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

Here are the facts we’re dealing with right now.Dog with glasses

  1. Microsoft is merging Skype for Business (Online) into Teams. Expected completion date: End of 2018.
  2. Skype for Business Server will get a 2019 on-prem version in late 2018/possibly early 2019.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

  1. Pay for extended support
  2. Move to Skype for Business Server 2019
  3. Move to Office 365/Teams
  4. 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:

  1. Do you work for, or consult for, an enterprise currently using Skype for Business Server (on-prem)?
  2. 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!)

Dog ears
I’m all ears!
Photo by Claudie-Ann Tremblay-cantin on Unsplash

Comments are welcome. If you’d prefer to email me, here’s the address. Or message me on Twitter at @PlanetMagpieIT.

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!

The Call Goes Out – Enterprise Skype for Business Admins, Sound Off on On-Prem Costs!

One thought on “The Call Goes Out – Enterprise Skype for Business Admins, Sound Off on On-Prem Costs!

  • June 1, 2018 at 5:16 am

    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?

    purchasing and management handle costs so I’m not sure, but I did want to mention an inherent problem with server in a larger distributed network, and that’s enterprise security policies. every time a new AV agent gets pushed out or a new service agent goes out, you find yourself troubleshooting a degraded system. this has a feedback loop effect on lab testing and future design so it’s easy to find yourself behind the 8 ball and spinning your wheels on maintaining whatever is in production indefinitely.

    and if the only latency-sensitive app your company uses is SFB, it makes all the exception requests look like you don’t know what you’re doing, and when dealing with distributed sites you couldn’t even begin to ask for a dedicated voice network even if cost wouldn’t be a concern.

    the reality is, enterprise security teams/policies will end up pushing many companies to “as a service” solutions not due to any inherent cloudy advantages but simply because it’s the cheapest way to shadow IT any latency-sensitive applications out of a dynamic security agent network.

    if it costs more than on-prem in this scenario your choice is to run operationally degraded for less money or convert to a service and run optimally for more money (including 3rd party solutions). so long as the “quality bad, plz fix” tickets come to me, I’m going to hang my hat on any non-degraded option.


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