Microsoft is investing and focusing on Teams for the Collaboration platform, Skype for Business have become volatile. We can see every day new features and enhancements are coming on the way for Microsoft Teams. Moreover, Microsoft have provided all the requirements and materials available for transition from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams. This makes much simpler for any customers to completely move to teams only mode.

On a comparison of the road map improvements in Microsoft Teams the features have been enhanced and loads of new functionalities are being added very often. Currently the default configuration of all the tenants will be on Island mode which will make the users to communicate on both Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business. This might create more confusion for the end users to choose which platform to communicate for their daily activities since they are provided with couple of options.

This article focusses readiness on environment before we completely migrate to teams only mode.

Skype for Business Interop Mode Removed:

Earlier 6 months ago we had the Skype for Business Interop mode which helped the team’s users to communicate with Skype for business users. This will show teams chats in skype for business for users who don’t have teams. But this option has been removed and we have teams only mode added in the coexistence mode.

As of now there are 3 options available for all office 365 tenants:

When we run the command Get-CsTeamsUpgradePolicy we will get additional options.

While coming to talk about transition mode only below 3 options are feasible for most of the organizations.

Islands Mode:

As the name indicates this is a big sign of warning. Island mode is an indication of a temporary place where we can stay only for some time and not denoted to settle down for a long period. With this mode the User experience are completely different. There is no interconnection between Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams and they both work as an independent system.

Only below workflow in Island Mode:

Teams Communication – Teams Communication

Skype Communication – Skype Communication

Teams Only Mode:

In this mode we are enforcing all the users to use only Microsoft Teams. Meaning no users will be able to login to Skype for business even if they have the client system installed on their PC from their office 365 pro plus package. However, users present in Skype for Business only mode will be still able to reach teams only mode users and teams only mode users can reply to Skype users. However, we need to note that a new conversation chat cannot be initiated from a Teams only mode user to an Island or Skype for Business only user’s mode.

Only below workflow in Teams only Mode:

SFB Users Sends to Teams User – Message will be received in teams.

Teams Users responds to SFB User – Message will be received in teams only for the SFB user.

Teams User Tries to establish a new Chat with SFB user – Will not be successful

Also, we need to note that only limited functionalities will be working between team’s user and SFB user communication in this mode. For instance, a remote desktop cannot be shared by an SFB user who is on Teams and in Teams only mode.

Skype only Mode:

Only Skype Client no matter from where the IM is initiated.

Note: In any modes as of now the Meetings will be accessible in the cross platforms.

Be ready for this change target pilot users first:

Before we make this transition it’s very important to understand the current usage model of collaboration platform by end users. For instance, a Marketing head might be more comfortable with Skype for Business and never had a chance to explore Microsoft Teams. There might be a heavy dependency on Enterprise Voice Integration with Skype for Business which needs to be considered before making this change. It’s always better to choose few pilot users  

If we are planning for Teams Transition its better to slowly move users to teams only mode based on current user dependency on Skype for Business. Its better to identify few pilot users in each department and slowly transition them to Microsoft Teams only Mode.

After identifying the capable team leaders in every department better to switch them to teams only mode.

Below action needs to be verified:

1.Verify if you have Skype online connector module installed.

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Get-Module -ListAvailable | Where-Object {$_.Name -eq "SkypeOnlineConnector"}

If you do not have them then Download and install the Skype online connector.

2. Connect to Skype online connector

Import Skype Online Connector

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Import-Module SkypeOnlineConnector
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$session = New-CsOnlineSession
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Import-PSSession $session

3. Collect the current list of users in Island mode.

By Default, We will have all the user in Island mode. However, it is better to collect the list and prepare the users for teams only mode in phases.

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Get-CsonlineUser | Select-Object Displayname,  UserPrincipalname,Department,Company,Office,TeamsUpgradeEffectiveMode,TeamsUpgradeNotificationsEnabled,TeamsUpgradePolicyIsReadOnly,TeamsUpgradePolicy | Export-Csv C:\Temp\IslandMode

4. Collect the pilot users and enable them on Teams only mode . Have a CSV file with  only userprincipalname.

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$Teams= Import-csv C:\temp\Teamsonlypilot.csv |%{$_.userprincipalname}
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$Teams | % {Get-CsonlineUser -Identity $("$_")} | fl Displayname,TeamsUpgradeEffectiveMode,TeamsUpgradeNotificationsEnabled,TeamsUpgradePolicyIsReadOnly,TeamsUpgradePolicy
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$Teams | % {Grant-CsTeamsUpgradePolicy -PolicyName UpgradeToTeams -Identity $("$_")}

Once after updating the users we will get the below confirmation stating that they will be only on Teams and can no longer be able to use Skype for Business.

We can also switch to one user by following option from the GUI

Or by the one line command

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Grant-CsTeamsUpgradePolicy -PolicyName UpgradeToTeams -Identity username@domain.com

5. Notify Users about Teams Upgrade is available to them

We can enable this option to end users couple of days before upgrading

6. Restrict Teams Event live Policies

By default Teams has a Global policy for live events, which affects to all users in the organization and this needs to be restricted.

Create a new policy that doesn’t allow to create Live Events and assign the policy to all users.

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New-CSTeamsMeetingBroadcastPolicy -Identity DisabledBroadcastSchedulingPolicy
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Set-CsTeamsMeetingBroadcastPolicy -Identity DisabledBroadcastSchedulingPolicy -AllowBroadcastScheduling $false
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Grant-CsTeamsMeetingBroadcastPolicy -Identity {user} -PolicyName DisabledBroadcastSchedulingPolicy -Verbose

7. Push and install the Teams desktop Client for the targeted users.

By default the teams is not included in the Pro plus package as of now. Microsoft have recently announced that Teams will be added in ProPlus package in future roadmap as per this Article.

Until we get this as a bundle we have

Download the Teams app in the Background.

This option will only download the teams app in the background for users in Teams only mode.

However it does not install the app and we need to perform some action of installing them to all users PC via group policy or SCCM. There is one amazing article written by Paul Cunningham for pushing them via GPO.

Important Notes:

  1. Before making these changes educate the L1 support team to address end user queries.
  2. We can make use of the Microsoft Teams Customer adoption success kit
  3. If there is any PSTN integration with Skype for Business Online, then these factors needs to be planned before phasing out Skype for Business Online until they are transferred completely to Microsoft Teams.