Recently Microsoft announced that Skype for Business Online will be retired on July 31, 2021. Skype for Business Online is a Unified Communication as a Service (UCaaS) application that is part of Microsoft 365. As the Marketing Calling lead at Microsoft, I wanted to share with you my thoughts on this change and what it means to mutual Microsoft and Oracle Communications customers, while reiterating that Skype Consumer and Skype for Business Server are unaffected by this announcement.
In 2017, we launched Microsoft Teams as “the hub for teamwork” in Microsoft 365. Teams combines chat, files, meetings, calling, and apps/workflows into a single, integrated app – and enables an entirely new way of working. Over the last two years, Microsoft has refined Teams to improve collaboration and to evolve the way companies think about workloads, such as meetings and calling. As a result of that work, Microsoft can now confidently recommend Teams as an upgrade to all Skype for Business Online customers.
At the end of 2017, we announced Phone System and Microsoft Calling Plans for Teams customers, which helps organizations that want to reduce the number of vendors with which they work, and those that need service in the 12 geographies we support. And for customers that want global PSTN coverage, Microsoft has added Direct Routing, allowing enterprises to bring their own calling plans to Teams.
At the heart of the Direct Routing solution is the incredibly important Session Border Controller (SBC), a device that ensures security and connectivity across different parts of the network, addressing regulatory and Quality of Service (QoS) requirements. As part of the architecture, Microsoft certifies SBCs for Direct Routing as an assurance that the service is robust. Earlier this year, we were very excited to have Oracle Communications join as a certified partner for customers who want to use Direct Routing.
Oracle Communications has a large footprint in the SBC market, and many of our customers have asked that Oracle's SBCs be certified. This in turn has freed our joint customers to deploy Calling in Teams using Oracle SBCs and Direct Routing.
Customers are also asking about high availability for calling workloads. Oracle Communications and Microsoft are working together to provide an SD-WAN solution in the future. Easily being able to switch from a failing configuration to one that can handle the calling traffic really helps customers have the best experience.
With Direct Routing now deployed in 83 countries and counting, this is a good time for you to consider the Microsoft Cloud for voice managed and protected by Oracle Communications Session Border Controller.