Erwin Bierens

Knowledge is Power

Get the hell out of Islands Mode

2019-04-18 4 min read Microsoft Teams Erwin Bierens

What’s happening?

More and more organisations are starting explore Microsoft Teams, and in doing this it’s important to understand the interopability options while running in coexistence (Skype for Business Online and Microsoft Teams next to each other).

Like all other vendors, backward compatibility is always difficult ;-) Teams is in this case no exception.

First of all, if your tenant was created before november 2018 you are probally running in Islands mode. You can check this by going to the Teams Admin Portal.

Coexistance mode

Basically there isn’t any connection between Skype for Business Online and Microsoft Teams (different systems). If you send a message or call from Skype it goes to Skype, from Teams it will end up in Teams.


When it comes to federated messages (people outside your Office365 tenant), they will be received in the client that handles the Skype messages (in Islands mode this will be Skype for Business Online).

I don’t want to spent any more words on Islands mode ;-)

Teams and Skype Only mode

Let’s get started with the ‘Skype and Teams Only’ modes. the ‘Only’ mode means that your messages/calls will be delivered in one of those two. You will make one of the two your default. By this settings your federated messages and calls will be delivered to this mode.

Collaboration and Meeting modes

In case you cannot migrate your full workflow to Microsoft Teams we’ve two other options:

  • Skype for Business with Teams collaboration

  • Skype for Business with Teams collaboration and meetings

If running in Skype Only or one of the two modes above your chats and calls will be delivered to Skype, this also includes federated messages and calls.

Skype for Business with Teams collaboration

The user will receive chats and calls and schedule meetings in Skype. Teams can be used for group collaboration and meetings.

Skype for Business with Teams collaboration and meetings

The user will receive chats and calls in Skype. Teams can be used for group collaboration and the meeting scheduling. With this setting the Skype for Business Meeting addon in your Outlook will be removed.

Now! Let’s get you out of Islands mode

Ok, i think it will be clear right now that Islands mode is the worst option to choose for the best user experience.

It can be very confusing when you change the coexistance to Teams Only mode. Skype for Business Meeting addon will be removed from outlook, users cannot see their full Skype client anymore, etc..

The Migration

How to approach this migration, let’s focus on two phases:

  • Notify Users of upcoming migration
  • User upgraded to Teams


Notify users with a banner in Skype

Login to the Skype for Business Online PowerShell and run the following cmdlet:

    grant-csTeamsUpgradePolicy -Identity -PolicyName Tag:IslandsWithNotify

The user will now receive a banner in the Skype client with the notification that Skype will be upgraded to Teams. Notify Teams

The User can try Microsoft Teams; the option facilitates download if client is not present. Now it will comes to your internal communication, when are you planning to move to Teams Only mode?

Upgrade to Teams Only

When everything is arranged you can upgrade the user to Teams Only mode with the following cmdlet.

    grant-csTeamsUpgradePolicy -Identity -PolicyName Tag:UpgradeToTeams

Notify Moved

Skype for Business Outlook Meeting add-in is removed and Skype for Business integrations with Office are disabled. Current Outlook Contact Card now maps to Teams


Keep in mind

Some points to keep in mind before migrate your users and organization:

  • Check if your Meetings Rooms are ready for Teams Only.
  • When using the Skype with collaboration modes keep this table in mind: Teams
  • The Skype Meeting Outlook addon will be removed in Teams Only mode.
  • When running in Skype Only mode, Teams meetings addon will not be available in Outlook.
  • Meeting participation is always possible in both clients, regardless of modes.

If you still have any questions, feel free to contact me.


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