On January 14th, Microsoft announced that Skype for Business is to be replaced by Teams in the next 2 years. Here’s all you need to know to keep your business ready for the switch.

What’s Happening?

Microsoft has announced that Skype for Business will be shutting down come 31st July, 2021. Regular Skype for personal use will be unaffected, but the business service will no longer be accessible or supported as Microsoft attempts to transition users to Microsoft Teams as the core communication client for Office 365.

Current Office 365 customers won’t see any changes until this date. But customers registered after 1st September 2020 will not be able to use Skype for business, instead Teams will be the only option offered by Microsoft.

The company recommend to begin planning for the upgrade as soon as possible to minimise potential disruption, and to make a communication and training plan before any changes are made.

What are the benefits of upgrading?

Microsoft champions Teams as a “hub for teamwork”. More than just an upgrade to Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams acts as a nexus for Office 365.

By combining chat, video, calling, document collaboration, and file storage into a single app, the aim is to help companies significantly reduce cycle times, remove unnecessary overheads, and improve project collaboration.

And don’t worry, you won’t be losing any features once you upgrade – Microsoft Teams has had the same offerings as Skype for Business since July 2018. What you should expect is a faster and overall better  experience due to the new architecture.

What you need to do

There are a few ways to go about the upgrade process, but as long as you’re an Office 365 customer, the upgrade is completely free. For organisations already using Skype for Business, Microsoft recommends running the two services together, in what they call ‘coexistence’, for now while you plan the upgrade.


They have made 5 coexistence modes available, with the default being ‘Islands Mode’.

This involves Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams being run as two separate solutions which deliver similar capabilities, such as presence, chat, calling, and meetings. Users can get the advantages of the new collaborative capabilities of Teams, like channels, access the Office 365 files, and applications.

Other options include Skype for Business Only, or Teams Only (the official upgrade choice), in which the two clients having minimal interaction with one another. For more information on the modes available, head to teams and skype for business coexistence and interoperability.

Once you decide you’re ready to migrate to the full upgrade, Microsoft have written a step-by-step guide for the process detailing every aspect of the switch, from planning to implementation, which you can find here:

how to roll out teams

My Organisation/ Business needs help

If you are a business or organisation in the North-West of England, then we can save you time and money.

Sensible Choice provides office technology to businesses and organizations across Lancashire and Cumbria. Our industry-trained engineers can talk you through the process, or pop down and do it all for you for total peace of mind.

Get in touch with us for a chat about how we could help you with the switch, and the many other services we provide.

Do I have to upgrade to Teams?

Yes, eventually. If you want to keep the same Office 365 capabilities of unified communication which you enjoy now, you will need to upgrade by 31st January 2021. It’s better to start sooner rather than later.

But the process doesn’t have to be painful. The coexistence feature offered by Microsoft allows for a smooth transition from one program to the other. And if you have lingering concerns, their website hosts a comprehensive guide to answer any remaining questions.