Gartner Analyzes Your Microsoft Teams Options

January 16, 2018

It’s always helpful to know the perspective of Gartner when undertaking a major (or even a minor for that matter) technology initiative, and the announcement by Microsoft of its new Teams product is no different. Thankfully, Gartner released this report in November 2017 outlining the top considerations Microsoft Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C) clients should consider in regards to the Teams announcement, as well as potential next steps.

Microsoft announces that Skype for Business will be phased out

During Microsoft’s Ignite 2017 conference back in September the company announced that it would be phasing out Skype for Business Online and meshing the functionality within its Microsoft Teams product. You can read our recent blog regarding this announcement here. The transition will impact end-users of Skype for Business and Teams but we also have to look at those that deploy, maintain and keep the applications running. To that end, Gartner has laid out the impacts and recommendations for the application leaders in a concise chart that I’ve included below:

 

Impact Gartner’s Recommendation
The Skype for Business / Microsoft Teams convergence positions Teams as a multi-purpose “activity hub” for Office 365.
  • Pilot Microsoft Teams with business end users to evaluate its collaboration capabilities in Office 365
  • Develop a communication, onboarding and governance plan for effective use of Microsoft Teams
The converged Skype for Business / Microsoft Teams service brings a different communications user experience, requiring application leaders to minimize disruptions.
  • Plan for a transition from Skype for Business to Teams in the next 2 years
  • If full enterprise voice is required in the near term, look at Skype for Business server or other vendors’ unified communications solutions
Decisions are pending for Skype for Business Server customers, as a new upgrade is announced
  • Install Skype for Business Server 2019 for improvements and lengthen support period to end of 2023. There is no urgency to change
  • Evaluate a dual-client hybrid approach with Teams for workstream collaboration along with Skype for Business Server for enterprise voice

Source: Gartner (November, 2017)

At its core Microsoft Teams has the potential to be somewhat of a panacea for communication and collaboration users. There are still updates pending but should the tool live up to its hype it could fundamentally alter the way information power-users work within organizations.

Originally Teams was developed as a workstream application tool but with the convergence of Skype for Business Online and its ability to use many of the features found in Office 365 (OneNote, Outlook, SharePoint, etc.), Microsoft Teams can now solve business problems including: messaging, voice, meeting solutions, content collaboration and overall communication and collaboration between individuals in real-time. This potentially means no more searching for lost emails to determine what the context of a document is about, no longer scrolling back through calendars to remember who was involved in a certain project, and no more duplicate content housed in multiple repositories – ie the desktop, SharePoint, etc.

However, as with any new technologies there will be challenges in terms of end-user acceptance (changing the way you work), potential technical or firewall issues depending on how your domestic and global teams are configured, and how to transition into the new workspace within existing communication and collaboration projects.

You can view Gartner’s full analysis here and we look forward to seeing what Microsoft Teams brings to all of our communication and collaboration needs in 2018.

 

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