In addition to the quickly approaching Windows 7 End of Life date, it is time to prepare for the next Microsoft product that is set to retire: Skype for Business Online. Mark your calendars for the official end of life date of July 31st, 2021. Thankfully, the ability for business chat and conferencing is not going away with the end of this software. The “replacement” app, Microsoft Teams, has been out now for a couple of years and has been gaining favor with users by offering much more functionality than before.

Let’s dive into some of Team’s functionality and how it compares to Skype for Business.

Chat Logs
The main function which both Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business Online offer is chatting capabilities. The difference between the two is that once the working day was over or a chat was closed in Skype for Business Online, that conversation was no longer available within the app and all archives were kept in Outlook or Exchange.

Microsoft Teams introduced persistent chat which will retain all of your chat logs for as long as you need. In addition to the chat itself, all images, files, and links that are sent are kept within the app which makes referencing that data much easier to find in one place.

Team Messaging
An additional feature that is currently available within both Teams and Skype is the ability to add multiple contacts to a group chat.

Where Teams has expanded this functionality is that you can now create different “teams and channels” where you can organize chats and shared files by department, project, or whatever criteria makes sense for your business. This now creates a searchable archive of all relevant information that a group of people could need to access over time.

Meetings
Another key part of both applications is the ability to host online meetings via phone and video conferencing. The primary features of Skype for Business Online are all retained including call recording, screen sharing, and file uploading.

However, there are some helpful and intuitive options that are added with Teams:

  • Background blur and background customizing for video
  • Live captions
  • Full meeting recording
  • Live events with access available to users outside of Teams
  • Whiteboard masking which will project whiteboard content over a person’s body so that the view isn’t obstructed

Extra Key Benefits of Teams:

App Integration
One of the biggest benefits that Teams offers and has already proven to be game-changing for businesses is the integration of 3rd party apps and custom power app flexibility. With this functionality, all of your daily work functions can be consolidated into one place and be completely streamlined within Teams.

File Storage and Integration with SharePoint
The file storage and editing feature adds a whole extra level of integration with other Office 365 applications.

Right within Teams, you can edit documents such as Word or Excel files without having to open those applications separately.

In addition to the ease of the cloud-based editing feature, all files that you share will be added to a collaborative SharePoint site which will allow all of the benefits of SharePoint to be deployed in one location.

Guest Access
You now have the ability to either grant temporary access for users who do not have Teams to your meetings or add other users who use Teams in other organizations to have access to messages and files you need them to see (all of which can be controlled on a granular level by the administrator).

Microsoft is making a huge push to make Teams into a central hub for all of a business’s applications and processes, so the functionality that has been added makes the end of life for Online Skype for Business much easier to swallow.

Are you ready to make the switch or find out more about how Teams can benefit your business? We’re here to help!

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* Skype for Business On-Premise will continue to be supported. End of life applies to the cloud-based version only. *