Microsoft Ignite has come and gone. It has left us with many new announcements, products to anticipate, and changes to prepare for. Particularly when it comes to Skype for Business.
In today’s post, I’ve collected some impressions from Ignite’s announcements. These are only related to Skype for Business and Teams.
1. Confirmation of migrating Skype for Business Online into Teams.
By the time Ignite started we all pretty much knew this was coming. Still, it’s good to have confirmation.
Teams will become the default communications client for Office 365 users. It will gain audio conferencing, VoIP backend capabilities like Microsoft’s new “Phone System,” and other features to bring it to parity (and maybe beyond) with Skype for Business.
In the process, Microsoft will rebrand Unified Communications into “Intelligent Communications.” Not sure if I like this one, though. We don’t need yet another round of “Guess the Brand Name Now!”
2. Confirmation of new Skype4B Server – Skype for Business Server 2019.
“No Directors. Meh.”
Too funny not to link that one. Ben Lee over at Bibble-IT provides us with a great breakdown of the Skype for Business Server 2019 session. What I found notable (besides the “No Directors”) is this slide:
So long as you have Windows Server 2016 and SQL Server 2016, you can migrate from Lync Server 2013 straight to Skype for Business Server 2019. Since some larger organizations still use Lync Server, I’d say this is a wise move. They really should upgrade anyway.
3. “What should we use?” All the developments are leading to more confusion!
Ignite presenters did try to identify which tool you should use in certain situations. For instance, if you’re working with co-workers regularly on core business projects? Teams is your tool of choice. Someone outside the office? Back to Outlook with you.
I don’t think this will help too much. They still have Yammer in the mix, even though Teams will get a major boost from absorbing Skype for Business and the forthcoming Guest Access. Wouldn’t it make more sense to phase Yammer out entirely?
4. Announcement of Azure Advanced Threat Protection for Teams.
Advanced Threat Protection is a protection mechanism for MS services like Teams. Billed as “a security layer that operates following the successful bypass of these controls [standard protections like firewalls],” it essentially monitors users and alerts on suspicious activity.
Frankly, this should have been baked in from Day 1 on Teams. Being a channel-based communications environment, Teams encourages open discussions. Gaining access to the channel means gaining access to its backlog…which could easily contain sensitive information. Extra protection at the channel level is pretty much mandatory.
5. Reports of Guest Access for non-MS accounts working in Teams.
Something I noticed in conjunction with Ignite. A few commenters said they could enable Teams Guest Access for non-O365 users. Other commenters disagreed, unable to do so themselves. Microsoft has stated that MSA (Microsoft Accounts) are next anyway, so I’m inclined to doubt it. (Though I do want them to hurry up!)
6. Future PSTN Deployment Options posted.
@DarylHunter posted this image on Twitter a few days ago:
It maps out, naturally, which PSTN deployment options you have, depending on the Skype for Business or Teams service used. This is where Phone System (formerly Cloud PBX) starts to show up. Good visual for planning out the next couple of years.
If you’re curious about the other, non-Skype4B/Teams announcements, head to PCMag.com:
12 Big Announcements from Microsoft Ignite – PCMag
Teams Will Change…But Will It Grow?
Big changes are coming up! Teams and Skype for Business Online combining, one more Skype for Business Server version (though I suspect that will be the last), and more Teams-related development. Pretty much everything we expected to see, given the leaks beforehand.
This is in keeping with Microsoft’s “cloud first” approach. It’s also a way to make use of existing Skype for Business technologies. What Microsoft needs to keep in mind is that their competitors in this space – Workplace, Slack, HipChat, and so on – are agile and eager. They will outmaneuver Teams if they can.
Just adding features isn’t enough. The Teams team needs to respond to user issues, and work on customer improvements. Otherwise, even as big a change as absorbing Skype for Business won’t help much.
How will you prepare for these Teams changes? Please comment or email me your thoughts.