Teams has been slated to replace its predecessor, the hugely successful Skype for Business, since Sep 2017. In July 2019, Microsoft announced that Skype for Business Online will be retired on July 31, 2021, after which it will no longer be accessible or supported. Seven years is a good run for any software application and two years is a reasonable runway for migration if companies begin talking about migration now. While some may find this change difficult, this is a change that is both survivable and worthwhile in the end.
A 2019 Forrester Total Economic Impact study cited Teams users can reclaim a full 8 hours in every work week with the increased efficiency. This Total Economic Impact study measures time savings from ad hoc communications, reduced overnight trips, improved collaboration and decision making. Over three years a 5,000 employee organization is calculated to realize an overall net benefit of $27.1M. For smaller 500 person companies, this translates to just under $1M annualized.
As a Certified Microsoft Gold Partner, we work with hundreds of corporate business units to develop automations and streamline workflows. In a real sense, we are efficiency experts as much as Microsoft experts. If you’re curious about how technology can help your team’s productivity, contact us. We meet those challenges every day.
Microsoft Teams is the latest evolution of the Microsoft messaging platform. Teams is the hub of productivity, engagement and collaboration in the modern workplace. With Teams, Microsoft has created a platform that combines chat, video, voice calls and document collaboration in a single app while deeply integrating with other components of the Microsoft productivity suite such as Microsoft Outlook and SharePoint.
How this affects you:
Though on-premise versions of Skype for Business Server will receive support through 2024, for everyone else this requires change. So how about some incentives? Here are nine Teams features that will make you want to drop Skype for Business:
- Call and Video Performance – Teams calls and meetings are much more tolerant of connections with poor bandwidth and latency. This is all-the-more important because when one person in a call or meeting has poor performance, this tends to reflect on the service as a whole.
- Meeting Notification – Teams will notify you when a meeting organizer starts a meeting. When someone is late or a meeting is scheduled with short-notice, proactive notification improves organizational agility and reduces wasted time.
- Tag Users – You can use @ tags (mentions) to notify team members when they are mentioned. This way, team members get real-time notification of relevant conversations instead of the impossible choice between chat-distraction and productivity.
- Emoji’s and GIFs – Teams has built in support for Emoji’s and GIFs. Not only are they fun, but they allow team members to add back some of the emotional value that is lost in text-based communication – potentially avoiding misunderstanding.
- Persistent Chat with Individuals and Groups – This lets you see what was said in the past, even if you weren’t online! I have worked on several teams that simultaneously ran Skype for Business and Internet Relay Chat (IRC). We used Skype for Business to chat with management and Internet Relay Chat (IRC) for technical conversations so that we could see discussions from the previous shift or from before we joined an escalation. Finally, after over 20 years I can give up IRC. For me, this feature is worth the price of admission.
- Dark theme – Developers of the world rejoice! Not only does Dark Theme look cool make you feel like Batman, it reduces eye fatigue.
- Paste images directly into chat – This has sped up my collaborative workflow considerably. Unlike Skype for Business, I can share screenshots with colleagues without the trouble of filesharing or a full conferencing session. And best of all, the sender and recipient don’t have to be online at the same time.
- Mobile sharing – Share PowerPoint, pictures and even your mobile device’s screen.
- Document Co-Editing – Work on documents in real time with the entire team directly entering data into the same document simultaneously. This is great for use cases like customer proposals and statements of work where you have a diverse set of contributors such as sales, services, legal and finance contributing to the same document.
How can ZAACT help:
The best practice for upgrading is to roll out Teams and continue to run Skype for Business alongside Teams allowing your users time to get comfortable. Then later, complete the upgrade to Teams by decommissioning Skype for Business. Sounds simple, right? The reality of an IT upgrade is more complex than theory.
IT projects are always more than just a technical exercise. A successful project is one that satisfies both technical and user readiness. In Microsoft’s words Upgrading from Skype for Business to Teams is more than a technical migration. It represents a transformation in how users communicate and collaborate, and change is not always easy. The ideal upgrade approach should address the technical aspects of your upgrade as well as encourage user acceptance and adoption of Teams, driving a positive user experience and business outcome realization.
In this or any IT project, there are five keys to successful project execution:
- Strong stakeholder support
- Clear project definition with entry and exit criteria for
- The rollout of Teams.
- The decommissioning of Skype for Business Online
- Technical and user readiness
- A well implemented deployment that
- Brings to bear the appropriate technical expertise
- Delivers in accordance with the stakeholder requirements, project definition and user requirements
- And finally, operational excellence
We can help you navigate this process, as a trusted partner, ensuring your success every step of the way. Zaact has extensive experience managing IT projects and can help you accelerate project delivery. As a Microsoft Gold partner, we will complete the project according to your requirements and Microsoft best practice.
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