Can Microsoft Teams replace Skype for Business in communication today?

As the modern communication platform, Microsoft Teams shall revolutionize the way employees collaborate. No more in-house IT infrastructure, fully cloud-based, flexible, adjustable and scalable. But is Microsoft Teams ready to be released to your workforce? And what does the use of Teams mean for customer service?

We are aware of the limitations of Skype for Business. And we know which tools can help overcome them in order to use it in customer service. Microsoft Teams provides a completely new set of collaboration and communication tools. Let’s look at the facts and how the two platforms compare in different fields.

Functionality

Most of the Skype for Business Enterprise Voice functionalities are already available in Microsoft Teams. However, some key features for customer service are still missing:

  • APIs for add-ons, e.g. for contact centers
  • Attendant console
  • Call admission control (CAC): regulation of traffic volume for calls, e.g. to ensure a certain level of audio quality.
  • Malicious Call Trace: Tagging malicious calls and having the system track down the caller.

See the full feature comparison on Microsoft Technet.

Deployment

With Skype for Business you have the choice: Run it on premise, in the cloud (Skype for Business Online) or as a hybrid infrastructure. Microsoft Teams is available ‘as a service’ only, running on the Microsoft Azure Cloud. It can be accessed in the browser or installed on the desktop.

The big advantage of Teams is that deployment is fast. Very fast. It comes with the Office 365 plans, needs no infrastructure or installation and thus can be used right away. In the Teams app store, users can easily add additional applications within minutes. They are fully integrated into Teams.

Scalability and service elasticity

Considering the expenses and set up time for Skype for Business on-premise, it is generally commercially only then viable if looking at 50 users or more. Microsoft Teams, by contrast, runs on the Microsoft Azure Cloud and comes with a flexible model. It can be deployed from few user up to large enterprises and adapted rapidly at any time.

Availability and reliability

Reachability and reliability of Skype for Business depends on the configuration of the server. With a PBX (private branch exchange) calls can be routed even during an internet downtime. Backup systems can further ensure service availability. Microsoft has had over 99.97% uptime of their Office 365 services in the last years. How did your internet provider perform? As Microsoft Teams is running in the cloud, a reliable internet connection is crucial. No internet – no call routing or serving customers. If you are running a contact center on Teams in different locations, you can compensate a potential downtime of one location by using another one. Employees can also install Teams on their smartphones and take calls from there.

Integration

With the open APIs of Skype for Business, third party services can easily be connected to the platform, e.g. CRM, ticketing system or active directory. Microsoft Teams currently only offers certain APIs thus having limited options to connect the platform with other software tools. Microsoft has confirmed to distribute further APIs, making it possible to connect more services, e.g. for CRM integration or ticketing systems.

The conclusion and next steps

With the end of support of Skype for Business (on-premise 2025; Online 2021), many companies are uncertain as to how to proceed with their communication strategy. Shall you move to Microsoft Teams today?

The answer strongly depends on your needs and requirements. Luware has multiple customers who use Teams today for communication and customer interaction. Furthermore, the current situation with COVID-19 shows how companies can profit from Microsoft Teams. Microsoft announced a 500% increase for Teams meetings, calling and conferences and a 200% increase in usage on mobile devices since January 31 (announcement on February 5).

We gladly assess your case and support you in using Skype for Business or Microsoft Teams for your communication and customer service.