FAQ - Journey from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams

Intelligent Communications Vision

What is Microsoft’s new vision for Intelligent Communications (aka Unified Communications vision)?

We’ve enjoyed great success across Office 365 with over 100M monthly commercial active users counting on Office 365 every day to get their work done. We are now aiming to bring the capabilities of Skype for Business in the cloud into Teams to deliver a single hub for teamwork, with built-in, fully integrated voice and video. By tightly weaving communications into the apps teams use to collaborate every day, alongside AI, Microsoft Graph, LinkedIn, and other data and cognitive services, we will enable Intelligent Communications, revolutionizing calling and meeting experiences.

Why are you planning on bringing Skype for Business and Teams together?

As users are working on more teams, we see the opportunity to more seamlessly integrate our communication capabilities into Teams so users can have a single place for their conversations, contacts and content. We believe Teams also provides a modern cloud infrastructure that enables us to take advantage of our assets for artificial intelligence such as AI, Microsoft Graph, LinkedIn to deliver intelligent communications. With Teams, we can create new experiences for meetings and calling including the prep, delivery and post follow-ups.

Is there a firm deadline by which customers need to move from Skype for Business Online to Teams?

We will make our roadmap for Teams available, so customers can assess the capabilities for Teams relative to their needs and plan their move to Teams. Customers can determine the timing for moving to Teams that best meets their needs. A great way to stay on top of news about the journey from Skype for Business to Teams is the Skype for Busineses to Microsoft Teams Capabilities Roadmap - a downloadable PDF (in English only, at least for now) that gives Microsoft's current expectations about Skype for Business capabilities coming to Teams.

What is the future of Skype for Business Server?

We recognize that customers are using Skype for Business on-premises and many need to use Skype for Business on-premises for some users or geographies due to their requirements. We are targeting general availability of Skype for Business Server 2019 by the end of 2018 (dates subject to change).

What will happen to the Skype brand?

We remain committed to the overall Skype brand which represents a family of communications capabilities across our consumer and commercial segments. Skype remains the product name for our consumer offer and Skype for Business remains as the product name for the on-premises server. The Skype for Business brand will also surface in voice and video experiences within Teams.

Tell me about the benefits of the backend infrastructure

Supported by the new Skype back-end infrastructure, Teams is built for the cloud on a highly scalable microservices architecture that’s efficient in bandwidth consumption, provides a more robust telemetry, and enables maintenance and upgrades with minimal disruption. As a result, users will see faster meeting join times and a better browser experience without needing to download plug-ins. This modern infrastructure makes it easy to tap into Microsoft Cognitive Services, which include transcription, translation, speech recognition, and machine learning capabilities and have the power to make communication and collaboration easier and more effective.

What does this mean for existing Office 365 customers?

We will bring the key set of Skype for Business capabilities in Office 365 into Teams over time along with new voice, video and meetings innovation. Customers may choose to migrate Skype for Business users when the capabilities meet their requirements. We encourage all Office 365 customers to start using Teams independently or side-by-side with Skype for Business.

Will you continue to invest in improving Skype for Business in Office 365?

Our vision for bringing together Intelligent Communications and collaboration is focused on Teams. We plan to continue to support Skype for Business in Office 365. We plan to continue to support the Skype for Business service and client. We have no plan to remove Skype for Business from Office 365 subscriptions at this time. We plan to continue to support the Skype for Business clients to access on-premises server and online services. There is no end of support date at this time.

What do you recommend for customers who are currently in the process or planning to deploy Skype for Business?

Customers should evaluate the Teams roadmap to determine if capabilities will meet business needs and timing requirements. If so, they should adjust strategy to deploy Teams. Planning and infrastructure investments such as network assessments will accrue to Teams deployment. If not, customers should move forward with Skype for Business. We encourage all Office 365 customers to start using Teams, independently or in parallel with Skype for Business.

What support are you offering to customers who wish to move to Teams, especially those who have made significant investments in Skype for Business in Office 365?

Customers continue to use Skype for Business in Office 365 until Teams meets their business needs. We will assist customers who wish to move users to Teams with tools and guidance to control and manage the process. Prescriptive guidance and best practices will be available at https://aka.ms/skypeandteams. We will help ease the transition for users new to Teams with a specialized first run experience and in-product coach marks. FastTrack, customer support and partners will be available to help guide customers through the transition.

What does this mean from a licensing perspective? How will customers pay for Intelligent Communications services in Teams?

Teams is available in the Office 365 suites. Capabilities that are premium workloads in Skype for Business in Office 365 today will continue to be premium workloads in Teams. Existing licensing investments made by customers will carry forward to Teams. For example, if a customer has purchased Audio Conferencing standalone or E5 with Skype for Business, Audio Conferencing will be enabled in Teams as it is available today.

Is Microsoft planning scheduled upgrades?

Currently, we have no plans to schedule upgrades for enterprise customers. Customers can choose to move to Teams as the capabilities meet their business needs. We will empower administrators and users with tools and guidance to assist them in the transition to Teams.

Skype to Teams Roadmap

How can customers learn when Skype for Business capabilities will be available in Teams?

