Tom Talks Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business thoughts and news

Microsoft automatically upgrading some small Office 365 tenants from Skype for Business Online to Microsoft Teams

Thanks to Mark Eckert, Hadrien-Nessim Socard and others over at the Microsoft Tech Communities forums for highlighting this with screenshots below. Fellow MVP Darrell Webster, one of the great Regarding 365 team also did a video overview of the situation, he saw the automatic upgrade notification on his tenant.

I’ll post more details as I have then, but it appears that some “small” (possibly sub 500 seats) tenants with limited SfB Online usage (scenarios Microsoft believe can also be achieved in Teams) are being scheduled for automatic (no admin interaction or approval) “upgrade” (user migration) from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams with a very short time period between the notification and automatic upgrade. There is an option to postpone the update should you want to.

Mark Eckert received an email with the following:

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This is definitely only happening on a limited number of tenants. I couldn’t find the message in any of my test tenants or our customer tenants. Messages are posted in the Office 365 message centre, and unfortunately, it looks like the communications from Microsoft could be a lot clearer.

The messages are being posted under “Plan for Change”. I think they should really go under the category “Major Updates”, especially when you consider the messages are being posted just weeks before the automatic upgrade happens. Emails seem to be going out to some Office 365 admins too, Whatever you feel about Teams (I think it’s great and better than SfB Online in a lot, if not most use cases), this is a big change to end user experience. Further, I think smaller tenants are exactly the ones that wouldn’t regularly check the Office 365 message centre/read the update emails.

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Should you want to, there is an option to postpone the upgrade.

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This is a tricky one for Microsoft. They want to get users onto the new, better thing. They know if they make something “opt-in” most admins will not actually enable it, so I can see the merit of checking for suitability based on back-end usage statistics and doing an automatic upgrade with opt out. However, some hopefully helpful, feedback:

  • Notifying of a major user experience change that will happen *automatically* under “plan for change” message category with a title that says nothing about “automatic”, i.e. *you* can beginning your upgrade today, could easily be missed
  • Giving 10 days notice to an automatic change like this is far too short. What if the one admin at a small company is on holiday for 2 or 3 weeks?
  • How to opt out should be really clear
  • If a partner manages multiple tenants for a customer, knowing which tenants have been selected and why would be really helpful
  • We have a great community, this type of action, even if only for a handful of tenants, even as a test, news will spread. There should be clear information and guidance up front to the community/customers so we can understand the approach, prepare and inform our businesses/customers.

Again, I see the value of automatic migrations and believe Teams is better than Skype for Business for a lot of use cases, but the approach and comms have to be handled clearly and carefully.

Want to stay updated on the SfB/Teams changes? You can join over 1,800 professionals subscribed to my free weekly email update here: http://tomtalks.uk/subscribe/

About the author

Tom Arbuthnot

Tom Arbuthnot is Principal Solutions Architect at Unified Communications specialist Modality Systems. He is a Microsoft Certified Master and MVP, blogger, has a regular podcast with UCToday at tomtalks.show and is a regular speaker at events including Microsoft TechEd and Ignite. He co-runs The Microsoft UC User Group London.

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  • Hi Tom,
    the big issue here is devices compatibility. We’ve MANY small tenants, sometimes 5 or 10 users, used only for SfB video meeting between devices like Polycom Trio (with Visual+) or Polycom RP Group Series. Both devices are not supported on Teams with video (Trio only in audio mode and it’s still in beta). Microsoft last year said that every devices that works with SfB Online will be supported with Teams, but this is not true and it does not seem to interest anyone in Microsoft.
    I know that many company in USA are migrating from SfB to Zoom and not Teams for videoconference, maybe this is one possible cause (Trio work with Zoom now).

    The second, HUGE issue is users adoption and training. Moving from SfB to Teams it’s anything but trivial.
    Regards
    Luca

Tom Talks Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business thoughts and news