If you rely on Skype for Business to bring your team closer together, it may come as a surprise to hear that Microsoft is planning to axe their Skype for Business Online service in 2021 and replace it with new enterprise app, Microsoft Teams. What does this mean and how will it affect your business? Find out, as Lake Technologies explains your options.
What is Skype for Business?
Skype for Business is enterprise software that combines instant messaging, calling and video in a single app. Users have historically accessed this service through real-time communications software, Skype for Business Server, or through the cloud-based version, Skype for Business Online, as part of an Office 365 subscription.
Until now that is, following a Microsoft statement announcing plans to scrap Skype for Business Online on 31 July 2021. The technology giant is now in the process of migrating new and existing Office 365 subscribers to Microsoft Teams; an integrated app that combines chat, video, calling, and document collaboration. Users of Microsoft’s Skype for Business Server and the Skype Consumer version of the service won’t be affected.
“Over the last two years, we’ve worked closely with customers to refine Teams, and we now feel we’re at the point that we can confidently recommend it as an upgrade to all Skype for Business Online customers,” said James Skay, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft.
How to use Microsoft Teams
So what is Microsoft Teams? Touted as the “chat-based workspace in Office 365”, Microsoft Teams features Skype’s chat, voice and video functionality, plus a full suite of web-based Office 365 products (such as Word, Excel and enterprise social network, Yammer). It also integrates Artificial Intelligence and LinkedIn for a fully joined-up experience.
Businesses can use Microsoft Teams via a standard Office 365 licence, while premium VoIP telephony services can also be purchased with an additional licence. Phone System is Microsoft’s dedicated technology for enabling call control and Private Branch Exchange (PBX) capabilities through Microsoft Teams.
This add-on is included in Microsoft’s top-end Enterprise licence or else for a monthly fee per user. Users can either make calls through an existing SIP trunk using Direct Routing or buy into cloud-based Calling Plans.
An affordable alternative to Microsoft Teams
If it sounds like you need to purchase a lot of add-ons to make VoIP calls using Microsoft Teams, that’s because you do. For a small to medium enterprise, those extra costs can soon add up. Which is where Lake Technologies can help. Because we’ve collaborated with trusted partners in the business telecoms industry to bring you an affordable VoIP telephony bolt-on for Office 365.
“For any business owners in the North West of England who are worried about the potential inconvenience and extra costs they might incur when Microsoft mothballs Skype for Business Online, Lake Technologies has the perfect solution”, said Neil Needham, Commercial Director at Lake Technologies.
“Our very own VoIP bolt-on for Office 365 offers all the convenience of internet-based phone calls at a fraction of the price, backed up with dedicated local support from our technical experts in Ormskirk, Lancashire. We want to reassure our customers that there is an alternative to off-the-shelf VoIP products. We can provide affordable, bespoke solutions that evolve and scale with your business.”