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Skype for Business Online will be retired 31st July 2021

Skype for Business Officially Living on Borrowed Time

We knew this day was coming, when Microsoft at last announced the end of Skype for Business. In software terms, the demise is darn near imminent – all support for Skype for Business Online ends July 31, 2021.

Two years is not long when it comes to transitioning off such an entrenched tool.

For most Microsoft product retirements, the company simply ends support, and in the case of on-premises software, stops sending out security fixes and updates. The nail in Skype’s coffin is quite a bit deeper – the service itself ends in less than two years.

The move away from Skype actually starts in less than a month. “Starting September 1, 2019, we will onboard all new Office 365 customers directly to Teams for chat, meetings, and calling,” Microsoft announced.

Some of the Skype legacy will linger beyond the passing of Skype for Business. “Skype Consumer service and Skype for Business Server will both be unaffected by this announcement,” Microsoft noted.

The move to Team will not be easy. CoreView tracks over 2 million Office 365 end users, and despite the Skype toll ringing, Skype has more than double the active users as Teams. Our data shows 346,365 active Skype users versus only 146,630 actively on Teams. This despite the fact that Teams comes with all Office 365 licenses, even the bare bones E1.

Two Years in the Making

Microsoft has made no secret of its desire to move users from Skype, which has long been yesterday’s news, to the two year-old Microsoft Teams, which is a core part of the Office 365 portfolio. Teams is modern, feature rich, and growing in function at a breakneck pace. Moreover, Teams is really the centerpiece of Office 365, stitching together all the applications and services – what Microsoft calls a “Services Hub”.

Moreover, Teams leverages years of Microsoft experience in Unified Communications (UC) and decades of work in collaboration. In fact, Teams leverages work done in Office Communications Server (OCS) and Lync Server, two well-received tools in the enterprise, SMB and solutions provider space.

Teams is the glue that holds all Office 365 apps together, and full use of Teams is key to digital transformation and digital dexterity.

The move makes economic sense. Teams represents 25% of the cost of Office 365, according to Forrester. Meanwhile, the ROI represented by full Teams adoption is a staggering 832%.

The Time to Move is Now

There is no choice but to move off the now terminal Skype for Business and onto Microsoft Teams – like now! Starting Sept 1, your new Office 365 users will be driven to Teams, and steered clear of Skype.

Moving dozens of users from Skype to Teams is a daunting task. Hundreds is scary. Thousands? You don’t even want to think about it.

Luckily CoreView does. Our CoreLearning and CoreAdoption solutions ease the task of moving users from the nearly defunct Skype to Teams.

Organizations need consistent ways to communicate through standardized collaboration platforms. Unfortunately, many workers are still stubbornly stuck on Skype for Business rather than Microsoft Teams. You need a gentle and disciplined way to pry them free.

Here CoreView’s CoreAdoption solution examines the entire Office 365 environment, finds the usage of Skype on a macro and individual level, as well as the usage of Teams. It identifies those folks that do not use, or underuse Teams, and creates custom adoption campaigns.

Meanwhile CoreAdoption’s sister solution CoreLearning, has over 2,500 short tutorial videos that use Just in Time Learning (JITL) to teach the user as they actually work in the application. We then track their progress and recast the adoption campaigns to promote further progress.

Read our Just in Time Learning (JITL) whitepaper to find out more.

Maximizing Investment

Driving adoption of Teams is essential to maximizing Office 365 investment. Teams, a collaboration and productivity suite, improves your end users’ cloud dexterity, overall productivity, and collaboration skills.

The key to a successful adoption plan is clustering users based on different service usage and behavior – which helps drive targeted adoption and training campaigns. For this to work, you must apply the correct metrics to define your clusters, as well as identify incorrect user behavior so you can take corrective action.

By analyzing the segmented user list, you gain valuable information for your adoption campaign and can track campaign efficiency.

Once you have an adoption strategy, it is time to train your users. Experts have found that standard training (classroom and eLearning) are not optimal since users forget 70% of what they learned within 24 hours.

Instead, end users today look for on-demand training. It is not unusual for users to search the internet to learn needed skills. Sadly, using non-standard training creates inconsistency across your workforce.

Just in Time Learning (JITL) that Teaches End Users While They Work

In the world of cloud-based IT services, applications are constantly being added to and updated. CoreView’s CoreAdoption usage insights and adoption campaigns ensures all employees keep pace as things change. With CoreAdoption:

  • Usage Data Is Consolidated — We scan all Office 365 solutions, such as Teams, at once, so you are not jumping from dashboard to dashboard for reports.
  • Reports Are Easy to Filter — Usage data can be analyzed by sub-pool, region and more, so it is easy to identify groups that need help.
  • Email Campaigns Are Built — Once you identify low adopters, you can send targeted adoption campaigns without leaving the platform.
  • Campaign Success Is Easier to Measure — With email and usage data in the same place, it is easy to see which of your campaign strategies is working best.
  • Integrations Are Effortless — If you also use our CoreLearning video library, it is easy to drop training videos right into your adoption emails.

With CoreLearning and CoreAdoption, you can establish a change management process that goes far beyond Teams, and:

  • Drive the change management process by running targeted adoption campaigns and creating a learning path
  • Improve user productivity by increasing their Cloud Services Dexterity
  • Maximize Microsoft investment by driving inactive services
  • Reduce training cost by offering a self-service and integrated learning system
  • Maximize the return of investment
  • Optimize the knowledge retention for the workers
  • Increase staff productivity
  • Reduce time away from job activity for IT and Helpdesk staff

Schedule a Teams Adoption Health Check Right Away

IT cannot tackle a problem unless they can define it. Fortunately, there is an answer. CoreView offers a free Office 365 Health Check that analyzes your entire environment, deeply defining the state of licensing, security, administration, and application and service usage. Now you can discover exactly how much of your user base is stuck on Skype, and what percentage are on Teams.

Sign up for your Office 365 Health Check now.

More Information on Teams Adoption

Learn more from our on-demand webinar Moving from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams.

Check out our Data Sheet Targeted Training and Adoption for Office 365.