Microsoft Teams

Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams Auto-Upgrades: FAQ

Learn about Microsoft's transition from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams, including insights into the automatic upgrade process, user experiences, and steps for businesses not ready to switch.
Dominic Kent
Dominic Kent is a content marketer specializing in unified communications and contact centers.
Upgrade Skype to Microsoft Teams

In November 2018, Microsoft announced they are ready to upgrade Skype for Business Online users to Microsoft Teams.

Some small business users are being alerted to the automatic upgrade notification on their Skype for Business tenant.

The message simply suggests that your upgrade of Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams has been scheduled.

Which is great for users that want to - and are ready to - upgrade Skype to Teams. But, what can you do if you're not ready?

Upgrade Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams

It's a simple idea. But, one that requires some planning and potentially some assistance.

We published an article about upgrading to Microsoft Teams when you have Slack users.

The assumption here was that you were ready to. Microsoft is fast-tracking Teams adoption and small businesses are looking for a different kind of help.

Bob Manjoney, a frequent contributor to the Microsoft community, says his organization is absolutely not ready to upgrade Skype to Microsoft Teams.

"How can I prevent this upgrade from taking place, and keep my org in Skype-only mode?"

Since his post, he has been able to defer the upgrade but not totally opt-out.

Upgrade Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams

Paul Taylor, an independent IT professional recently shared his experience of being auto-upgraded from Skype to Teams too.

His full story is shared here and we've included some highlights below.

  • April 9th: admin alerted that Microsoft Teams upgrade is scheduled for May 10th
  • May 3rd: users alerted that Microsoft Teams upgrade is scheduled for May 10th
  • Skype for Business (desktop and mobile) shows a banner warning about the imminent upgrade - Paul notes that this isn't customizable
  • May 10th: Skype to Teams auto upgrade does not go ahead
  • 13th May: Microsoft Teams upgrade completes
Microsoft Teams upgrade
  • May 23rd: welcome notification received
Welcome to Microsoft Teams

As we've noted before, the auto-upgrade process is currently only being rolled out to Microsoft customers with no or minimal usage.

Experiences like Paul's suggest that we are still at an experimental stage.

As Paul notes in his blog, this would not be acceptable for a larger business, or even small ones with regular usage.

Why upgrade Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams?

There are many features and benefits to Microsoft Teams.

Upgrading Skype for Business to its superior self is a natural step for progressive companies wanting to make the transition to persistent chat and team working.

Microsoft outlines its key features for new users as the following:

  • Teams - Find channels to belong to or create your own. Inside channels, you can hold ad-hoc meetings, have conversations, and share files.
  • Meetings - See your entire schedule or schedule a new meeting. This calendar syncs with your Outlook calendar.
  • Calls - In some cases, if your organization has it set up, you can call anyone from Teams, even if they’re not using Teams.
  • Activity - Catch up on all your unread messages, @mentions, replies, and more.
  • Commands - Use the command box at the top to search for specific items or people, take quick actions, and launch apps.

Whilst features like calling and meetings are the bread and butter of Skype for Business, the transition to Microsoft Teams opens the door a new way of team working.

Initially introduced by Slack, Microsoft Teams now empowers businesses of all sizes to collaborate more effectively without having to leave their Office 365 stack.

Of course, for some users, this auto upgrade is too late.

The recognition of Slack's success has led to Skype for Business users using Skype for communications and Slack or another Slack-type app for collaboration.

Will everyone have to upgrade Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams?

Speaking in a podcast for UC Today, Tom Arbuthnot, Microsoft Certified Master and MVP, and Patrick Watson, UC Journalist, discussed this move as a possible sample for Microsoft.

"Microsoft's broad goal is to get users off Skype for Business and onto Microsoft Teams."

Businesses with fewer users - and simpler setups - often make good test cases.

Tom went on to suggest that just because Microsoft has started to issue these short notice automatic upgrades doesn't mean large organizations need to fear for their tenants.

Customers using Skype for Business with large amounts of video interoperability or federation access are unlikely to be auto-scheduled.

Steven Collier - a Microsoft MVP - posted on the Microsoft forum, "my understanding is that the Teams Product Group has been selecting tenants carefully based on a number of measures as there shouldn't be any blockers left for them to upgrade to Teams. Anyone using features that aren't fully deployed yet isn't being selected."

Users are reporting they are unsure which tenant their upgrade notification refers to.

With the email arriving from Microsoft under the pseudonym "Plan For Change", it's possible that some businesses are unaware they have been automatically scheduled.

A quick scan of your inbox will be handy if you currently use Skype for Business Online.

Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business are now interoperable

What do to if your auto-upgrade has been scheduled?

Microsoft hasn't communicated a formal process to opt-out.

They have published a list of contact numbers to reach out to for support.

The suggestion in the Microsoft community is to speak to your Microsoft partner or contact them directly if you are not ready to upgrade.

Auto-upgrades should not be viewed as negative.

Your business may not be ready immediately. But, some businesses need that boost to get them on the right path.

Adopting new technology needs a guiding light and Microsoft are providing just that.

Learn more at  

Posted in:
Related stories
Collaboration Leaders
Managing Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 Coexistence: A Discussion with Jorge Arias and Tom Hadfield
Industry News
Mio enables cross-platform collaboration through partnership with Google Workspace and SADA
Unified Communications
Long-term Coexistence: Bridging Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 for Sustainable Collaboration

Get the latest news from Mio in your inbox.

Join over 4,000 people who get collaboration tips once a month.