Time to Upgrade from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams Cloud PBX?
by Adam Arnold
If you are reading this article chances are you know or have interest in Microsoft Office 365 Cloud PBX (or Cloud phone system– new name– or Office 365 VOIP). Keystone has extensive experience both using and implementing this voice solution. There has been significant interest in Microsoft’s cloud voice solution and we have written about it in the past. The question that has come up the most lately is whether or make the switch from Skype for Business Voice to Microsoft Teams.
First, Microsoft Teams is replacing Skype for Business; it’s happening and its inevitable– this is an issue you will face sooner rather than later. The act of making the switch in the Office 365 tenant is straightforward. A combination of power shell and changes in the GUI will get you swapped from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams; but are you ready?
Here are some things to consider regarding the switch over:
- Voice quality– Call quality in Microsoft Teams is great. Just as it was for Skype for Business, all the quality is there with a different interface. No issues.
- Voice features – So here is where Teams still needs some work. Especially if you want a desk phone. Polycom hasn’t released their Teams certified phones yet and there are issues with the call queues and existing desk phones with Microsoft Teams. If desk phone integration is important you should give this some thought before making the switch prior to Q2 (Polycom phones release in Q2 of this year). Using the App on your desktop or mobile phone works great.
- Phone system configuration – All of this still uses the Skype for Business Legacy Portal, nothing to see here.
- Change management – Microsoft Teams represents much more functionality and features than Skype for Business. As an Admin or decision-maker you need to be sure you have trained your users and disabled features they do not want to use yet. If you just want them to use chat and Voice calling, you can disable some of the team aspects until you are ready to roll it out. You can run Microsoft Teams in Islands mode to test your admin controls and get your users ready before making the swap.
- Statuses – The integration of statuses with Teams works better than Skype for Business and the out of office designation works well also.
- Meetings – The Teams meetings has a lot of the look and feel from the Skype for Business; audio conferencing works in the same way. The drawback is there is some issue with the audio conferencing and users getting stuck in the lobby. Also, you will need to reset user audio conference pins. I anticipate most of this working out by Q2 this year.
- Chat – Same features as Skype for Business here. The impromptu screen sharing just became available last quarter and that really completed the offering.
Overall, the Microsoft Teams Voice is ready to go. If having a desk/handset phone is important to your organization, I would wait until Q2 of this year, or you can make the dive with the Trade up to Teams initiative. The full integration with SharePoint, Outlook, group chat and calling makes Microsoft Teams an incredibly useful collaboration suite for any small- or medium-size business. The decision to swap to Microsoft Teams PBX is a great first step into utilizing all the Microsoft Teams functionality. If you haven’t started planning, get started soon. Or reach out to us and we can help you plan the next steps.