A month or two ago, a few clients of mine received emails proclaiming the death of UM in the cloud. This caught me off guard as they’re not talking about third party PBXs or PABXs, but it appears to be talking about all Exchange Online Unified Messaging even for Skype for Business and Lync Enterprise Voice users. This somewhat makes sense and I imagined it would happen at some point due to it’s removal from Exchange 2019, however the time frame announced was tight at the time which has now been extended.
Today a new announcement was made that gives more insight and detail into the migration. In a nutshell, for voicemail, the transition will occur on Microsoft’s side and no action is required by the user. Microsoft promises that the transition will be transparent. There are feature differences of course that you should be aware of, including the loss of voicemail rules (different greetings for different callers or personal menus), but the larger issue that will affect my clients is the loss of a dial-in number to access voicemail. This may not seem like a big deal these days, but for a small handful of corner cases it’s still considered critical. If you’re going to be affected by this, start planning your process changes now.
Edit: Jonathan McKinney pointed out that a feature comparison can be found here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/SkypeForBusiness/plan/exchange-unified-messaging-online-migration-support which I hadn’t yet noticed.
Automated attendants will need to be manually rebuilt in the cloud, and that’s an entirely separate article and will require a bit of hybrid setup. Fortunately, enhancements are coming to Cloud Automated Attendant to beef the features up to make these more at parity with the premises versions.
The migration will occur as soon as March 2019, and if you’re still using Lync 2010, you’ll need to update to Lync 2013 or Skype at a minimum, but can be postponed if required until Feb. 2020. To read the full announcement see the below link:
A copy of the original email that went out with less clear timelines is below if you’re curious (the service will not be discontinued in July 2019, but rather February 2020).
“Microsoft would like to make you aware of the Exchange Unified Messaging (EXUM) discontinuation of service in July 2019.
What is happening with the Skype for Business Server + Exchange Online Unified Messaging?
Customers using this topology connect their Skype for Business Server(s) to Exchange Online for voicemail service. Microsoft has a new service – Cloud Voicemail and plans to auto-transition customers. Unified Messaging will not be available in Exchange Online starting July 2019. Cloud Voicemail does not have some legacy EXUM features such as Subscriber Access, Message Waiting Indicator, Play on Phone and Personal Auto Attendant.
We expect transition to be straight forward as Microsoft will move customers from Unified Messaging to Cloud Voicemail on an ongoing basis after July 2019. Customers using Auto attendants will also need to plan a migration.
As part of our proactive outreach initiative, please help us better serve you by answering the following quick questions.
- What is your topology for SFB?
- Topology 1 – PBX + Exchange Server
- Topology 2 – Skype for Business Server + Exchange Server
- Topology 3 – PBX + Exchange Online
- Topology 4 – Skype for Business Server + Exchange Online
- What option is the customer considering for SBC Offboarding?
- Stay of Exchange Server 2016
- Deploy competitor voicemail
- Move to Exchange Server 2109 and use CVM
- Move to SFB Server 2019 and use CVM
- Move to O365
- Stay on SFB Server 2015 and use Exchange On Prem
- What is the estimated date for customer to complete SFB offboarding?
- Does the customer use Auto Attendant capability?
Additional Comments/Help Wanted
We thank you very much for your time.”