Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business - A Road Map for Change

If you’re using Microsoft Office 365 at your nonprofit you should know that Skype for Business will eventually be replaced by Teams. Microsoft is currently working on bringing the Skype for Business functionality into Teams. These changes will not happen overnight, but it is safe to assume that in about a year nonprofits will be using Teams instead of Skype for Business for things like video calls, conference calls, screen sharing and instant messaging.

In this case, we believe change is good! Read on to learn about our favorite features of Teams and what you need to know right now about both Teams' and Skype for Business's functionality.


We are excited and looking forward to this positive change to the Office 365 productivity and collaborative suite! Teams is already available to users on nonprofit licenses and the Tech Impact staff has already started to use Teams. Teams is a place for more than just conferencing and screen sharing. Our favorite features are:

  • Teams creates a single place to chat with collaborators on files stored in SharePoint.

  • We can reference files, continue conversations around files, and access files across multiple groups in a single place.

  • Tagging makes it easy to alert individuals or groups when there is information that needs their attention.

  • We use Wiki pages for project templates and information that we share within our Team and across other areas of the organization. This provides easy access to reference information that we don’t have to dig through SharePoint to find.

  • We integrate Polly into our Team chat to take polls:

teams screen shot

  • Who doesn't like creating and modifying their own meme's?

Teams gifs

 

The Tech Impact Data & Strategy Team predicts that we’re about a year or so out from saying our official goodbyes to Skype for Business. But it’s important for nonprofit IT leaders to understand what the functionality of Skype and Teams is now, and how it will change in the future.

Here's what you should know now about Microsoft's Teams and Skype for Business: 
  • Microsoft Teams does not yet have the ability to allow external users to share their screen during meetings
    • This functionality is currently available in Skype for Business and is expected to be available in Teams starting this quarter.
    • This is one of the big reasons we still use Skype for Business for conference calls.
  • Microsoft Teams telephony is not built out, yet
    • Telephony – currently nonprofit organizations using E5 licensing have the ability to use Skype for Business for telephony services. This service is scheduled to roll out in Teams in Q2. If you are not using Skype for Business for telephone service now, you might want to look into it once it is available in Teams.
  • Microsoft Teams allows for individual chat AND group chat based on O365 groups and Microsoft Teams
    • In Skype for Business and Teams you can invite multiple people to chat – this is no different between the platforms.
    • Teams allows you to create project Teams, Groups, etc. that collaborate and provides them with a single place to chat, reference documents, etc. This is NOT available in Skype for Business.
    • The group/team based chat requires some setup in Teams.  You have to create the team and then add members to that team so they have access to all of the team resources.
  • Microsoft Teams is more reliable
    • I’ve found that Teams is more reliable, easier to connect to, has a great web interface for external users, and utilizes the screen space much better than Skype for Business.
  • Both Skype for Business and Teams allow you to create meetings in Outlook with links to the meetings.  There is no difference in this functionality.
  • Teams can integrate with a lot of additional features available in Office365 and can become a single place for users to interact and collaborate with other users, documents, dashboards, notebooks, etc.

 

Which should your nonprofit use if it’s just starting to use Office 365, Skype or Teams?

Teams will eventually be our recommendation once it is fully functional for internal and external users.  We anticipate this to happen within the next 6 months.  For nonprofits currently on Skype for Business, we’re recommending they stay with Skype for Business for the next couple of months just until the Q2 features are rolled out. 

At Tech Impact we are starting to use Teams internally and occasionally we have to switch back to Skype for Business. We still use Skype for Business when interacting with external users who have a need to share their screen. As soon as this functionality rolls out in Teams I anticipate we will begin using Teams exclusively.

If you are using this only for internal communication, I would recommend starting in Teams.  If you are also working with people outside of your organization, I would start with Skype for Business with a plan to migrate to Teams before the end of the year.

 

Check out our webinar recording - Skype for Business: A Road Map for Change to hear more.
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