[UPDATE] Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams Capabilities Roadmap on 31/07/2018

At Inspire 2018, Microsoft announced that Microsoft Teams capabilities at parity with Skype for Business Online and subsequently revealed the updated roadmap slides as below;

Rm1

  • Unified presence is only working between SFBO and Teams. SfB on-prem is still disconnected experience.
  •  Guest access for external users, now you can invite any person with an email address.

Rm2

  • A Teams native Whiteboard is still missing, use 3rd party whiteboard apps for now.
  • VTC interop is still in 3rd party vendors’ space with some strict limitations.

Rm3

  • Current certified SIP phones are now fully supported but if you are planning on new phones it is advisable to wait for native Teams phones to be announced next year.

Next update will be in Q4, stay tuned…

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

5

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;

7

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;

8

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….

Australians enjoy the “freedom of telephony” in Microsoft Teams and SFBO…No wires attached…

I wrote a post before about the upcoming changes in Australian O365 space and now Telstra has announced the General Availability of Telstra Calling for Office 365 (TCO365) which means its ready to buy in the Telstra Apps Marketplace.

Telstra Calling for Office 365

Telstra announced the service in March 2018 with a handful of customers being part of its limited Early Adopter Program (EAP).

Why Microsoft is partnering with Telstra?

Microsoft has been providing PSTN calling in Office 365, in ten countries, for quite some time, but Telstra Calling for Office 365 is a world first. Undoubtedly, Telstra has the best infrastructure connecting Australian households, businesses and services, and Microsoft, on the other hand, hosts highly reliable cloud services within Australia using local datacentres.

Bringing Telstra’s leading voice capabilities to Microsoft’s world class collaboration platforms such as Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams has presented a greater deal to Australian customers, including some extra benefits such as:

  • The ability to continue using current, negotiated calling rates with Telstra under existing contracts
  • Three calling plans to choose from instead of typical Domestic and International calling plans offered in other countries
  • Unlimited calling minutes instead of capped per user calling minutes offered in other countries
  • Highly competitive pricing plan
  • Customer experience packages included

How does Telstra Calling for Office 365 complete the unified communication and collaboration stack?

Telstra Calling for Office 365 stack

Up un until now, unified communication and collaboration has been a non-integrated mix of vendors, platforms and technologies which worked well within its own boundaries. But despite the cutting-edge technology, it introduced limitations and complexities which fundamentally defeated the unification purpose. This included:

  • Multiple collaboration tools not integrating with each other
  • Technologies restricted to the desk
  • Restricted working hours
  • Disconnected meeting experiences
  • Poor document editing tools
  • Fragmented document storage
  • Uncoordinated security landscape
  • Restricted or limited external communication
  • Scaling barriers
  • Hard to use audio/video conferencing tools
  • Lack of user adoption due to frustration

In Australia, Microsoft Office 365 has managed to level out these odds and empower businesses and individuals by providing a true collaborative platform featuring:

  • Work from anywhere flexibility
  • Same user experience across familiar tools
  • Centralised cloud-based storage with better control and visibility
  • Collaborative document editing
  • Easy online meetings
  • Built-in audio/video conferencing
  • End-to-end security and control capabilities
  • High user adoption and support
  • Well documented product information and self-service portals

While all of the above ‘goodness’ was offered, many customers were really waiting for true cloud telephony in Microsoft Office 365 to complete the solution stack. With Telstra Calling for Office 365 this gap has now been filled.

Telstra Calling for Office 365 is now available to customers, subject to some ground rules as per the official webpage:

  • Telstra Calling for Office 365 is only available in Australia
  • Small and medium sized businesses may not be eligible
  • Internet access is a mandatory requirement
  • Only available for relevant Office 365 Enterprise licences (you can purchase these from Telstra via the Telstra Apps Marketplace)
  • You must have your Microsoft Office 365 tenancy in Australia
  • If you’re with another Microsoft Cloud Service Provider you’ll need to move to Telstra to purchase Telstra Calling for Office 365 (your Account Executive or Telstra Partner can help arrange this)
  • Managed Services are for on-premises equipment. Your Microsoft Office 365 service or related Microsoft licences and features are not included

How to order Telstra Calling for Office 365?

