The End of Skype for Business Online

Microsoft is closing Skype for Business Online in July 2021 and making Teams its flagship communications tool. 

The app is already being used for messaging, video and audio calls, and can be integrated with other Microsoft and third-party apps. And lots of businesses have reported cost savings and productivity gains. 

If you’re not familiar with Teams already, now is the time to start using it. It’s also a good idea to remove any information you’re keeping in Skype and put it somewhere secure.

What’s Happening?

On 31st July 2021, Microsoft is shutting down Skype for Business Online. You won’t be able to use the app from this day onwards, but you’ll still have access to it until then. The Skype Consumer Service and Skype for Business Server won’t be affected.

Microsoft has been onboarding new customers onto Teams for meetings, chats and calls since September 2019. To help with the move, Microsoft has been addressing requests from current Skype customers and investing these into Teams, including: 

  • Shorter Retention Periods. Lets users limit chat and channel retention periods to 1 day. When data is deleted from Teams, it will be removed from all storage locations.
  • Teams and Skype Consumer Interlop. Allows people to chat and call between these apps. 
  • Contact Centre Integration and Compliance Recording. Microsoft is working with several partners to make compliance recording a feature in Teams. 

What is Teams, and Why Use it?

Teams comes included with Office 365 subscriptions. It’s a cloud app for communication, collaboration and customisation. You can use it to make audio and video calls, send messages and access other Microsoft and third-party apps through its dashboard. 

Microsoft and Forrester have a report outlining the productivity benefits of Teams. The report was completed over a 3-year period and reveals business gains in these areas:

Communication

Teams is useable anywhere with an internet connection, which means:

  • More reliable and higher quality audio and video calls
  • Less time spent addressing issues with these
  • Time savings worth around £5.28 million 
  • Cost savings thanks to needing less hardware and software, of around £496,837.30

Collaboration

Teams connects to lots of other Microsoft apps and can use them all through its dashboard. This is helping: 

  • Information workers save up to 4 hours per week, with easier file sharing
  • Frontline teams save up to 45 minutes per week, thanks to easier information sharing
  • Decision-makers are improving their time-to-decision by 17.7%, as they can get to important materials faster

Customation

With Teams, you can also access non-Microsoft apps, such as Trello and SalesForce, with a few clicks. It’s good for:

  • Saving information workers up to 15 minutes per day and firstline workers up to 5 minutes per day, as they can get to apps quicker within the Dashboard
  • Speaking to colleagues in other companies, as Teams lets you have a communication channel with them 

Security

With encryption, multi-factor authentication (MFA) and customisable admin controls, Teams is secure and blocking out potential intruders is easy. 

What You Need to Do

The sooner you’re prepared for the end of Skype for Business Online, the better. Since Teams is included in Office 365 subscriptions, it won’t hurt to get familiar with it if you’re not already. 

You may want to integrate any apps you use into your Teams dashboard. 

If you have any data or files stored in Skype for Business Online, now is the time to move it out of there. Put it in Teams, or in another location for safekeeping. 

 

With Skype for Business Online closing down in July 2021, Teams will become Office 365’s signature communications app. 

But seeing as it comes with lots of cost savings and productivity gains, that’s no bad thing. 

So if you aren’t already, now is the time to get familiar with Teams. And move any data that’s currently stored in Skype. 

For more information and advice on preparing for the move, contact us. We’ve been helping London businesses get setup with Microsoft apps for years, and we advise them on how to use these apps efficiently.