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It’s been nearly two years since we first announced the July 31, 2021 retirement of Skype for Business Online. Hundreds of upgrade workshops and millions of successful Skype for Business Online to Teams transitions later, we’re closing in on this significant milestone.
With a month before service retirement, we encourage remaining Skype for Business Online customers to continue transitioning users and workloads to Teams. Here’s some additional guidance to help ensure a successful journey to Teams:
Microsoft-assisted Upgrades to Teams
Organizations that have not yet upgraded to Teams Only will be scheduled for Microsoft assisted upgrades to Teams to help with last-mile technical elements of the transition. Scheduling notifications are sent to tenant admins within the Microsoft 365 Message Center and Teams admin center 90 days before the date of the assisted upgrade. Even after scheduling, customers may still self-upgrade prior to the assisted upgrade date to better control the timing of their upgrade experience.
Assisted upgrades will begin in August 2021 with tenant-specific dates shared in the scheduling notifications mentioned above. Organizations that are scheduled for assisted upgrades after July 31, 2021 will be able to use Skype for Business Online until their upgrade is complete.
The assisted upgrade experience will differ slightly depending on whether organizations have a Skype for Business Online-only or a Skype for Business Online with hybrid environment.
- Skype for Business Online-only: The assisted upgrade process will apply the TeamsUpgradeOverridePolicy policy to the tenant. When this policy is applied, all Skype for Business Online users will be placed in Teams Only mode.
- Skype for Business Online users in hybrid environment: The assisted upgrade will only switch Skype for Business Online users to Teams Only mode if they’re not already in that mode. Skype for Business Server users won’t be impacted by the assisted upgrade process and will remain on-premises.
The duration of the upgrade will vary by volume of users and the characteristics of the deployment. In most cases, users within a tenant will be upgraded within 24 hours of the start of the upgrade. During this time, end users will still have access to Skype for Business Online functionality. Once the upgrade has completed and users sign out of Skype for Business Online, they’ll start using Teams for messaging, meetings, and calling. Post-upgrade, all new online users will be added in Teams Only mode.
Learn more about the post-upgrade experience.
Migrating Skype for Business Online Meetings and Contacts to Teams
Regardless of whether an organization manages all aspects of the upgrade or use the assisted process, our guidance includes steps to ensure meetings and contacts are successfully migrated from Skype for Business Online to Teams.
- Migrating Meetings Data to Teams: It’s important for customers with Skype for Business Online-only deployments to use the Meeting Migration Service (MMS) to migrate existing Skype for Business Online meetings to Teams meetings prior to the assisted upgrade date to avoid the potential for data loss. Learn more about how MMS works.
- Migrating Contacts to Teams: Existing contacts from Skype for Business Online including federated (but no distribution lists) will be migrated when users log into Teams for the first time. Users must take this step within 90 days of the completed upgrade.
Got that. What else?
Here are a few other things to know about the retirement of Skype for Business Online:
- Services that integrate with Skype for Business Online will not be supported beyond the July 31, 2021 retirement. This includes support for third-party audio conferencing providers (ACP), Skype for Business Online Cloud Connector Edition (CCE), hybrid voice configurations, and Skype Meeting Broadcast.
- Customers will not be able to move online users out of Teams Only mode after retirement.
- Customers with hybrid configurations may move users from Teams to Skype for Business Server if needed.
- Coexistence modes enable customers to operate Skype for Business Server/Teams side-by-side experiences until they are ready to move users to Teams Only.
- Users can be moved directly from Skype for Business Server to Teams Only after configuring Skype for Business hybrid with Microsoft 365 or Office 365.
- The retirement of Skype for Business Online and corresponding assisted upgrades do not affect the Skype consumer service, Skype for Business Server products and Skype for Business Online operated by 21Vianet (China Sovereign Clouds Instance).
We’re here to help
The following upgrade resources are available to help enable a successful transition to Teams and prepare for the retirement of Skype for Business Online:
- Microsoft Teams admin documentation provides guidance for rolling out, managing, and preparing users for Teams.
- Online upgrade guidance helps you prepare your technical environment and end-users for the upgrade to Teams.
- On-demand upgrade planning workshops take you through a proven framework for planning and implementing your upgrade from Skype for Business to Teams.
- FastTrack deployment assistance is available for eligible subscriptions.
- Microsoft Partners can help you plan and execute your upgrade.
Organizations that have completed their transitions can attest to the transformational benefits Teams brings. And while the retirement of Skype for Business Online has us a little nostalgic, we can’t be more excited about how Teams helps our customers accomplish more across work, school, and life.
See you in Teams!
Brought to you by Dr. Ware, Microsoft Office 365 Silver Partner, Charleston SC.