With Microsoft’s recent announcement that Skype for Business Online will be retired in 2021, it’s critical that companies are able to assess the technical and user readiness of their organisation for Microsoft Teams. While Microsoft recommends Skype for Business Online customers to conduct a direct upgrade, there are still many organisations that should consider deploying a hybrid solution before going to Teams Only mode. Read our article to learn more about whether you stand to benefit from going hybrid:
What is a Hybrid Teams Solution?
Notably, hybrid solutions between Teams and Skype for Business are also referred to as gradual upgrade journeys. Courtesy of Microsoft, gradual upgrade journeys allow companies to choose various coexistence modes for different groups of users, including Islands mode, Skype for Business with Teams Collaboration Only mode, and Skype for Business with Teams Collaboration and Meetings Only mode. You can read more about the functions of these different modes on our blog.
Who Should Deploy a Hybrid Solution?
While it is generally recommended to complete a direct upgrade when possible, there are three use cases where a gradual upgrade should be considered:
- You Use Skype for Business Server: If you are currently on-premises, you must deploy a Skype for Business hybrid solution before upgrading to Teams. Even if you're a hybrid user, Microsoft recommends first adopting Teams as a group collaboration solution and keeping Skype for Business as the primary solution for unified communications. You can then migrate to Teams Only mode when you’re ready. Note that, according to Microsoft, upgrading on-premises users to Teams can be simplified with Skype for Business Server 2019 and Skype for Business Server 2015 with CU8 update.
- Your Users Are At Different Levels of Readiness: Often, the adoption rates for users depends on their job functions, their interactions with technology, and their level of engagement with IT teams. Because of this, it’s important to upgrade users based on their level of readiness, which can be determined by conducting a user pilot. This is especially important given that Microsoft recommends reaching users with personalised messaging and training sessions before upgrading to Teams, which can vary depending on what integrated applications workers use on a daily basis. For example, finance teams may primarily use Power BI and Google Analytics, technical operations teams may often use Jira and AzureBot, and sales teams may often use Direct Routing for voice communications.
- Your Existing Systems Are Complex: In many cases, gradual upgrades are strategic if you need to migrate complex or disparate systems. For example, many global companies must integrate or remove local legacy equipment site-by-site, which means leaders must develop and execute detailed plans for each regional office. Additionally, companies with out-of-date services may need more time and flexibility in order to optimise networks and endpoints, which is especially important given the specific hardware, software, and security features required with Teams. In these cases, it makes sense to deploy a hybrid solution that ensures tailored migration strategies can be rolled out over time.
What Does This Mean for Voice Communications?
With options for when and how to conduct a Microsoft Teams deployment, it’s important to answer the tough questions about your collaboration needs, including how to deploy seamless voice services. Luckily, Pure IP’s Direct Routing solution gives you access to the global coverage, specialised support, and agile services you need for truly effortless calling in Teams - no matter what your upgrade strategy is. With failover engineering to geo-redundant secondary SBCs, 24/7 dedicated support, and international coverage in 90 countries, Pure IP ensures your voice communications are as global as you are.