The applications can only be lodged directly via Telstra or selected channel partnersin Australia.

The process is quite straightforward using the DocuSign electronic application method. At a high level the application requires information regarding the current Microsoft Office 365 Tenant, current Telstra customer details, licensing readiness, contact details and importantly existing number ranges and all site information where the service is required.

If the current Microsoft tenancy is NOT with Telstra as the Cloud Services Provider, you will have to follow a process to link the Tenancy to Telstra and transfer licences. 

What about Licensing?

The calling functionality in Microsoft Office 365 is provided by the “Phone System” licensing SKU which can be purchased as an add-on license on E1/E3 plans or as an inclusion with E5. Telstra Calling for Office 365 licensing SKU is only applicable to users who are assigned with a Phone System licence. All licenses can be purchased using the Telstra Apps marketplace.

The costing below is indicative of Enterprise Agreement pricing only. Please reach out to Microsoft account teams to find out your options:

Telstra Calling for Office 365 pricing

An Audio Conferencing Add-on is optional but I highly recommend having to provide complete meeting experience in Skype for Business Online and Microsoft Teams.

What about the numbers?

All existing and new number requests are handled by Channel Partners and Telstra as per the information provided in the customer application form:

  1. Greenfield Numbers – customers can negotiate new number blocks per location/state
  2. Port-in Numbers – port-in existing number ranges from another carrier
  3. Number Migration – migrate numbers from an existing Telstra service

That’s it?

Today, the traditional unified communication and collaboration is in a real shift towards “Intelligent Communications”, together with the new paradigms of Artificial Intelligence, Analytics, Machine learning and Business Intelligence. Microsoft Teams is becoming the “new norm” of intelligent communications going beyond the typical technology demarcations.

The good news is Telstra Calling for Office 365 enables the calling function in Microsoft Teams as well as Skype for Business in its default configuration. Customers can switch between the platforms seamlessly, with the unparalleled advantage of graceful user migration and co-existence.

Enjoy the “freedom of telephony” in Microsoft Teams and SFBO…No wires attached…

Microsoft Teams Calling Application Preference

————————————–Please see the most updated post here-————————————–

I’ve been recently working with a customer to enable PSTN calling for Skype for Business Online for a group of pilot users and realised that the customer had assumed that Microsoft Teams should be automatically function just like the SfB client but it wasn’t the case.

It raised an important flag of importance to follow Microsoft Official Guidelines for transitioning from SFBO to Microsoft Teams with the controller in the hand.

However, the customers who have adopted Microsoft Teams alongside with SFBO should clearly understand the basis of client preference for fully featured calling experience. Technically, if they have both SFBO and Teams enabled and being used, the default user experience would be;

  • SfB client can make and receive PSTN calls
  • Teams client can make PSTN calls but not receiving an incoming call toast
  • It both clients running on the same device, SfB client receives the incoming PSTN calling toast
  • If the SfB client is not signed in but Teams client is running, the incoming call will be forwarded to the Voicemail
  • If the user has clients running on multiple devices (multiple point of presence), any SfB client or App will take the precedence of incoming call

How to change this behaviour?….pretty easy…

Microsoft added Microsoft Teams Inter-op policies last year by introducing some new Power-Shell commands to SFBO command list to control this behaviour during the transition. these policies can control both Chat and Calling Default client behaviour but we are focusing on Calling in our scenario.

