Microsoft, a year ago, announced that they are bringing the capabilities of Skype for Business in the cloud into Microsoft Teams to deliver a single hub for teamwork, with built-in, fully integrated voice and video.
According to Microsoft, “As users are working on more teams, we see the opportunity to more seamlessly integrate our communication capabilities into Teams so users can have a single place for their conversations, contacts, and content. We believe Teams also provides a modern cloud infrastructure that enables us to take advantage of our assets for artificial intelligence such as AI, Microsoft Graph, and LinkedIn to deliver intelligent communications. With Teams, we’re creating new experiences for meetings and calling, including the prep, delivery, and post–follow-ups.”
While the recommendation for Office 365 users is to move to Teams, the Skype for Business on premises infrastructure is not going away anytime soon, in fact, a new version (Skype for Business Server 2019) is in preview and should be released later this year. Even though there is a new version of the on premises solution, it is clear that Teams is where the innovation dollars are going.
Teams started as Microsoft’s implementation of Slack with deep integrations into Office 365 applications. As of September 2017, Microsoft reported 125,000 organizations were using it in one form or another.
Teams is built for today’s diverse workforce. There have been many changes across the methods that organizational teams use to communicate and collaborate. Teams provides an open, digital environment that makes work integrated, visible, and accessible across the board, keeping everyone involved in the know.
Microsoft Teams provides a versatile conversation experience using persistent threaded conversations. Every conversation within Teams automatically becomes information assets and are saved, searchable via Microsoft Graph, and visible to everyone on the team. It also provides the ability of launching private discussions.
Teams’ deep Skype integration brings video and voice capabilities and a wide variety of visual communication tools that help increase engagements among team members.
The ability to meet virtually anywhere is an important and cost-effective feature for businesses. Teams increases productivity by bringing together conversations, meetings, files, Office applications, and third-party integrations, enabling the organization to participate in more productive meetings with less context switching. It provides a view of scheduled meetings, the timing, the subject, and a list of other persons who’ll be attending.
Teams also provides simple and easy to use mobile apps that allow chat with teams via text, have a voice conversation, or a video meeting.
Teams makes teamwork easy. Teams was built around the idea of leveraging the maximum capability of Microsoft Graph, so workgroups and teams have the ability to share insights, intelligence, and data anywhere within the Microsoft Office 365 suite; PowerPoint, Excel, Word, Planner, OneNote, SharePoint, Delve, and Power BI.
Teams can be tailored to meet unique business and cultural needs of the organization. Teams provides a platform with options for extensibility and open APIs. Through the leveraging of Microsoft Exchange Connector’s model, Teams can provide updates and notifications from third-party services such as GitHub and Twitter. Along with Microsoft’s BOT Framework, organizations are able to create and customize applications and intelligent services to integrate with Teams.
Teams stands apart from its competitors and ensures peace of mind. All of Office 365’s platform services are built with cutting-edge security and compliance capabilities. The data is encrypted in flight and at rest. Teams and all Office 365 services meet compliance standards including ISO 27001, HIPPA, SOC 2, and the EU Model Clauses. The Teams account is provisioned within Office 365 and managed via the Admin console.
In conclusion, Microsoft has taken many of the features provided in Skype for Business and built them into the Teams platform. This platform is built with today’s organizational work teams in mind, providing a complete online meeting solution, increased productivity and collaboration, all built on Office 365’s already secure services infrastructure. Even though Microsoft has announced that Skype for Business will be going away in the future, the on-premises version has one release version left (later this year). Office 365 users are being pushed to Teams instead of Skype for Business in the cloud.