We will make information on upcoming Teams features available on the Office 365 Roadmap. The Skype to Teams roadmap is at http://aka.ms/skype2teamsroadmap.

What APIs and SDKs will be made available for Teams?

We expect to have more information to share regarding the extensibility offerings for Teams via APIs and SDKs at Build 2018 (Spring).

Will you support third-party development opportunities in Teams?

Yes. We currently support third-party bots, connectors, and extensions in Teams. In addition, we anticipate having third-party developer communication add-ons avaialable in 2018.

Is Teams available in Office 365 Education and Government plans?

Teams is available in all Office 365 for Education suite licensing: Education, Education Plus and Education E5, as well as existing Education E3 customers who purchased E3 prior to its retirement. Teams is not available to Government customers at this time, but we expect to make it available to these customers in the future.

Do you have plans to offer Teams in the government community cloud (GCC)?

Teams is actively pursuing FedRAMP compliance and bringing a GCC offering to market.

Calling capabilities

What is the plan for Microsoft’s online voice capabilities?

We will be adding our currently available Phone System (formerly known as Cloud PBX) and calling capabilities to Teams. This will happen over time with key functionality slated for delivery during the fourth quarter of 2018 (dates subject to change).

What is the guidance for customers already deployed on Phone System (Cloud PBX) in Skype for Business Online?

Customers should evaluate the Teams roadmap to determine when capabilities will meet their business needs. We encourage all Office 365 customers to start using Teams, independently or in parallel with Skype for Business.

When will hybrid customers be able to move to Teams?

We are planning to simplify how customers connect trunks or 3rd party telephony systems to Office 365 based on customer feedback. The new approach is currently targeted to release in the second quarter of 2018. This date is subject to change - customers should refer to the latest roadmap information for Teams. Customers using hybrid voice or with needs for hybrid voice today can continue to use Skype for Business Online.

Messaging capabilities

Will people-centric conversations be available in the new client?

One of the many advantages of using Teams is that users gain access to new communication features. All chat is people-centric in Teams. Users can easily review their entire history of chat with other users easily from their client or browser. Searches are easier to execute.

Meeting capabilities

Is Audio Conferencing coverage in Teams different in Skype for Business?

There will be no change in the coverage for Audio Conferencing as a result of its availability in Teams. The coverage of 90+ countries and 400+ cities we have today will continue to persist in both products. For the current list of countries/regions where Audio Conferencing is available, please read here.

Are 3rd party Audio Conferencing Providers (ACP) supported in Teams?

There are no plans to support 3rd party audio conferencing providers (ACP) in Teams. We believe the best audio conferencing experience for customers using Teams and Skype for Business will be using our Audio Conferencing services in Office 365 (formerly PSTN Conferencing). Customers needing to leverage our ACP support in Skype for Business meetings can continue to use their Skype for Business client. Meetings scheduled within the Teams client will only support the Audio Conferencing services of Office 365.

What is the plan for video interoperability support for Teams meetings?

Meeting room devices are critical to our vision for the modern workplace. We announced on September 25 at Ignite that we are working with Blue Jeans and Pexip to deliver cloud video interoperability with Teams. Customers can continue to use Polycom Real Connect for Office 365 with Skype for Business Online. We will make our roadmap available, so customers can assess Teams for their business needs.

Will the latest generation of Skype Room Systems (V2) support meetings in Teams?

Meeting room devices are critical to our vision for the modern workplace and we continue our momentum with Skype Room Systems. Initially, Skype Room Systems will support single-click join to Teams meetings and most Skype Room Systems features except for dual screen support and panoramic video devices. Dual screens and panoramic devices are planned for later releases.

Will Skype Room Systems V1 be updated to support Teams meetings?

Meeting room devices are critical to our vision for the modern workplace. Skype Room Systems v1 (aka Lync Room Systems) will have an upgrade available which will allow these devices to join Teams Meetings. As part of that upgrade process, we will also upgrade these devices from Windows 7 to Windows 10 to further secure the devices. For those devices using touch screens, you will lose access to touch features and features such as inking, PowerPoint annotation, and Whiteboarding, and front of room touch to start a meeting will stop working.

Management capabilities

What is planned for new Management experiences?

Microsoft plans to launch a new administration portal for IT Pros within the Office 365 Admin Center. Like the Skype for Business Admin Console, this new portal will be a single place to administer our new experiences. The initial release of the portal, targeted for the first quarter of 2018, is designed to support Administration through an enterprise-ready policy model for Teams-only customers, replacing the existing administration interface for Teams. With this portal, we will be able to create custom presence, chat, app, meeting and voice policies and assign those policies to Teams users.

Device compatibility

Can I use Teams on Surface Hub?

Many of the Teams experiences work on Surface Hub today through the Edge browser. Sign in from the Welcome screen on your Surface Hub, open Edge, and type teams.microsoft.com to access your teams, channels, documents, conversations, and meetings. Surface Hub supports Teams meetings, and we look forward to sharing more details in the future on additional integrated Teams experiences on Surface Hub.

Will certified Skype for Business online phones work with Teams?

For all questions related to phone compatibility, see the Certified Skype for Business Online Phones and what this means for Teams blog.