Well, my last post certainly poked a hornet’s nest, didn’t it?
First things first: I DID oversimplify the comparison. Not intentionally, but that’s what came out. Mea culpa.
I was aiming to do as straightforward a comparison between Skype for Business on-prem and cloud as I could. However, it seems a strict apples-to-apples comparison won’t work.
Skype for Business requires other Microsoft servers to work at full capacity. These servers are already bundled into Office 365…and a few more besides. Microsoft has stacked the proverbial deck away from its on-prem offering. That’s their call, of course. In fairness, it does have benefits for businesses—even enterprises.
So, let’s see what I can do to sharpen my prognostication.
Polishing the Post-2019 Crystal Ball: Enterprise-Level Skype for Business Facts
- Microsoft is merging Skype for Business (Online) into Teams. Expected completion date: End of 2018.
- Skype for Business Server will get a 2019 on-prem version in late 2018/possibly early 2019.
- After 2019, no Skype for Business Server on-prem versions are expected. One more version is possible, according to the rumor mill, but nothing definite.
- In 2020, mainstream support for Skype for Business Server 2015 will expire. Enterprises which haven’t updated to 2019, or moved over to Teams, will need to pay for extended support.
- Using Teams requires a monthly fee for Office 365 subscription, but it eliminates the need for most on-prem server hardware and lowers overall power cost.
- When it comes to IT infrastructure, enterprises are not as nimble as smaller businesses. That’s a statement of their infrastructure’s complexity, not any form of criticism.
It’s therefore reasonable to state that enterprises currently using Skype for Business Server 2015 will, in 2019-2020, have to make a decision about their phone systems and related communications tools.
- Pay for extended support
- Move to Skype for Business Server 2019
- Move to Office 365/Teams
- Move out of the Microsoft ecosystem entirely
All of which involve additional costs.
With all this in mind…IS moving to Teams/Office 365 at enterprise-level really a cost savings over on-prem Skype for Business?
Work in Enterprise IT? I Request Your Feedback.
I’m putting the call out.
Most of our Skype for Business customers, on-prem and through Office 365, are small to mid-market. While we have several enterprise customers, only one runs Skype for Business Server. As such, my sample size is too low for a proper analysis.
That’s where you come in. If you work in Enterprise IT, please share your feedback on these 2 questions:
- Do you work for, or consult for, an enterprise currently using Skype for Business Server (on-prem)?
- If so, could you share approximated numbers on their Skype for Business Server installation and/or maintenance costs?
(Anonymized data, of course. I don’t even want the business name. We shall have no security leaks here!)
Support Skype for Business at a Non-Enterprise Level? I Also Request Your Feedback.
If you don’t work for an enterprise, but still support Skype for Business Server deployment, let me ask you this. What will you do after Skype for Business Server 2019 comes out?
Stick with it as long as you can? Move to Office 365? Hybridize? Switch to another Unified Communications solution?
I’d love to know what plans you have (if any at this time) for avoiding this little quagmire.
I will collect all feedback, including cost numbers given, and tabulate them. Hopefully we get a conclusive result from those numbers:
- Yes, enterprises will save money moving from Skype for Business to Teams
- No, enterprises will spend more money moving from Skype for Business to Teams
Thanks for reading, and for your feedback. Until next time!