It's Official!

Microsoft has finally announced End Of Life for Skype for Business Online: July 31, 2021.

You have some big decisions ahead of you:

- Will you migrate to Microsoft Teams now? 

- Will you wait until 2021 to transition?

- Will you approach this transition by yourself?

- Will you work with a Microsoft Partner?


Our goal is to get those questions answered, and help you create a roadmap to the best solution for your organization. Because the only thing you REALLY need right now (well in advance of July 2021) is a good plan.  

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Fill out this form to schedule a strategy call.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is this happening? Skype is great!

Skype was great, and for a while it met all our business needs and more. But the modern workplace has experienced significant changes, and today’s users need a more comprehensive and collaborative solution than Skype could offer.  

That solution is Microsoft Teams. Much more than just a chat and calling platform, Teams brings the best of Office 365 together inside of one platform. Now your users can participate in chat conversations with their team, host video meetings, share files, and collaborate on documents right inside of the Teams app. The productivity available with this new solution is unlike anything Skype for Business could offer, and it’s the perfect fit for the trajectory of the modern workplace.  

What if I'm using Skype for Business On Prem? What about Hybrid?

If you’re currently working with Skype for Business Server (On Prem), you’re in the safe zone, at least for now. Even though Microsoft has promised support at least until 2025, your transition to collaborating in the cloud with Teams will be a heavier lift. You’re likely using SfB Server as a solution for your voice environment, and you’ll need a custom designed plan to move this environment to the cloud. That’s where a partner like Continuant comes in, and it’s never too early to get this process started. The last thing you want is to be rushed.  

If you’re running a Hybrid environment for Skype for Business, you’ll need to make the move to Teams. Since Skype for Business Online won’t be available anymore, this will no longer be a viable option for Skype for Business after July 2021.   

Why should my organization transition to Microsoft Teams?

We can emphatically say, your organization will be better with Teams in it. Studies have shown that 80% of companies report increased productivity after moving to Teams. They’re seeing higher efficiency, better collaboration, and improved employee satisfaction as well.

Furthermore, with Teams, you’re set up for the future. With this Cloud-only application, you’ll enjoy the benefits of automatic software updates, incomparable and continuously improving security features (Microsoft invests over $1 billion in security every single year) and a roadmap of additional features rolling out all the time. With Teams, you’ll always be on the cutting edge of collaboration.  

How do I prepare my organization to transition to Teams?

Preparing for the upgrade is an involved process in and of itself that we refer to as the “pre-upgrade.” It begins simply by gathering information. Identify important people, or stakeholders, who will help the process along. Visualize the scope of the solution and all you’ll need it to do. 

Next you need to prepare. Get the environment and organization ready and make the big announcement that Teams will be launching soon. You’ll need to make sure that your help desk knows to be prepared to support Teams, and that your users are aware that transition is coming.  

After that comes testing. Get a user pilot set up with Teams alongside Skype for Business. Let people see some of Teams’ features in action and get a chance to use it themselves. This is a great way to enlist key individuals to help spearhead user readiness. We can call these elites “Teams Champions”. This process will likely take the longest out of all of them, so be ready to spend up to a month piloting Teams. 

Finally, it’s time to begin. Get your champions together, set the right coexistence mode, and you’ll be ready to start. As the upgrade begins in earnest, make sure to continue monitoring the Teams upgrade roadmap to make sure everything goes according to plan.  

What about my third-party integrations and premium licensing?

Good question. Many people embark on their quest to transition to Teams and leave important details like these behind, which quickly becomes a massive issue (all your phone systems going down? Not good.)  

Microsoft has made a handful of resources available for you to navigate the complexities of your transition, but the only way to make sure that no rock goes unturned is to work with a Microsoft Direct partner like Continuant. This way, you’ll have access to experts who can take the time to fully understand your business processes and workloads, migrate your unique integrations, ensure your licensing carries over, and predict issues before they arise. This is something that Microsoft leans on Partners to help with, because of the great attention to detail necessary in situations like this.  

