Many companies and organizations across the world have Skype for Business on-premises infrastructure. Large, international companies generally use the Office 365 Enterprise E5 plan, which includes cloud PBX licensing with on-premises PSTN connectivity.
But, as Microsoft replaces S4B Online with Microsoft Teams, organizations are concerned about the call quality in Teams and the ability to work with PSTN and hybrid environments.
The general impression is that any transition to Microsoft Teams would be slow and tedious; complicating matters is the uncertainty as to how the calling is going to be handled in Teams. Until Microsoft gets a true telephony tie-in with Teams, they probably won't move to Teams anytime soon.
S4B users consider migration
In the coming months, Microsoft plans to add calling features to Teams, including inbound and outbound calls to PSTN numbers, hold, call transfer and voicemail. Teams will replace Skype for Business Online "over time," Microsoft said. The vendor also offers call-quality and analytics tools to help manage Teams and Skype for Business calling.
As Skype for Business users consider the migration to Microsoft Teams, one option is to run both clients side by side and gradually move end users to the cloud-based Teams environment. But that setup could prompt interoperability issues between the two clients and confuse end users. Another initial migration strategy would be to move mobile workers to the Teams environment.
Emergency calling is unsure
Another issue with consideration is Enhanced 911 (E911) services, including emergency location identification number and emergency response location. These services, available in the on-premises Skype for Business Server, help pinpoint a caller's location in case of an emergency. Microsoft Teams does support E911, according to its website, but how extensively is unclear.
There has not been much conversation around Teams' E911 capabilities in the industry. In a Microsoft Ignite session, Microsoft program managers Albert Kooiman and Marc Pottier said Teams supports "static E911," which might not pinpoint a caller's exact location.
The importance of on-prem
While Microsoft Teams is the future core communications client in Office 365, Microsoft is not abandoning on-premises systems. Microsoft said recently it will release an updated Skype for Business Server by the end of next year.
"I dare to bet that will not be the last server," he said. "We have tens of millions of Skype for Business users on premises. It will take a long time before those people are moving. It will be at least 10 more years that we will support Skype for Business Server."
S4B users foresee slow migration
According to Skype for Business MVP Matthew Landis, Microsoft's message has been: "Teams is coming, but we're going to let you do it when you're good and ready."
The meetings component in Teams could also be a snafu, Buckman's McClendon said. Currently, Skype for Business supports meetings, while Teams lacks some meetings support. Teams meetings, for instance, do not fully support dial-in numbers.
What are we to conclude from all these considerations? "For us," Jones added, "will we use [Teams] at some time? Maybe in 10 years, if it answers all our questions. Right now, I'll probably look at hybrid and see how that works. But I don't foresee a major plan for putting most of our stuff with Teams, unless we can get some questions answered."
To find out more about the migration between Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams and if making the move is right for your organization, contact CallTower for a consultation today: