• Michaelangelo Philippides

Skype for Business shutdown in 2021: Be ready!

“Microsoft is shutting down Skype for Business by 31st July 2021”

With Office365 being one of the leading educational tools globally, it’s not a surprise that it’s used by staff and students in most UK Colleges and Universities. With such a diverse selection of services, Microsoft has created a variety of platforms to enable all kinds of functions. This has led to some of these platforms to have some overlaps in functionality. Such is the case between Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams.

For this reason, Microsoft has announced that they will be shutting down Skype for Business and moving all users to Microsoft Teams from 31 July 2021. Teams provides the communication capabilities of Skype with advanced task and team collaboration tools, app integration, and file storing and sharing. We found that this increase in functionality and integrations with the Office 365 suite of apps comes with a shallower learning curve and longer setup time for less technologically advanced users.

“Prepare Now: Don’t Just Mark Your Calendars: July 31, 2021.” - Joel Oleson, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional

Microsoft Teams have the capability to function as a single hub for teamwork and collaboration. In it you can create teams (as the name suggests), in which you can have multiple “chat rooms”. This allows you to separate your conversations by subjects and projects, as well as moderate which members of your team have access to each chat. You can also access your calendar which makes it easier to set up meetings and manage your time.

With the file sharing system you can store important files within Teams, making it faster and easier to access important documents or archive information in the same platform. The app integration can be very useful if your team needs fast access to other websites or services. You can create shortcuts to any sites you want including Planner (Microsoft’s version of “Trello”), your organisation's website, or external sites that your teams use frequently. This means that Teams have the potential to provide access to every single service your team needs, all from one application!

So what does this mean for you and your organisation?

You will soon have to make a change in the way you organise your meetings and conversations. Even though as established users you can continue using Skype for Business, we would recommend that you transition earlier to Microsoft Teams in order to have a more gradual change without any time pressure. This will allow for trial and error as well as experimentation with the variety of features that Microsoft Teams provides.

“There are many tutorials out there that can help you understand the features, benefits, and need to move to Microsoft Teams”

Teams is truly a powerful tool which can increase your productivity and connectivity with both your staff and members. Microsoft will continue to build on what is already a great platform and with a bit of research and experimentation, we are sure that you will be able to make a seamless transition to a platform build for collaboration.

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