Interoperability is now simplified in Microsoft Teams & Skype for Business Admin Centre…

It keeps getting better!!! I blogged about the recent Inter-op Policy experience recently and now we have the full visibility of the scenario. Microsoft has now added the new configuration options to Microsoft Teams & Skype for Business Admin Centre (Modern Portal) which provides the most simplified way of administering inter-op between existing SfB client and Teams client.

There can be some settings still not migrated to new portal for some tenants but if you see below banner on any settings section on the Tenant settings, it means those settings have been migrated already.

Admin c

Important : see the dates below provided by Microsoft for admins to plan the changes accordingly. Note the PowerShell based configuration is deprecated after September 2018.

Managing Interop and Migration Modern Portal PowerShell
Until September 2018 (dates subject to change) Use TeamsUpgradePolicy Use both TeamsUpgradePolicy and TeamsInteropPolicy
Post September 2018 (dates subject to change) Use TeamsUpgradePolicy Use TeamsUpgradePolicy only; TeamsInteropPolicy deprecated

The new TeamsUpgradePolicy settings can be configured in Org level as well as user level.

Org settings/options


User level settings/options

  1. Islands 

In this example, I’ve configured my user account to use “Islands” option and also switched on the setting to notify the changes to SfB signed in user. Notice the new banner message on SfB client;


User still can use both applications but SfB client receives the message about the upgrade option and provides direct option to switch to Teams client if installed on the same computer.

2. Skype for Business only

Obviously, this option means everything stays as it is on the Skype side.

3. Teams only

This mode is the ultimate end of the migration process with SfB client should not be used for any reason. If the users trying to sign in to SfB client, the sign-in process still progressed but the client interface gets masked like below;


Below is an section extracted from the Microsoft official documentation which explains the conditions and scenario based differences…very well written…why not read?

Fundamental concepts

  1. Interop : 1 to 1 communication between a Lync/Skype for Business user and a Teams user.

  2. Federation : Communication between users from different tenants.
  3. All Teams users have an underlying Skype for Business account that is “homed” either online or on-premises:
    • Users already using Skype for Business Online use their existing online account.
    • Users already using Skype for Business/Lync on-premises use their existing on-premises account.
    • Users for whom we cannot detect an existing Skype for Business account will have a Skype for Business Online account automatically provisioned when the Teams user is created. No Skype for Business license is required.
  4. If you have an on-premises deployment of either Skype for Business or Lync, and you want those users to be Teams users, you must at a minimum ensure that Azure AD Connect is syncing the msRTCSIP-DeploymentLocator attribute into AAD, so that Teams/Skype for Business Online properly detects your on-premises environment. Furthermore, to move any users to Teams-only mode (i.e., upgrade a user), you must configure Skype for Business hybrid mode.
  5. Interop between Teams and Skype for Business users is only possible if the Teams user is homed online in Skype for Business. The Skype for Business user can be homed either on-premises (and requires configuring Skype for Business Hybrid) or online. Users who are homed in Skype for Business on-premises can use Teams in Islands mode (defined later in this doc), but they cannot use Teams to interop or federate with other users who are using Skype for Business.
  6. To upgrade a user to Teams (i.e., grant them TeamsUpgradePolicy with Mode=TeamsOnly), the user must be homed online in Skype for Business. This is required to ensure interop, federation, and full administration of the Teams user. To upgrade users who are homed on-premises, use Move-CsUser from the on-premises admin tools to first move the user to Skype for Business Online. Then grant TeamsUpgradePolicy and TeamsInteropPolicy to the online user or use Modern Portal to assign TeamsOnly mode.
  7. The core policies for managing upgrade and interop are TeamsUpgradePolicy and TeamsInteropPolicy. However, TeamsInteropPolicy is in the process of being retired and all functionality will be superseded by TeamsUpgradePolicy. Until the transition is complete, customers must set both TeamsUpgradePolicy and TeamsInteropPolicy consistently (as described later in this document) to ensure proper functioning, or use the new Modern Portal, which does this automatically.
  8. To use Teams Phone System features, users must be in TeamsOnly mode (i.e., homed in Skype for Business Online and upgraded to Teams), and they must either be configured for Microsoft Phone System Direct Routing (which allows you to use Phone System with your own SIP trunks and SBC) or have an Office 365 Calling Plan. Direct Routing is generally available as of June 28, 2018.
  9. Scheduling Teams meetings with Audio Conferencing (dial-in or dial-out via PSTN) is currently available only for users who are homed in Skype for Business Online. Support for Teams users with an on-premises Skype for Business account is planned.
  10. Message routing for organizations that have not yet been enabled for Unified Presence Service (UPS) does not honor either TeamsInteropPolicy (ChatDefaultClient) or TeamsUpgradePolicy (Mode). As UPS rollout completes over the next few weeks, TeamsInteropPolicy or TeamsUpgradePolicy will be honored. Eventually only TeamsUpgradePolicy will be honored.

This post is just a glimpse of  the client side behaviour that we can anticipate only. I hope to discuss more on the coexistence and managing the adoption in the future posts….

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