Microsoft will officially retire Skype for Business on July 31, 2021. Transitioning to Teams and getting your users trained and ready may seem a little overwhelming, but we have tips to get you started, ease onboarding for your group, and get you up and running smoothly with Teams and Teams Live Events.
An Ode to Skype for Business
The idea for an instant messaging platform as a business communication tool was not new to Microsoft, but when Skype for Business officially debuted in 2015, it marked a forward leap in integrated business communication services. In addition to instant messaging/chats, video calling was added, making it possible for meetings, important conversations, and webinars to happen anywhere. EventBuilder provided the means to add registration, security, and data gathering for Skype for Business-based webinars and events, filling a need in the growing virtual events space for Skype users.
But, all good things come to an end, and since Microsoft Teams took the stage in the Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) space in 2017, Skype for Business' days were numbered.
We hope Skype for Business enjoys retirement.
What's Different in Teams?
There are three main areas that differentiate Teams from Skype for Business from a user's perspective:
Meeting Experience: The Teams meeting experience is very similar to the Skype for Business experience, with a few notable exceptions: Skype for Business has an integrated polling feature, whereas polling can be added to Teams via Microsoft Forms. Teams also offers full integration with other Microsoft 365 products, such as Power Automate, Outlook Calendar, and OneDrive file access from within the Teams interface.
Chat: Instant messages/chats within Teams are saved ("persistent") and searchable. Teams chat also includes enhanced messaging tools such as threaded replies, like/acknowledge options for messages, GIFs, memes, emojis, and @ mentions.
Channels: Teams is designed to facilitate interaction and connection among colleagues, business groups, and co-workers, so channels can be set up for specific teams or groups to meet that end. Channels function similar to on-going message boards.
Virtual Events and Webinars
We may be a tad biased, but we love Teams as a virtual event and webinar delivery method. If you are currently hosting events on Skype for Business with EventBuilder software and support, you will find the transition seamless with our products. The Attendee experience with EventBuilder Streaming is the same, and our customers who have already made the transition to Teams from Skype for Business have not encountered any difficulties with event delivery. That said, there are a few differences to be aware of as you gear up for your first Teams-based event: PowerPoint, event recordings, and guest access.
In Skype for Business, PowerPoint slide decks were stored locally in the Skype room for presenting. With Teams, you can access your PowerPoint presentation from your computer or OneDrive to share. Because of this difference, your slide deck won't be persistent in the Teams room. If you switch between your PowerPoint slides and other content, you will have to re-open the presentation and it will reset to your first slide. We recommend using the Share Screen feature instead.
Meeting and Event Recordings
With Teams, meeting and event recordings are automatically saved to Microsoft Stream and accessible within your organization.
If you need to send or post your event recordings outside your organization, you will have to find an alternative. EventBuilder offers automatic cloud saving and hosting for your event recordings that are accessible to the public or your selected audiences if you choose.
Teams was built with internal, organization-based communication in mind. As such, Teams security is built around corporate security. Providing access to attendees outside your organization, as in a virtual event, may require configuration by your IT/Microsoft 365 Admin. As of February 8, 2021, the "allow guest access" setting in Teams configuration will be turned on by default, but your individual Microsoft 365 Admin may have specific guidelines regarding guest access.
Ease the User Training Transition
Once Teams has been rolled out to your organization, training your users will become the top priority. EventBuilder can help! If you would like customized, hands-on user training based on your current needs, contact us for information and we will put together a training plan tailor-made for you and your team!