Ability to initiate new message to SFB user?

New Contributor

The biggest problem I see with Teams-only mode is that people want the ability to initiate a chat with a user who is not yet using Teams, and have their message sent to that person in Skype for Business. We have had several people try Teams-only mode and then asked to be switched back due to this issue.


Any possibility this feature could be added? It would help us get a lot more people using Teams and make our transition easier.

15 Replies

Same here @Garrett Nelson , sometimes you want to contact somebody in Teams that is offline in Teams but online in Skype. In that case I would like to select in Teams to address someone over Skype instead of Teams. Is this an use case Microsoft is considering to support?

Hi @Garrett Nelson, thanks for your question


The routing of messages is determined by the *receivers* coexistence mode. So, if the destination user is not using Teams, they should be assigned one of the SfB* coexistence modes - that will ensure that when the Teams Only user sends the message, it is received in the Skype for Business client. If the destination user is configured in Islands (which is the default), the message routing would go to Teams - and as such, they should have the Teams application deployed and running.

I understand @Bryan Nyce , but giving choice to the sender would greatly simplify the migration for us as well.

If the person using Skype for Business is in SfbOnly mode that should not be a problem. If they are in Islands mode the message from the Teams Only mode will end up in Teams for the Island mode user.

If someone been in Island mode or Teams Only mode and switched back to SfBOnly mode you might have to wait for a couple of days or get help from MS Support.

@Bryan Nyce I understand that, but having to determine who is actually using Teams or not and setting their coexistence mode accordingly would be a real pain. 95% of our users are licensed for Teams, but only around half of them (or less) are actually using Teams.

@Linus Cansby We are fixing the delay you refer to, it should no longer be a problem.

@Garrett Nelson For tenants in Islands mode, Microsoft recommends you drive adoption of Teams to saturation *prior* to upgrading any user to TeamsOnly. That's because there is no interop to users in Islands mode; as such, TeamsOnly users's communication to Islands users would land in their Teams client, and be missed if they are not using Teams.
For Islands to work optimally, all users should use and monitor both clients at all times. Therefore it is critical to focus on adoption, following the best practices that Microsoft has made available.

@Francois Doremieux thank you. The problem with that approach is we have users waiting to use Teams until everyone else is on Teams, because they don't want to have to run both Skype and Teams. Many of our users are going to keep running Skype and ignore Teams until they are forced to switch.


Teams only mode is so close to being a good solution. I fully understand how it all works today, I just want to pass along my feedback that if you could tweak how it works a little bit it would really make it a lot easier for us to increase adoption and make our transition easier.

@Garrett Nelson  

Your experience is the biggest issue with Islands Mode.  In my experience, if you have a mix of users in “Teams Only” and “Islands Mode” users who are “… not yet using Teams” yet, it is a much better experience setting those Islands Mode users to one of the SfB Only modes, and then do an adoption plan (training, readiness), and then move them over to “Teams Only” when they are ready.  The SfB Only mode ensures certainty for the sender and receiver for those not in Teams Only mode yet (and avoids confusion).


Alternatively, if there was a way to automatically set users to SfbOnly mode if they haven't logged into Teams in over X days or something along those lines, that would he helpful.

and it is hard driving adoption of Teams when you first have to apply a policy that will restrict the capabilties of Teams, like receiving incoming chats....

@Garrett Nelson  That's a good idea if you are going to be in that scenario for awhile (mix of Teams Only and Islands who aren't using Teams for one reason or another).  You can determine who is not using Teams in the Office 365 Reports (in the portal), or through the Graph API (https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/graph/api/resources/microsoft-teams-user-activity-reports?view=grap...), and you can set the Coexistence Mode for a bulk of users with PowerShell (https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powershell/module/skype/grant-csteamsupgradepolicy?view=skype-ps).


In my experience your calories are better spent getting everyone to Teams Only mode unless there are barriers (organizational or functional), but every situation is different!


Lots to reply to here...

@Garrett Nelson : first, while I understand your point, I can tell you with certainty that the routing behavior w/r to Islands and other modes will not change. It's technically not something that can be done. It's also not the promise of Islands.
W/r to the second idea, getting users to other modes such as SfBWithTeamsCollab: that can be done easily with a script. Let me make clear that we never recommend removing chat (or calling) from users who are actually using them. And it's not necessary, because active Islands users are not a problem, as long as they continue actively monitoring both clients.
The issue is inactive Islands users. These, you can, as mentioned, identify through a script and get into a CSV file and assign a different mode, which will ensure interop. I have such a script if needed.

I disagree with @Joost Koopmans's concern about driving adoption when chat is off, for two reasons. One, it is not as critical that these users are active in Teams, as they can use interop and also they can be upgraded directly regardless of whether they are active. It's good if they are, but not a blocker if they are not. Second, we have observed that adoption can be accelerated massively by converting users to using Teams meetings instead of SFB meetings, as well as adopting the collaboration capabilities of Teams (Teams and Channels). This path (which we call Meetings First) is a very credible alternative.

There is nothing wrong with Islands as a path, and it's both our default and starting recommendation. However in Islands, customers need to put the effort to adoption saturation, and only then work on upgrade. There are alternative paths that are very credible as well and are more deterministic and predictable w/r to timeline not depending on adoption, it's really a question of what works best for the specific customer.

That is not a statement I agree with, sorry

@Francois Doremieux , that is alright, we can agree to disagree :beaming_face_with_smiling_eyes:. I rather give users the full capabilities of Microsoft Teams so they have the best experience. Therefor, we will go for your recommended approach, driving Teams adoption in island mode and do a big bang of TeamsOnly when we reach saturation.

I was a bit surprised by the recent announcements of improvements to Teams and Skype interop capabilities which seem to me Microsoft is investing in an upgrade path of slowly putting more and more people on TeamsOnly, which was one of the reasons to join the AMA and understand if our direction is still the best scenario for us.