Microsoft has been drinking their own champagne of late, bringing a rapid, agile development process to their modern communications suite, Microsoft Teams. With their latest announcement, we have seen customers (and employees) alike ask: what is the future of Microsoft Teams? And where does Skype for Business fit in?
It’s important for folks who tuned into the announcement of Teams several months ago, when the product was positioned as a persistent group chat environment, to realize that Teams is now a full solution for internal and external communications – with integrated meetings and conference bridges, audio and video support and the ability to have small 1:1 meetings that scale into much larger team meetings. It continues to leverage all the tools inside the Microsoft 365 suite: integrated real time collaboration on documents, built-in security and the ability to connect with others regardless of location.
For customers who are already deploying Skype for Business, or contemplating doing so, it is equally important to note that Microsoft has already begun to transition the backend services to servers running a version of Teams. In the next year, Microsoft will continue to deploy an on-premise version of Skype for Business server. There’s no need to halt a project around Skype deployment, or to adjust course – the implementation of Teams at many customers will take several months, and can be run in parallel to moving an organization to a more modern platform.
The bigger change, for customers, is that the client used for communicating with staff, external partners and customers will start to shift to the Teams client. The new Teams client is available in several flavors: a full desktop application, a rich mobile client and a robust web-browser based experience. This transition, from the Skype for Business client to the Teams client, will be where most customers will need to invest time and energy. With any change to user experience, organizations will need to plan and ensure they have a robust change management capable partner to help them in this journey.
Why New Signature? We have been working with Microsoft over the past several months on the new Teams experience as part of our regular technology adoption programs with Microsoft. By “Drinking our own Champagne!” we have gained valuable expertise in how your organization can deploy Teams successfully to drive more effective collaboration and communication. Microsoft has made this easier through the process – you can continue to run the Skype for Business client in parallel with the Teams client – and so the real nuance is in switching from one to the other, and what scenarios light up as you move to the modern client.
Reach out to New Signature today to help learn what these changes mean for your organization, and how we can steer you to a platform that helps you be as productive as possible. Work less, do more!