If you're still using Skype for Business at your firm, be advised that Microsoft recently sent another friendly reminder out to all users of the service. The reminder says that it's going away as of July 31, 2021, so you'll need to complete your migration to Microsoft Teams (or an instance of Skype for Business Server), or have some other solution in place by then if you don't want to suffer any business disruptions.

In Microsoft's most recent blog post about the matter, they drew customer attention to a number of key changes, which include:

  • Services that integrate with Skype for Business Online will not be supported beyond the July 31, 2021 retirement. This includes support for third-party audio-conferencing providers, Skype for Business Online Cloud Connector Edition, hybrid voice configurations, and Skype Meeting Broadcast.
  • Customers will not be able to move online users out of Teams Only mode after retirement.
  • Coexistence modes enable customers to operate Skype for Business Server/Teams side-by-side experiences until they are ready to move users to Teams Only.
  • Users can be moved directly from Skype for Business Server to Teams Only after configuring Skype for Business hybrid with Microsoft 365 or Office 365.

The company also announced that in the weeks ahead, they'll begin scheduling Microsoft-assisted upgrades. These are for firms utilizing "cloud-only" or hybrid deployments as a last-mile transition service and are scheduled to begin in August.

Needless to say, big changes are afoot. If Skype for Business has become an entrenched part of life at your company, then it's time to kick your transition plans into high gear, because one way or the other, Skype for Business is coming to an end, and the deadline is looming. If there's a silver lining to be found, it lies in the fact that Teams really is a great alternative, the predictable grumbling about having to switch notwithstanding.

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