I know that the announcement at Ignite 2017 around the future of Skype for Business and Teams has the world on fire. I am also very aware that this subject has been well covered as far as the future state, even though we still await a official roadmap from Microsoft.
The perspective I’d like to focus on is all those organisations who are currently in one of the following situations:-
- Skype for Business is on the roadmap in the next 12 months
- About to embark on a Skye for Business deployment
- Have a Pilot going and looking to do a full rollout
- Deployment has already started but not completed just yet
So the answer to the question, “Should you hold off your Skype for Business deployment and wait for Teams?” is actually fairly straight forward. The answer can be achieved by asking a few simple questions. By no means is this a comprehensive list, simply a good starting point.
These questions are:-
- Do you need basic PBX features and calling (i.e. Enterprise Voice)?
- Will you need complex functionality such as Contact Center, CRM integration etc.?
- Is federation with other organisations (including Skype Consumer) requirement?
If you have answered YES to ANY of those 3 questions then Skype for Business (Online or On-premises) is the way to go.
The reality is that Teams is a great way for people to collaborate and keep on top of shared workloads, projects and the like. But when it comes to replacing your PSTN Voice, Teams is in its very early infancy.
When Teams has matured to a point where your PSTN workloads can be addressed in line with your business requirements, Microsoft has assured us that there will be a simple switch over (for Online users). Not much has been said about On-premises and switching to Teams at this time.
Ultimately, Teams is not ready to take over from Skype for Business. It does a very good job in the persistent chat space and also gives slack a run for their money. Beyond using Teams for those cases, Skype for Business is still king!
Microsoft has a proven track record of fast tracking these things, however, keep in mind that Skype for Business Online was supposed to have feature parity with On-premises by now. Before this milestone has been reached, the game plan has changed. Its a massive undertaking and will take time get right.
Take Teams for a spin, it will grow on you. But don’t dismiss Skype for Business just yet, especially if Skype for Business Online can’t deliver the functionality you need and you have gone down the On-premises track.
Other Great Microsoft Teams reads..
Feature Comparison – by LucaVitali
An honest opinion on Technical readiness – by Andrew Morpeth
The challenges Microsoft face – by Mark Vale