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What the latest Skype for Business update means for you

At the Ignite event in Orlando last week, Microsoft announced a number of changes around Skype for Business and Teams.

In order to understand these changes, you have to understand that Skype for Business Online provided by Office 365 is not the same as Skype for Business as an on-premise system, and that in Microsoft-speak, anything that isn’t in Office 365 is called on-premise – even if it’s actually not installed in your premises.

Microsoft made three key announcements. The first is that Skype for Business Online is getting merged into teams. That’s being done within the client – effectively, the Teams client (web-based, mobile based and PC-based) will gradually gain capabilities that were previously only available in the Skype for Business client.

The second was that there will be a new version of Skype for Business on-premise, expected at the end of next year, listed as SfB 2019 of vNext

The final announcement gives us some details on what SfB 2019 will do that’s different from what it does now. In short, teams will have the ability to operate in a ”hybrid” mode, using S4B on-premise to handle voice and video, but integrating to Office 365 and Sharepoint for document management, chat and bots.

This last announcement is very good news for Maintel customers. What it means is that customers using Skype for Business as part of our ICON Communicate service will be able to:

  • Use both Skype and Teams interchangeably
  • Benefit from having a private network with quality of service to deliver reliable voice and video
  • Rely on a significantly better SLA than Office 365 can currently promise
  • Take advantage of much more cost-effective calls and lines

Adopting a “hybrid” platform that’s delivered from Office 365 and our ICON platform also means that customers will be able to implement contact centre and other third-party products and consume them as part of their service.

That’s a win for our customers, a win for Maintel, and a win for Microsoft.