Skype for Business sucks! (well not really)

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Alright, I lied, it does not suck, it is a great tool that has helped businesses change their ways of working, to become more flexible and to allow for a more open and productive culture within their organisations. That’s a pretty big winner there, if it actually sucked, then we wouldn’t have deployed 5 million seats of the stuff! It’s great, but it is a perspective thing, right?

I have now been using Teams for just over a year, and I have been involved in real time comms since the days of LCS, so why did I choose that title for the document?

Teams, when it first landed, felt like a part thought out tool, hastily chucked out the door to be able to let Microsoft compete against other products. 1 year on and Teams is now very heavily used within the organisation and within my own team. We are on the Direct Routing TAP and I am using Teams for all my comms, internal and external. I can not only use my Teams to communicate with my colleagues as before, but I also have persistent chat histories for all chats and group chats, files that I share during those chats are all stored in easy to find locations, I even have GIFs available 😉 , but beyond that, I have shared working spaces (with internal and external members) that are all accessible within Teams, whether they are based around SharePoint, Wiki, file sharing, co-authoring , shared OneNote, Planner tools and tasks and so on, this product has made a massive difference to the way I and the rest of the Teams users work.

Telephony is only part of what Unified Communications can do, Unified Communications is only part of what Teams, as a true collaboration product can do. Don’t look at Teams as the next version of Skype for Business, that approach won’t work, you need to look at Teams with a more strategic and transformational head on, especially when you start bringing in Windows 10 and Information Management, etc. to the table.

Teams is really starting to bring many pieces from Office 365 together, along with a good lot of products from outside of Microsoft too. I wasn’t a fan of Teams when it first landed, as I said earlier, it felt half thought out. Now I find myself getting frustrated with colleagues that have not completely made that move to Teams. There are practical reasons why some colleagues are not fully Teams yet, there are still things that need to drop from the roadmap that will complete the picture, but I can’t wait.

This is a really strong toolset and whilst the launch could have been better, the product that sits in front of me now is going to make a big difference to the working world. As always, the key to this is End User Adoption and strategic consulting. I talk to clients every day about Teams, but not from a pure UC or Comms perspective, it is from a much broader view. Even if we need to engage another Consortium member to delve in to advanced SharePoint, Identity Management or PowerBI, I still need to talk about that wider transformational picture.

So, no Skype for Business does not suck, but blimey, Teams is getting really good!!! Exiting times.

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