Microsoft retires Skype For Business, to be replaced by Teams

Microsoft has announced the end of the line for users of Skype for Business, with new installations already ceased and existing subscriptions due to stop from July 2021. Don't despair , says Syplex- its replacement has more bells and whistles, and is already being rolled out to more and more clients worldwide!

Microsoft has made clear since 2017 that Skype for Business will be phased out. While new installations of Skype for Business were already discontinued from 1st September this year, Microsoft has recently announced that from 31st July 2021, existing users will also be unable to continue using their Skype for Business subscriptions.

This means that those who are currently using Skype for Business for telephony and chat within your business will need to use a different service.

Microsoft's solution? Teams!

Syplex writes:

Microsoft Teams is a collaboration system which employs chat, group channels, file sharing, online editing, online meetings and more to allow staff to communicate in all the rich, diverse ways humans want to at work. With a much fuller feature-set than Skype for Business, clients should be able to achieve more using Teams, especially where collaborating remotely, for example from home or with colleagues in another office.

We've been using Teams since 2017, and have helped several of our clients to onboard it in the last few months (See case study: SQW Group). We've noticed some drawbacks, especially where it came to permissions and membership of teams, but the last year has seen a number of improvements that make it much more suitable for many of our clients, which is why we now recommend it to those it would help.

If you're using Office 365 (or thinking about it), Teams is free of charge for you, and fits beautifully into the Microsoft ecosystem. We'd be happy to give you a tour if you want to know more - or if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch.

We'd also love to hear your opinion if you've implemented Teams for yourselves (or a client) and had a different experience! And if there are any Teams-related topics you'd like help with, we want to know too - we are planning to set up some open training/troubleshooting sessions in the next few months, and want to focus on the topics Cambridge businesses particularly need.

Some top tips we've found through implementing it for ourselves and clients:

- Keep creating new Teams to a minimum.

It's tempting to make a new Team or Channel for every topic or project group you have, but this will quickly get out of hand and mean team members can't find what they need as easily. For smooth adoption, we recommending keeping the number of Teams and Channels to a minimum!

- Use Channels for all non-confidential discussions.

We found we created private group chats, and because they were so intuitive to use, we had most of our discussions in there to begin with. However, this caused us to miss out on discussion-streamlining features like Threaded Conversations (which are SO useful for keeping track of different topics within a chat) and the transparency that channels are so valued for (allowing all members of the team to stay in the loop, as well as the ones who need to take immediate action)

- DO use @mentions to draw colleague's attention in a channel

If you post in a channel hoping a particular colleague will see it, it won't give them a direct notification like in a private chat. If you want their input on a post, you should use @mention to draw their attention! You can also do this and @mention a whole Team.

At Syplex, we're more than happy to talk about IT business solutions. We hope you have a good experience using Teams (or whichever other platform your staff use to collaborate), and we'd love to hear your thoughts!

Give us a ring on 01223 810 000.

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