The default Global policy is always applied to all users and set as below;

default

Here, CallingDefaultClient : Default is which means SfB client is preferred. (Default always means SfB Client/App)

To override default Global policy, administrator should assign a pre-defined custom policies (Tags) or create a new policy;

interop

we can choose 2 Tags out of 7 in our case as below;

Scenario 1 – if you need to change the Calling Application Preference without user intervention, use below tag which makes the Teams as the preferred client for all Incoming and outgoing PSTN calls.

allowed teams

Command : Grant-CsTeamsInteropPolicy -PolicyName Tag:DisallowOverrideCallingTeamsChatTeams -Identity UserA@fabrikam.com

Scenario 2 – if you need to keep the default configuration but allow users to change the  Calling Application Preference by themselves, use below tag which enables a drop down box listing client options within Teams settings section.

Allowed true

Command : Grant-CsTeamsInteropPolicy -PolicyName Tag:AllowOverrideCallingDefaultChatDefault -Identity UserA@fabrikam.com

Once, this policy is applied users should exit and sign-in to Teams Client to make this effect. (If changes not visible, don’t be panic…its cloud and may take like 10 minutes…try again)

The new options will be displayed as below;

pref call

and test a call…you must see the incoming call toast on Teams client now…

call incoming

This configuration will be added as part of new SfB and Teams Admin console soon…no to Shell then 🙂

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-au/MicrosoftTeams/configuring-teams-calling-quickstartguide

Microsoft Teams & Skype for Business Admin Centre – UPDATE

As per the blog post from last September, Microsoft has been tracking according to the plan and currently transitioning admin centre experience in Tenant level. A note has been added to the https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/manage-teams-skypeforbusiness-admin-center

notice

Here is the summary of the features being added to the new Admin centre;

  • Microsoft Teams messaging policy: Create policy for user-level management of the Microsoft Teams client experience for Messaging scenarios.
  • Microsoft Teams interop policy: Configure the interoperability experience between Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams.
  • Microsoft Teams guest messaging settings: Control the messaging capabilities for guest accounts in Microsoft Teams.
  • Federation settings: Manage the federation between tenants for Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business.
  • User management: Assign policies and configure user accounts.
  • Audio conferencing: Configure dial-in numbers and settings for Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams.

It will exciting times when this process is complete and available…fingers crossed…

 

The Australian Version of “Calling Plans” just revealed…

I was privileged to work with Telstra and Microsoft Australia during last 3 months (under NDA) on formulating a strategy for Australian customers to be able to own a phone number for Microsoft Teams or Skype for Business Online as a part of Office 365.

The official launch event held in Sydney on 19/03/2018 at the Telstra customer experience centre https://www.telstra.com.au/business-enterprise/solutions/collaboration-conferencing/cloud-collaboration/telstra-calling-365

Current service enabled countries;

countries

The new service is named as “Telstra Calling for O365 (TCO)” and now in preview with first 35 customers chosen by 7 Australian partners.  Australia is the 11th country being added to the service but quite different from the other 10 countries’ model.

Microsoft solely acts as the PSTN provider in all other cases except the very first partnership model developed for Australia. Telstra, Australia’s premier communications provider will provide the PSTN capabilities directly via Microsoft datacentres in Sydney and Melbourne leaving Microsoft to provide the Office 365 front-end for customers.

The purchasing experience will be slightly different from the global model but the service enabling process is quite similar via same O365 control panel.

There will be 3 calling plans instead of 2 plans elsewhere, below is a glimpse of the new calling plans;

t1

t2

and here are the special conditions to be considered;

t3

I’m helping few preview customers as I write this article and hope to provide further updates during the preview period. Stay tuned…

New Microsoft Teams and Skype admin centre…

As per the last Microsoft Ignite announcement, we will see a new single pane of glass Admin centre for both Skype for Business online and Microsoft Teams.

The current O365 Admin Centre has no Microsoft Teams dedicated admin space other than the settings section.

ad  ad4

ad3

The new admin centre is one more step closer to the overall Teams “look & feel” re-confirming the future of SFBO.

Manage Microsoft Teams and Skype in a single admin experience

Image captured from official blog https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Office-365-Blog/What-s-new-in-Office-365-Administration-Ignite-Edition/ba-p/110337