It’s no secret that Microsoft are heavily pushing Teams in the enterprise collaborative workspace, pulling in Teams apps for MS Project, Planner, syncing with the 365 dataset etc. It’s also fairly well known that Teams does support a form of enterprise voice, more specifically “Cloud Voice” in Office 365.
Another point of controversial contention is that the meetings experience in Skype for Business rarely works very well, if there aren’t issues in hosting a meeting, there’s issues with external contacts joining a meeting. Microsoft have touched on this at ignite, and the weaknesses in SfB meetings are being addressed via Teams adoption.
Whilst this may be functional and appear attractive to new customers with no existing enterprise voice solution, it represents quite an obstacle to those organisations that already have an established Skype for Business (or Lync Server 2013) enterprise voice solution. Ignite 2019 has seen Microsoft flaunt their new “Meetings First” approach. Full Teams adoption isn’t feasible for a lot of organisations due to there currently being no logical migration path for SfB Enterprise Voice Topologies into Teams. Whilst MS works on addressing this, they are proposing most people to think “Meetings First”
So what does Meetings First mean? In essence, it’s a staggered approach to Teams adoption. Microsoft have developed a deployment mode for Teams in which you can opt for “selected capabilities” for the Teams deployment. IT administrators can now choose for Teams to adopt only the collaborative and meetings features (channel chat, integration into other hosted applications such as BI or Projects, and meetings) while leaving IM chat and calling/enterprise voice to Skype for Business.