Last Updated on 23rd March 2021
This article is Part 4 in our Microsoft Teams series.
Organisations using Skype for Business have the option to upgrade to Microsoft Teams. This new app offers a cloud-based environment where staff can talk and work as a team. The ability to communicate and collaborate within the same app environment ensures your team spends less time flipping between apps and more time on the work that really matters. So how does an organisation ensure the transition is smooth and hassle-free?
Before You Start Migrating to Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is a collaborative communication environment that makes it easy to create teams of people to focus on specific tasks. It’s fully integrated with Microsoft 365, uses cloud storage via SharePoint and OneDrive for Business, and allows your teams to collaborate entirely within the cloud. Microsoft Teams offers real-time collaboration in a secure cloud-based environment, and it integrates well with a wide range of third-party apps for even more functionality.
One thing that’s important to note is that just because your organisation has the option to upgrade, doesn’t mean you’re ready to do it. Before making the transition, it’s important to decide if it will genuinely benefit your business.
Once you’ve decided to go ahead and switch to Microsoft Teams, there are some other considerations to keep in mind. To make sure your user experience is the best it can be, make sure of the following:
- That Microsoft Teams meets your communication and collaboration needs.
- Your network is ready to support the switch to Teams.
- You have an employee training plan in place so that your staff are ready to start using Teams effectively as soon as the migration is completed.
What is migrated during the transition from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams?
When your organisation makes the switch, you’ll be able to migrate all your important data from Skype over to Teams, including the following:
- Associated mailboxes and SharePoint sites
- Membership roles
Making the Transition to Microsoft Teams
Choose your upgrade path
There’s more than one way to migrate from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams. For instance, you can opt for a direct upgrade, where you deploy Teams alongside Skype to evaluate how well Teams works in your organisation. The goal here is, once the evaluation is over, to upgrade users to Teams and retire Skype soon afterwards. If your entire organisation will use Teams only once the migration is complete, this is generally the preferred method.
Sometimes, a different upgrade method might be needed. For instance, if you have a cohort of users who must continue using Skype for Business even after the migration, you won’t transition out of Skype entirely. In this instance, at least some of your users will use both apps, while most will transition to a Teams-only workflow.
Prepare your environment
This phase of migration involves preparing your IT staff to make sure they have everything they need to make sure the upgrade follows a smooth transition path. This is also the time to make sure that your network environment is ready for the transition—that all prerequisites are met, and that your network can support Teams. For instance, for Teams to operate to its full potential, a number of other Office 365 services need to be implemented and operating correctly, including SharePoint, Exchange, and OneDrive. Teams can run without certain of these services, but doing so means that it won’t be fully functional.
Prepare your organisation
Teams has great potential to improve workflows, but employees need to be willing to change how they work—and this isn’t always a given. Most organisations encounter a certain amount of resistance from people who are used to the old way of working, and who have trouble adapting to new systems. The best way to counter this is with a user readiness plan that includes training and support activities, so that all staff members feel comfortable with the upcoming changes.
Carry out a user pilot
Deploying new tech can have many benefits for your organisation, but it’s also possible that problems will arise that you hadn’t expected. Conducting a user pilot can help ensure those problems are detected and solved before they have a chance to affect your entire organisation.
Complete the upgrade process
The final step is to roll out Teams to the entire organisation. Depending on the size of your organisation, this might be done migrating all users to Teams at the same time, or with a phased upgrade process that upgrades users in groups.
For organisations that choose the latter method, there are “co-existence modes” that ensure that people can still communicate effectively even if some are using Teams and some aren’t. For instance, users start out in SkypeOnly mode, and transition to TeamsOnly mode via several intermediate steps as new Teams features are implemented. Whether the goal is TeamsOnly mode across the entire organisation, or whether a small group continue to use Skype, these modes ensure that communication is still consistent and predictable for everyone.
If you’d like more information about making the transition over to Microsoft Teams, get in touch with us today.