ChannelVision Magazine

Core Communications  Yes, it’s true, Microsoft has done it again. Just when customers and partners are settled in and “getting it,” the mother- ship reminds us who’s boss and of the importance of remaining nimble. It reminds me of the moral of the story in the book, “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Dr. Spencer Johnson. If you have ever faced an un- solicited change in professional direction, the book was likely recommended to you by a friend, colleague or maybe a stranger in the grocery store checkout who could tell the produce section is not your normal venue at 10 a.m. on a random Tuesday. This book may well be, or should be, on the nightstand of thousands of telecom and IT folks who find themselves caught in the crosshairs of a massive corporate merger. It’s difficult to open a browser, or even a newspaper (remember those), without be- ing greeted by yet another merger, promis- ing to wreak havoc on the workforce.  As for the moral of the story, we are taught to never get too comfortable in our professional engagements. Ultimately, someone will “move your cheese.” Why cheese? Did I fail to mention the main characters are sneaker-wearing mice? When your engrained daily routine of heading to the office is disrupted, or your favorite corner is suddenly devoid of cheese, you will be forced to find a new source of sustenance.  In this case, that someone is Microsoft. That’s not to say the decision to migrate from Skype for Business Online to Teams is not a great corporate move, and possibly a massive productivity enhancement. Re- member, we faced a similar head-scratch- ing moment a few short years ago when we learned the enterprise darling, Lync, would henceforth be known as Skype for Busi- ness. (Just don’t call it Skype!)  It just means it’s time to pivot and learn how to make the latest and greatest some- thing that your customer can’t live without.  By now, you may know I’m a “Skype- guy.” So, when I heard Skype for Busi- ness Online would be no more, it felt as though I had been stripped of part of my identity. Since, anything short of one of those acts of God that are referenced in every service contract you have ever signed, we would soon find ourselves staring at a new user interface on our lap- tops, emblazoned with the name “Teams” across the top. Where did that leave me? Or you, if you have also been drinking the Skype for Business Kool-Aid?  All of this aside, where are we with this transition and where are we going? Microsoft is often criticized for its new product releases, with the great fanfare and fireworks, but with the functionality lagging behind just a bit. To quell this, they have released a widely referenced roadmap (Google, or maybe you better Bing, Microsoft Teams Roadmap PDF) for the planned transition from Skype for Business to Teams within Office 365. There are a few highlights I would like point out, which are of the utmost impor- tance to those of us in the communica- tions and IT space. By Greg Plum TeamsWork J udging by Microsoft’s announcement that (gasp!) Skype for Business Online would be replaced with Teams, it seems appropriate that this is our last installment in our Skype for Business series. But not so fast. Fourth, and final, in a series on partner opportunities in leveraging Skype for Business, this installment exploresMicrosoft’s plans to transition Skype for Business Online toTeams. Channel Vision | January - February, 2018 42