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What Microsoft means by “Intelligent Communications”

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RICHARD SMITH
 30-May-2018

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Microsoft launched its vision for Intelligent Communications in September 2017 and celebrated the 1st anniversary of Microsoft Teams 6 months later, in March of this year.  This bold vision describes a world beyond that of traditional unified communications to one where Microsoft seeks to enable people to complete tasks more efficiently with minimal context switching, to participate in more productive meetings that cover the entire meeting lifecycle and to help people better manage their everyday communications overload.  

To facilitate this, Microsoft is bringing the real-time communication capabilities of Skype for Business into Teams and delivering a single hub for teamwork which will have built-in, fully integrated voice and video calling as well as ad-hoc and scheduled online meetings. Microsoft is tightly weaving communications into the applications people use to collaborate every day, alongside AI, Microsoft Graph, LinkedIn and other data and cognitive services, and by doing so will enable this vision of "Intelligent Communications".  

Microsoft Teams remains central to this vision by becoming the primary client for intelligent communications and collaboration delivered as a cloud service in Office replacing Skype for Business online and the Skype for Business client. In fact, internally at Microsoft many groups have already made this switch and are using Teams as the primary communications client as you might expect.   

So just how quickly might this happen for the for the rest of us? This really depends on your business needs and the current and pending feature capabilities in Teams. The Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams Capabilities Roadmap provides the latest updates for customers to review and determine if their business needs will be met with a move to Teams now, or if they should wait. For those customers not yet ready to adopt Teams or run in the cloud only, the new Skype for Business Server 2019 is due to be released towards the end of 2018 enabling on-premises deployments to continue.  

For customers that are in the process of moving to Skype for Business Online, the guidance from Microsoft is still to evaluate the roadmap and Teams' current capabilities and if it meets the business need, adjust strategy and move to Teams. If not, continue with Skype for Business Online and consider running Teams independently or in parallel.  

Whatever course of action you take, the underlying need to ensure your ongoing ability to plan, build, deploy, manage and optimize your Unified Communications platforms and architectures remains critical; and that is where Prognosis can help. More than 1000 organizations in over 60 countries—including some of the world’s largest banks, airlines and telecommunication companies, rely on IR Prognosis to provide business critical insights and ensure continuity-critical systems deliver high availability and performance for millions of their customers across the globe. For more information check out our Microsoft (and multi-vendor) offering here.