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Customer Information on the Transition from Skype for Business Online to Teams

Microsoft Ignite Recap: Information on the Transition from Skype for Business Online to Teams & New Release for Skype Server

Since Microsoft World Partner Conference held in July, 2017, CallTower has heard rumors and speculation regarding the future of Teams.  The speculation ranged from Microsoft running Skype for Business Online and Teams in parallel with tight integration to Teams being the online product for Microsoft.  During the week of September 25th 2017 at Microsoft Ignite, Lori Wright, General Manager for Microsoft Teams and Skype product marketing, outlined Microsoft’s vision for Teams and Skype, confirming that Teams will evolve as the primary client for communications in Office 365 and over time will replace the Skype for Business Online client, or Skype for Business offered by Microsoft.  Microsoft also committed to interop between Teams and hosted Skype for Business such as offered by CallTower.   

CallTower has invested heavily in our partnership with Microsoft to ensure we are aligned with their products, vision and partner distribution model.  Our technology and product teams were present at Ignite to meet with Microsoft personnel, attend keynotes, and attend sessions, so that information could be shared throughout CallTower and with our customers. 

The main question we received this week from our customer base is: “What does the transition to Teams mean for my services with CallTower?”   CallTower’s response is that Microsoft’s investment in Teams and Skype for Business provides customer with more choices.  This is no doubt a bold move by Microsoft to shift resources for their online business, Skype for Business platform to Teams.  Skype for Business, and CallTower’s hosted Skype for Business, is not being reduced in any way. In fact, Microsoft announced at Ignite that they have invested heavily in the next release of Skype for Business Server that will be out in the 2nd half of 2018 and will have interop with Teams.  Microsoft also stated in a session at Ignite that the best feature set today remains in Skype for Business Server.  CallTower will continue to offer additional features on hosted Skype for Business that provides a much better and robust solution for our customers. 

CallTower is uniquely positioned and better aligned with Microsoft than ever before.   CallTower exists “To enable people to easily connect to…”   We have purposely left the end of the statement open because we enable people to connect and collaborate in numerous ways to accomplish their business goals.  Also, we enable people to connect by providing solutions.  Teams provides CallTower with another potential solution for our customers to connect to…..  

As a Microsoft Gold Partner under the Cloud Service Provider (CSP) program and a Microsoft Hoster, CallTower has the expertise to deliver solutions to our customers around Microsoft Office 365, which includes Teams.  As a Microsoft Hoster, we have the ability to distribute more custom solutions and integrations on Microsoft services that are not available in Microsoft’s cloud offering. 

CallTower provides industry leading technologies and have advanced at a dependable pace with Microsoft, from OCS, to Lync Server, to Skype Server and Skype for Business Online.  We are excited about the next generation of communication and collaboration solutions and to continuing to providing the best solution(s) for CallTower customers. 

Here are a few other points of interest from Ignite:  

  • Timetable to move from Microsoft’s Skype for Business Online to Teams as predicted by analyst is 2020
  • Teams is less than a year old; the solution needs time to mature
  • Teams is developed to compete with Slack and similar products; it will not be the right fit for all O365 users
  • Interop between Teams and Skype will continue to advance including presence, messaging and calling.
  • Teams development is heavily focused on incorporating artificial intelligence
  • Teams is built on the Skype for Business Online infrastructure

For more information, please contact our customer services team at support@calltower.com.

Warmest regards,

Shaun Chambers
Chief Product Officer

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