I look away for one minute and Microsoft changes out the entire Skype Operations Framework.
Now the SkypeOperationsFramework.com URL forwards to: https://fasttrack.microsoft.com/microsoft365/capabilities?view=voice
Go ahead, click it. See for yourself. (But do come backâ€”we have more to discuss!)
In light of the coming transition from Skype for Business to Teams, it seems Microsoft has begun to phase the SOF content into a new format. Unfortunately, we’re at early stages right now. Finding things is a little confusing.
I went through the MyAdvisor pages. Here’s what I could dig up. Hopefully it helps you out as we continue the transition.
Current URLs for MyAdvisor/Skype Operations Framework Content
If you arrive at FastTrack via the old SkypeOperationsFramework.com URL, you’re plopped right in the middle of FastTrack. You’ll need another click to reach MyAdvisor.
This is where SOF users should go first. MyAdvisor focuses on Cloud Voice for Teams and Skype for Business (for now). It contains deployment scenarios, feature guidance, a training library, partner references, and the Network Planner. Like SOF, it personalizes deployment guidance based on your input.
The old “Get Started” SOF page does still exist, partially, within MyAdvisor. You can even reach the “Get Deployed” and “Cloud Migration” Customer Journeys:
Get Deployed Customer Journey
Cloud Migration Customer Journey
However, the only way to reach these pages is through the old SOF links. They do not appear linked on current FastTrack pages. (You’ll find more of said links in my last SOF post.)
If you’re involved in either of these journeys now, save all the information you need from these pages! I suspect they will vanish soon.
Now, a few Teams links.
SuccessWithTeams.com now forwards to Microsoft Teams Documentation and Practical Guidance. As you’d expect from the title, the new page has documentation and guidance on Teams, including the transition from Skype for Business.
They’ve also made it harder to download the Teams client! You can still reach the download from FastTrack, but it’s several clicks down. Save yourself the time and go straight to https://teams.microsoft.com/downloads.
Finally, we have a new FastTrack page: Get Started on Your Microsoft Teams Journey. A transitional resource, built solely to help those moving from Skype for Business to Teams.
Evolving Guidance & Training Resources – Is Bigger Better?
The whole thing looks like a glorious mess, doesn’t it? Some instructional material does remain the same; I’ll clarify what in a moment. As well as what’s murky or missing (as best I can tell).
But first, let me elaborate on something. FastTrack has existed for a while now. (See this 2016 article: Microsoft FastTrack: Partner Friend or Foe?)
Microsoft decided that it should consume the SOF. Two big resources melding into one. FastTrack and SOF are “evolved” up to Microsoft 365/Azure/Dynamics 365 in the process. Which IS in keeping with Microsoft’s cloud-first, service-based approach.
Unfortunately, we’ve seen what happens when you do thisâ€¦the result can end up a labyrinthine, hard-to-navigate swamp. The Teams transition intrigues me. This part of it makes me wary though.
What’s the Same – Training Material, References, Cloud-First Direction
The style may have changed, but most of the substance is still there. With the FastTrack MyAdvisor (and FastTrack in general) you can expect:
- Lots of resources for training & reference
- Guiding paths for onboarding and supporting new users
- Angling you toward specific products – before, it was the cloud or hybrid versions of Skype for Business. Now it’s the cloud-first Microsoft 365, Azure, or Dynamics 365.
- Partner match-up. I do like that it takes advantage of the new Partner Center.
In the same vein, we see a greater emphasis on Teams. More documentation now is great for admins and power usersâ€¦it calls back to the Skype Operations Framework’s original purpose. Still, the shift produced some major changes.
What’s Different Now – Cloud Emphasis Stronger, Hybrid Disappearing
Obviously, the biggest difference is that FastTrack does not focus solely on Skype for Business. MyAdvisor does centralize on “Cloud Voice” (adding Voice and Conferencing to Teams). However, I find this line from the first FAQ question a little off-base:
“The Skype Operations Framework (SOF) provided guidance to help customers and partners roll out and operate Cloud Voice capabilities. This framework has now evolved into Practical Guidance for Cloud Voice as part of FastTrack.”
The SOF did much more than talk about Cloud Voice. They had whole pathways mapped out for doing hybrid Skype for Business deployments. Well beyond just the Cloud Voice aspect. I may be splitting hairs, but reframing like this just rubs me the wrong way (and I’ll bet I’m not the only one).
Secondly, FastTrack is focused on MS 365, Azure, and Dynamics 365 (in that order, I’d say). The MyAdvisor page is actually hard to reach organicallyâ€¦you have to do this:
- On the FastTrack homepage, click “Microsoft 365” in the nav bar.
- Scroll down to the “Supported Capabilities” section. Click the “Voice” icon.
- Scroll down on the “FastTrack-supported capabilities” page until you see the blue “MyAdvisor” box.
- Click the box. The MyAdvisor page will (finally) open.
As I said before, we should remember that the whole resource library is in transition. Now that MS plans to move Skype for Business into Teams, and push Microsoft 365 to the front of its sales efforts, the whole FastTrack site will update rapidly. This entire post may end up out-of-date by January!
FastTrack Q&A – Where to Find What
I need documentation on Teams. Where do I look?
Head over here: Microsoft Teams Documentation
I had a SOF certification. What happened to it?
According to MyAdvisor’s FAQs, it’s still intact and valid. Log into FastTrack with the same Microsoft Account credentials, and you should see it.
We heard about Skype for Business becoming Teams. What do we do?
We’re early in the game on that one. Best thing to do now is keep on top of the process. Microsoft just released a roadmap PDF showing the schedule & order of Teams receiving Skype4B features: Roadmap for Skype for Business Capabilities Coming to Microsoft Teams – MS Tech Community
I was following the old Skype Operations Framework for our deployment. We’re in the middle of things. What do I do?
First, talk with your Microsoft rep. They should have some direction to give you.
You can also go to one of these pages (depending on which Customer Journey path you took) and download the available assets:
I cannot guarantee these will remain live, so grab the assets while you can!
We’re looking at deploying Skype for Business Server soon. Will this FastTrack help me?
Yes, from a planning standpoint. Use the MyAdvisor tool to find the most current guidance content. (But check back on it regularly, as this content will change soon!)
Where Will the FastTrack Behemoth Guide Us?
In my Skype Operations Framework 101 post, I said the SOF was a useful roadmap if you were going cloud-only on Skype for Business.
Now that we know Skype for Business will absorb into Teams, this new FastTrack resource feels constricting. “Hybrid” is gone; now we have “side-by-side” Skype4B/Teams configurations that are marked as “steps in the journey.”
I came across a rather funny closing note. Over in the SOF section of SkypeFeedback.com, the latest post says simply, “Waste this App.”
It appears Microsoft is doing just that.
What do you think about the FastTrack absorbing the Skype Operations Framework? Please comment or email me your thoughts.