Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Skype for Business Online Cloud PBX Quick Introduction


There are some extremely exciting capabilities that will be available with the upcoming release of Cloud PBX for Skype for Business Online. I work a lot with customers who have been evaluating Office 365 and one of the hardest discussions I have had with customers is around the Lync / Skype Enterprise Voice. Previously, if a customer was a Lync Enterprise Voice customer on-premises customers had to retain all the Lync capabilities on-premises.

What has changed?

Well this is no longer a limitation anymore and there are scenarios that enterprise customers seek are now supported.

What is powering this is the new Cloud PBX with on-premises PSTN Connectivity and Skype for Business Hybrid.

The following import scenarios can be supported:

Skype for Business Online with on-premises PSTN - In this scenario an enterprise organization can move all of their end users to Skype for Business Online in Office 365 and have the ability to use the new Cloud PBX with on-premises PSTN Connectivity that will integrate Enterprise Voice capabilities from existing on-premises PSTN investments. In this case end users will get all the capabilities such as IM, presence, web meetings, desktop sharing, application sharing, etc. from the cloud while using the on-premises PSTN to integrate Enterprise Voice capabilities.

Skype for Business Hybrid with on-premises PSTN – In this scenario enterprise organizations have the ability have some end users receive Skype for Business services from on-premises while other end users receive Skype for Business Online services from Office 365 using a regular hybrid configuration. Plus in this configuration you can use the new Cloud PBX with on-premises PSTN Connectivity to allow all of the end users to receive Enterprise Voice capability from existing on-premises PSTN investments. This is a very attractive solution for enterprise organizations that want to take a phase transitions to the Office 365.

Other Hybrid Scenarios with Exchange and SharePoint – Additionally there is extremely flexible options to integrate Exchange on-premises, Exchange Online, SharePoint on-premises and SharePoint Online with both of the scenarios listed above. I consider this a different type of hybrid where you can have a mix-and-match strategy of collaboration services spread across the cloud and on-premises based on your organizations transition strategy or long-term co-existence with the cloud. Microsoft vision in supporting enterprise organizations is impressive.

So how do you plan for this?

Well there are lots of really good resources that I highly recommend you start reading to prepare and plan for such a design. From these links, you can go deeper into design considerations for your enterprise organization. I recommend reading the following articles in this order.

Learning the Topology and Server Roles for Skype for Businesshttps://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn933894.aspx – First you need to sit down and learn all of the server roles and topologies needed for Skype for Business Server 2015 on-premises. Do not worry, this article is really straight forward to understand. This will be the baseline for your understanding of the on-premises dependencies you will have. Plus you should review these simple understand topology diagrams - https://technet.microsoft.com/EN-US/library/gg398095.aspx.

Plan Skype for Business Hybridhttps://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj205403.aspx – In this article you will learn all the considerations for planning a Skype for Business Hybrid configuration with Office 365. Depending on the specific configuration you have you may have to introduce some updates into you Lync server farm that is on-premises.

Exchange and SharePoint Hybrid Scenarioshttps://technet.microsoft.com/EN-US/library/jj945633.aspx – This is another really good resource that will walk you through the supported configurations and capabilities available with Skype for Business on-premises and Skype for Business Online with Exchange on-premises, Exchange Online, SharePoint on-premises and SharePoint Online.

Planning and Deploying Cloud PBX with on-premises PSTNhttps://technet.microsoft.com/EN-US/library/mt455212.aspx – This article explains the major considerations for planning and configuration of Cloud PBX for on-premises PSTN. It has some important discussions such as what features and capabilities of Enterprise Voice that are available, solution benefits, performance / networking considerations, deployment considerations, and major steps you need to take to complete the configuration. The major steps are:

  • Enabling users for Enterprise Voice capabilities.
  • Assigning a Voice Routing Policy to your Skype for Business on-premises deployment.
  • Moving Skype for Business users to Skype for Business Online. Requires Azure AD sync to be configured and ADFS configuration.
  • Enable users for Cloud PBX.

This has extremely good information.

Plan for hybrid voice with no on-premises server deploymenthttps://technet.microsoft.com/EN-US/library/mt605227.aspx – Finally read this article if you have already deployed 100% to Skype for Business Online and you want to add Cloud PBX with on-premises PSTN support to your configuration. Really this article builds off all of the other information that you read about in the previous articles.


In conclusion Microsoft and empowering organizations to transition to the cloud in an extremely flexible manner. The new Cloud PBX with on-premises PSTN is yet another example of this flexibility and I am excited to see customers take advantage of this soon.

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