5 Things to Know about the new Skype for Business Online & Teams Admin Center

April 5th, 2018 Update:  Microsoft has made an official announcement of the new Teams & Skype for Business Admin Center here: Announcing the new Microsoft Teams & Skype for Business Admin Center.

At Ignite 2017 we first learned of Microsoft’s plan to deliver a new Office 365 Admin Center that unifies the management experience for both Teams and Skype for Business Online (SfBO). Since then, many ITPro’s have had questions such as what features will be included, what is the fate of the existing SfBO Admin Center, and when will it be available?

Microsoft recently released more public details on the new Admin Center, including features, roadmap, and a time horizon, in this document : Manage Teams during the transition to the new Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business Admin Center.  This blog post addresses some common questions about the new Admin Center.

1. When will I have Access to the new Teams & Skype for Business Admin Center in my Tenant?

Microsoft is rolling out the first version of this unified Admin Center this month (the article quotes mid-March 2018). Microsoft is rolling it out in stages, so not all tenants will have it immediately, but as the article says, you will be notified when it is ready for your tenant, which should be soon if it is not already available.

2. What will Happen to the Current Skype for Business Online Admin Center?

Status quo in the short term, and you can continue to use it to manage your SfBO tenant. Management features for SfBO will be gradually migrated into the new Admin Center, and at some point, after a set of specific management features are fully migrated, they will be disabled in the legacy SfBO Admin Center. In the short term however, the focus is not on migrating SfBO management features, but rather:

  1. Introducing new Teams capabilities such as the ability to configure the interoperability experience between SfBO and Teams, and,
  2. Migrating most of the existing Teams settings currently in the Office 365 Admin Center under Settings | Services & add-ins as shown below).

The “Manage settings during the migration” section of the Manage Teams during the transition to the new Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business Admin Center document, shows the sections of management features, and what portal to use during this migration. Note that some settings such as Audio Conferencing can be managed in either the legacy SfBO Admin Center or the new Admin Center.

3. What Interoperability Controls with Skype for Business and Teams will I Have in the New Portal?

As stated in the transition document, and in the Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business interoperability document, organizations will be able to manage the interoperability with SfBO primarily in two way:

  • Teams Interop Policies – set policies which govern the following Inter/Op between Teams & SfBO:
    • Default Chat client: can be set to Default, SfB, or Teams
    • Default Calling client: can be set to Default, SfB, or Teams
    • AllowEndUserClientOverride: can be True / False and governs whether users can override the default
  • External Access Settings: will govern user capabilities outside of the organization; these settings will be shared between Teams and SfBO
  • Federation Settings – manage the federation between Teams tenants and Skype for Business tenants

See the Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business interoperability document for supported topologies, limitations, and calling routing behavior scenarios.

You can also take a look at the New-CsTeamsInteropPolicy for all the settings and their meaning.

Note: The Messaging Policy refers to the Teams chat and does not apply to SfBO.

4. What is the Biggest Change I Should Pay Attention Too?

From a Teams perspective one important setting that is migrating from the Office 365 Admin Center Teams App settings (as shown above) into the new Admin Center that will be treated differently is the “Settings by user/license type” which controls user access to Teams.

In it’s current form, the Teams App UI settings is a little deceiving, but what it allowed tenants to do, is to configure Teams capabilities (including turning Teams on/off) for users of different Office 365 license types (e.g. E1 vs E3 licensed users) and Guests.

For example, in the screenshot below, specific Calls and meetings features could be configured for just Guests users (versus licensed users):

When these setting are migrated into the new portal, administrators will be able to set at them at a user level (per-user basis) versus the ‘bulk user type’ in the Office 365 Admin portal today.

However, if you are using the above setting to disable Teams for a specific set of licensed users (e.g. turn off Teams for all E3 licensed users), the current configuration will persist, but you will not be able to modify this in the new portal (at least at this time – March 2018). Instead you will need to modify the Teams Service Plan (turn it on or off) in the associated Office 365 user license in the Office 365 admin center.

5. What other SfBO Management Capabilities will be Available in the New Admin Center?

As shown on the Office 365 public roadmap the recent call analytic and call quality dashboards introduced for SfBO will surface in the new Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business Admin Center:

  1. Teams Call Quality Diagnostics – provides a portal UI to allow administrators to evaluate call quality with possible corrective actions.
  2. Teams Call Quality Analytics – provides support for Call quality User Analytics in Microsoft Teams
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