Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Pressure mounting from Microsoft on Skype for Business Usage

Everyone in the IT Community knows by 2018 that Microsoft's primary vision is to no longer to make software for on-premises usage but to focus on their cloud portfolio and moving customers intellectual property (documents, email, data) who use Microsoft applications into Microsoft owned datacentre.  Many companies have made the migration to Azure and Office 365 over recent years.

It was surprising to many of us that on the 1st of October, 2018 - It was announced that all new Office 365 customers under 500 seats would no longer receive access to Skype for Business.  This news was posted here:

The Microsoft Teams client was officially launched only 14 March 2017 and ever since the launch, Microsoft has been mounting pressure for Skype for Business to go end of life.  It has only been a year and a bit since Microsoft are now making Microsoft Teams the only client of choice for businesses under 500 seats in Office 365 removing the option.

There are still a few things that I personally do not like about this new collaboration client such as the Interface and Features.

Skype for Business gives users the familiar "MSN Messenger" style layout, slick, clean and made primarily for instant messaging, presence and voice/video calls.  Teams is a completely different layout like in my screenshot below.

Microsoft Teams also has a file section on the left side pane allowing users to easily access data in One Drive or SharePoint Sites and allows multiple users to collaborate on the documents and chat real time about works.  This however assumes that companies store all their documents in a cloud service.  Some companies still do not upload documents and data to a public cloud service provider and only want to utilise Office 365 for instant messaging and collaboration without uploading sensitive information to the cloud.  The Files collaboration feature may be something that some clients do not want as part of an Enterprise instant messaging application.

Skype for Business is also heavily utilised by companies to perform simple desktop sharing to allow users to collaborate on works.  Microsoft Teams can also do this but you need to be in a Teams Meeting for this functionality to be available.  This is something that has annoyed many users and has been a feature request which Microsoft has ignored for a while and is all over the forums.

Whilst Microsoft Teams is some cool software, one thing which I have always liked in the IT world is freedom, the ability to have the option to choose the best tool for the task.  I personally don't like being forced to use a product or solution which is the new flavour of the month.  Nor do I like how some companies are forcing companies to adopt a cloud solution when not all businesses want to store intellectual property in a public datacentre for various business reasons.  All businesses should have the freedom to adopt technology as they feel fit.