent upgrade – Paul notes that this isn’t customizable
  • May 10th: Skype to Teams auto upgrade does not go ahead
  • 13th May: Microsoft Teams upgrade completes
Microsoft Teams upgrade
Microsoft Teams upgrade
  • May 23rd: welcome notification received
Welcome to Microsoft Teams
Welcome to Microsoft Teams

As we’ve noted before, the auto-upgrade process is currently only being rolled out to Microsoft customers with no or minimal usage. Experiences like Paul’s suggest that we are still at an experimental stage.

As Paul notes in his blog, this would not be acceptable for a larger business, or even small ones with regular usage.

Why upgrade Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams?

There are many features and benefits to Microsoft Teams. Upgrading Skype for Business to its superior self is a natural step for progressive companies wanting to make the transition to persistent chat and team working.

Microsoft outlines it’s key features for new users as the following:

  • Teams – Find channels to belong to or create your own. Inside channels, you can hold ad-hoc meetings, have conversations, and share files.
  • Meetings – See your entire schedule or schedule a new meeting. This calendar syncs with your Outlook calendar.
  • Calls – In some cases, if your organization has it set up, you can call anyone from Teams, even if they’re not using Teams.
  • Activity – Catch up on all your unread messages, @mentions, replies, and more.
  • Commands – Use the command box at the top to search for specific items or people, take quick actions, and launch apps.

Whilst features like calling and meetings are the bread and butter of Skype for Business, the transition to Microsoft Teams opens the door a new way of team working. Initially introduced by Slack, Microsoft Teams now empowers businesses of all sizes to collaborate more effectively without having to leave their Office 365 stack.

Of course, for some users, this auto upgrade is too late. The recognition of Slack’s success has led to Skype for Business users using Skype for communications and Slack or another Slack-type app for collaboration.

Upgrading from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams, but also have Slack users?
Upgrading from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams, but also have Slack users?

Will everyone have to upgrade Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams?

Speaking in a podcast for UC Today, Tom Arbuthnot, Microsoft Certified Master and MVP, and Patrick Watson, UC Journalist, discussed this move as a possible sample for Microsoft.

“Microsoft’s broad goal is to get users off Skype for Business and onto Microsoft Teams.”

Businesses with fewer users – and simpler setups – often make good test cases. Tom went on to suggest that just because Microsoft have started to issue these short notice automatic upgrades doesn’t mean large organizations need to fear for their tenants. Customers using Skype for Business with large amounts of video interoperability or federation access are unlikely to be auto-scheduled.

Best Innovation for Collaboration

Steven Collier – a Microsoft MVP – posted on the Microsoft forum, “my understanding is that the Teams Product Group have been selecting tenants carefully based on a number of measures as there shouldn’t be any blockers left for them to upgrade to Teams. Anyone using features that aren’t fully deployed yet aren’t being selected.”

Users are reporting they are unsure which tenant their upgrade notification refers to. With the email arriving from Microsoft under the pseudonym “Plan For Change”, it’s possible that some businesses are unaware they have been automatically scheduled. A quick scan of your inbox will be handy if you currently use Skype for Business Online.

Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business are now interoperable
Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business are now interoperable but Microsoft are phasing out Skype for Business Online for small to medium businesses

What do to if your auto-upgrade has been scheduled?

Microsoft hasn’t communicated a formal process to opt out. They have published a list of contact numbers to reach out to for support. The suggestion in the Microsoft community is to speak to your Microsoft partner or contact them directly if you are not ready to upgrade.

Auto-upgrade should not be viewed as a negative. Your business may not be ready immediately. But, some businesses need that boost to get them on the right path. Adopting new technology needs a guiding light and Microsoft are providing just that.

If you a concerned about running multiple collaboration platforms, you should read our post on why having multiple messaging platforms is bad before making a decision to postpone your upgrade.

One more thing, we’ve just published our Workplace Messaging report for 2019! Find out what is the most used messaging app, and what the future holds for both Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams.

Leave a comment

Leave a reply

6 Comments
  1. […] solutions to on-premises collaboration. However, with Skype users being informed they will have to automatically upgrade to Microsoft Teams, comparison against nearest competitors, Cisco, […]

  2. […] small businesses start to receive emails alerting them to an auto-upgrade from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams, these guides will become more and more important to set expectations within your […]

  3. […] Since writing this article, Microsoft has started an initiative where small businesses are being auto-upgraded from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams. You can read about that here. […]

  4. […] recently covered the Skype to Teams auto-upgrade topic. Some small businesses have been upgraded. Mostly, businesses with no usage tend to have been […]

  5. […] you’re moving from Skype to Teams out of choice or due to a Skype for Business auto upgrade, you should be aware that Microsoft Teams opens the door to a raft of functionality you […]

  6. […] users of Skype for Business Online, Microsoft has initiated automatic upgrades. Reports and shared experiences suggest that this has only happened to sub-500-seat tenants with no […]