When is the best time to make the transition?

As soon as you’re able to do this transition well. Take a look at your annual calendar and block out the busiest times of your year. You’ll want your users to be able to take the time to adjust and learn this new system, so avoid peak business seasons, if appropriate.  

Our best advice is to start as soon as possible. It’s easy to look at the timeline and think you have more than enough time, but the last thing you want is to be rushed through this transition. You’ll want to take the time to invest in the preparation phase, create a thorough plan with a Direct Partner, then execute. You’ll want to host workshops to train your users on best practices and invest the time to make sure that user adoption is high.  With a workforce that spans five generations, your approach needs to be customized and tailored to each audience to ensure maximum success. Your time and care in this transition is the most critical element to making sure that Teams pays off for you in the long run. 

Can we navigate this transition ourselves? Isn't it as simple as just flipping a switch?
Unfortunately, doing it right is much more complex than flipping a switch. You could try to accomplish the migration on your own. However, it’s not abnormal for clients to come to us after attempting a migration and ending up with a mess on their hands (and months of time wasted). If you think you may have the in-house capacity to make it happen, you might as well talk it through with an expert before you begin. That way you can ensure that your plan is thorough, and nothing will go awry. Our experts are happy to have a strategy call with you, whether you choose to work with a partner like Continuant or not.  
Is there any support available?

Microsoft has made a handful of downloads, webinars, articles and more to help you navigate this transition. However, they’re unable to offer one on one consultation and troubleshooting for this migration. That’s what they rely on their Microsoft Partner Network for.  

Microsoft Partners (like Continuant) have direct access to Microsoft’s support and engineering teams, and your partner will work with Microsoft on your behalf. Think of it as VIP access to Microsoft’s best and brightest. With the FastTrack program, we can even bring Microsoft experts in to your organization to accelerate your migration efforts. A Microsoft Direct Partner will also work with you to evaluate the complexities of your organization, create a detailed and timely roadmap for your transition, and execute the plan with you every step of the way. From user training to workshops to troubleshooting issues, your Partner will be your advocate as you make the move to Teams.  

What do I do next?
Simply complete the form above to request a call with one of our Migration & Deployment experts. They’ll get you started on your journey by asking a few questions about your company and collaboration environment, and let you ask any questions of your own. Whether you select Continuant to assist you in this migration or not, we’re happy to get you moving in the right direction as you begin your journey to Teams.  
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Get Ready for Microsoft Teams 

The Future of Collaboration

Much more than just a chat and voice solution, Teams is an all-in-one collaboration platform created for today's diverse and evolving workforce. Now your users can share new ideas, chat with their teams, collaborate on projects and files in real time, and powerfully connect whether they're across the room or across the world.

  • Deeply integrated with Office 365 apps

  • Unparalleled Enterprise-level security, compliance, and manageability

  • Infinitely customizable with third party apps and devices

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Ensure a Successful Transition 

Working with a Microsoft Direct Partner like Continuant will make a dramatic difference in this process.  

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Custom Roadmaps

We’ll take the time to learn about your unique business needs and goals, then create a detailed and timely roadmap to get you where you want to go. Then we’ll walk with you and your users every step of the way. Your future goals just got that much more attainable.  

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White Glove Service & Training

User adoption is the most critical element to a successful migration, and today’s users are more diverse than ever. You need training and service that is tailored to the unique needs of your users to ensure maximum adoption of your new solution.  

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24/7 Service Desk

With our Service Desk that never sleeps, you always have access to your dedicated account team. You can rest easy knowing that you always have a trusted partner on your side, ready to solve any problems that arise with an industry-leading Time to Restore (TTR).  

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Have more questions? 

Want to explore your options with an expert? Our Deployment & Migration experts are available to you, ready to discuss your unique situation. Schedule a free 30-minute strategy call today.  

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