Microsoft Teams coexistence modes – get the journey right.

As more and more organisations are now beginning to either pilot, or fully adapt Microsoft Teams, i often get questions like, where do we begin and whats the best migration path from SKYPE for Business

Answers are never the same, because it depends on the individual org’s current situation combined with the plans and requirements for Teams, but there are some basic methods that apply to all.

Luckily there are tons of great resources out there to help you plan and execute the pilot and/or the migration.

Please note this article has emphasis on the SFB > Teams coexistence, where Teams is so much more than just meetings, chat, presence and Telephony – so most likely this will be on bit in a more complex – collaboration in general – project
Also the migration itself is only a tiny portion of a Microsoft Teams project, the adaptation in the org as well as the integration into existing business processes is also key to success.

But let me move one step further into the migration itself.

Things to consider:

1. How are you using Skype for Business today – and did the initial requirements change that was evaluated when SKYPE or LYNC was introduced ?

2. Which end result do you expect and aim for, and which business needs will you meet ?

3. Who are your stakeholders and ambassadors for the project  and who shall pilot (if any) ?

4. Are there any technical implications ? (like PSTN availability)

5. Which path does the above choices point to, and does it fit your “optimal” path ?

The number one resource for help and information you find here:

Here you will find tons of helpful information, as well as ready to use resources, like Email templates, scoping templates, user profiling guidance etc
All nicely packaged into one zip file:

When planning your path in my point of view, one of the most important steps is understanding and thus deciding on the correct coexistence mode for your org.

Her are the 5 modes in overview.

Routing Behavior
Meeting Scheduling
Client Experience
Incoming VOIP calls and chats land in same client as originator, except if recipient is federated and in islands mode, in which case they land in SfB.1
End users can initiate calls and chats from either client, and can schedule meetings from either client.
Incoming calls and chats are routed to Skype for Business
Skype for Business only
End users can initiate calls and chats from Skype for Business only, and only schedule Skype for Business meetings. (NOT YET ENFORCED)
Incoming calls and chats are routed to Skype for Business
Skype for Business only
End users can initiate calls and chats from Skype for Business only, and only schedule Skype for Business meetings. They can also use Channels in Teams. (NOT YET ENFORCED)
Incoming calls and chats are routed to Skype for Business
Teams only
End users can initiate calls and chats from Skype for Business only and only schedule Teams meetings. They can participate in Teams channel conversations. (NOT YET ENFORCED)
Incoming calls and chats are routed to Teams
Teams only
End users can initiate calls and chats from Teams only. Skype for Business is only available to join meetings.
As annouced last year new tenants are now defaulting to Teams Only – but if your tenant is created before Nov. 18. 2018 (like most other) your users are now in “Islands Mode”
However I see Islands modes as a bit confusing for your users – they simply will have a hard time working out what goes where – and that is NOT a great start for a pilot or migration.

In this mode there isn’t really any connection between Skype and Teams, they are two independent systems. If you send a message from Skype it would end up in Skype, if you send a message from Teams it ends up in teams.

So basically you now have to chat clients, and to make matters worse if you have federated contacts their messages will end up in the main client for federated chat – meaning SFB if your’e in Islands.
Here is a graphic view of Islands mode (no seriously)
So the first recommendation would be – select and move to the “ONLY” mode that best fits your organisation.
Also important to note, when in Teams Only, federated messages will end up in your Teams client, but in the background they will actually be routed by SFB.

When you start moving users out of islands mode it’s will get confusing unless you move everyone out. If user one is in Teams only, and user two is in Islands, then user 2 sends a Skype message to user 1, he will receive it in Teams, but if user one then sends a message back, user 2 will receive it in Teams. This behavior will be frustrating and confusing for users, and will not make help to make the pilot a success

So what is the best way to avoid these caveats – well when you have decided on the Pilot – first thing is to move EVERYBODY to Skype for Business with Teams collaboration mode– so this needs to be done on tenant level.
Then setting the pilot users to Teams Only – thus leveraging the interoperability features between the two platforms.
Meaning no chat in Teams – if users want that, they can opt in on the pilot 🙂
So what about the other features.
Calls are handled like the chat messages, so they will follow the above policy.
Meetings are basically still coexisting – the modes basically only affects the ability to schedule meetings from Outlook – meaning you can join both types of meetings – even when in “Teams only” mode, you will still have a mini SFB client in your Office to join SFB Meetings hosted by a colleague or an external part.
Also lastly please note that there is or at least was another mode called “Legacy Mode” where , if you where to message a colleague from your Teams client, and this colleague not yet has had his Teams client opened, message would get rerouted to SFB – this will no longer be the case, this mode has deprecated – which is good because it was kinda messed up.

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