Ladies and gentlemen, Skype for Business is arriving now!
The April 14th Microsoft Update contains the Skype for Business client. You can download it here: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2889923
With this update, Microsoft gives us the choice of displaying the new Skype for Business 2015 client interface, or continuing on the Lync 2013 UI. Depends on your users – are they quick to adapt? Are they familiar with Skype? If so, you can safely switch them to the new UI.
Otherwise, it might make more sense to keep them on Lync for now.
Switching between interfaces is done through PowerShell. With a few cmdlets you control which client version your users see.
How to Change Between Lync & Skype4B Clients
To change All Users to Skype for Business UI:
Set-CsClientPolicy -Identity Global -EnableSkypeUI $true
To change All Users to Lync 2013 UI:
Set-CsClientPolicy -Identity Global -EnableSkypeUI $false
What if you only want to change the UI for a certain group of users?
It’ll only take 2 extra cmdlets, in the same sphere.
First you create a new client policy by which to identify this group of users. Let’s call them “SkypeTesters”.
The cmdlet will look like this:
New-CsClientPolicy -Identity SkypeTesters -EnableSkypeUI $true
Then you collect users & assign them to this new SkypeTesters policy. You can collect users via department, AD group, etc. I’ll use a Marketing Department for this example.
To collect users: Get-CsUser -LDAPFilter “Department=Marketing”
To grant them the new client policy & enable Skype for Business UI: Grant-CsClientPolicy -PolicyName SkypeTesters
(Of course you can pipe these two cmdlets together & save time. I split them up just for clarity’s sake.)
More instructions on UI switching are available on TechNet: Configure the Client Experience with Skype for Business – TechNet
NOTE:Â According to this page, the Skype for Business Client even works for Lync Server 2010! I didn’t expect that, but it’s a nice surprise. Any 2010 users out there, please consider an update soon. Comment or email if you have questions about it.
What if I use Lync Online?
Not to worry! Lync Online users will still get the Skype for Business UI (though it might take a little longer). You’ll also use PowerShell to switch the interface, but the cmdlets & switches are a little different.
To enable Skype for Business UI for all users, you’d enter this in Remote PowerShell:
Grant-CsClientPolicy â€“PolicyName ClientPolicyEnableSkypeUI
To keep the Lync UI for all users:
Grant-CsClientPolicy â€“PolicyName ClientPolicyDisableSkypeUI
To enable Skype for Business UI for a single user:
Grant-CsClientPolicy â€“PolicyName ClientPolicyEnableSkypeUI -Identity [User’s Name]
Additional switches & details: Switching between the Skype for Business and the Lync client user interfaces – Office 365 Support
Microsoft is phasing the Skype for Business client into use over the next couple months. I didn’t find a specific schedule, but most sources say it should arrive both for Lync Server 2013 and Lync Online/Skype for Business Online users by the end of summer.
There’s one easy way to tell if you’ve received the upgrade (note: this is for Lync Server 2013 users). Do any of your users’ clients report that their taskbar icon changed to Skype’s – but the client still looks like Lync?
Voila, you have the Skype for Business update. Just need to turn on the UI.
New Skype for Business Users: Please send in your thoughts & impressions of the new client! I’d like to hear what my readers think of the changes.
Next week, we’ll talk versioning and upgrade priorities. See you then.