Common pitfalls to avoid when upgrading from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams

by Charlie Doubek

20 May 2021

Abstract background colourful lines, communication technology concept
The huge and varied functionality of Microsoft Teams makes it an exceptionally busy interface. And as with any Unified Communications (UC) technology change, upgrading from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams brings with it a set of possible pitfalls.

Here are five of the most common challenges and how to navigate them to ensure a seamless deployment.

  • Dealing with non-cooperative carriers
    Whatever your project plan – deploying UCaaS solutions with Microsoft Teams, replacing Skype for Business as your UC client, or moving your integrated voice from Skype for Business into Microsoft Teams – the carrier you use might make mistakes.
    The reality is some carriers are better than others at number porting. Issues could include complicated number routing you might be unaware of or simply straightforward non-cooperation from your carrier.
    Whatever the reason for carrier issues, be sure to work in tandem with project managers who deep UCaaS experience. They’ll know telecommunications trends, understand the delays that can result, and can build that knowledge into the project plan.

    Man typing on computer in colourful data center
    Proper planning is critical to ensuring a smooth transition

  • Lack of understanding of compliance planning
    Strong knowledge of the compliance challenges within an organization is key. It might be tempting to take a ‘big bang’ approach and launch all features in island mode. However, if you don’t do the compliance work you could disrupt users by taking away critical features during deployment.
    The way to avoid this is planning. Not only around Microsoft security, but also around internal compliance teams and company needs. You need to create a clear deployment plan. Up-front understanding of the vision and roadmap is key.

  • Deployment without adoption
    A common mistake is to think Microsoft Teams is just an upgraded version of Skype for Business. Organizations are often keen to deploy Microsoft Teams in full-blown mode and get people using it as soon as possible. But if it’s deployed as an application alone, rather than integrated as a way of working, end users may not adopt it at all.

    Accordingly, change managers can help your business to transform. They map the specific personas of your end users, determine your organization’s terminology and how each community uses Microsoft Teams. That way, everyone receives the right training and communication to facilitate adoption.

    Furthermore, change managers can also provide roadmaps and coaching for sponsors, as well as user guides and tutorial videos. These are all designed to help your employees and prepare your organization to evolve in an increasingly complex context.

  • Building Microsoft Teams as an island
    Legacy technology exists in every organization. The challenge is how to integrate it with Microsoft Teams. For this reason, it’s important to work with experienced solution architects. They’re trained to consider legacy technology, whether that’s Cisco call managers or other PBXs. As a result of designing Microsoft Teams to integrate with your legacy tech, you will keep business as usual on track.

  • Moving before you’re ready
    Yes, Skype for Business is being retired. That said, it doesn’t mean you have to move to Microsoft Teams next week. Take your time to ensure your organization is truly ready for the transformation. And that, as a result, it makes the best use of investments already made. Find ways to integrate your existing hardware. Double-check that all business requirements are met to continue business as usual. Unless you do this, you may find out in the middle of the transition that important APIs are missing.

    If your organization has legacy equipment that needs to be integrated, the best way forward may be a phased approach. To that end, you’ll have both Skype and Teams coexisting for a while. Alternatively, you may prefer a rapid transition to quickly enable a remote workforce or cut costs. Whatever the situation, you’ll need a bulletproof plan before you start.

  • That’s why, together with Microsoft, we offer a range of workshops. These are designed to ensure you get the most out of your Microsoft investment. Accordingly. these cover environmental and workload assessments, persona analysis, and a timeline for successfully upgrading from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams. Find out more about these workshops. Each is designed to help you succeed with your own deployment.
Charlie Doubek

Charlie Doubek

Vice President, Managed Collaboration and Communications, Cloud Communications