I look away for one minute and Microsoft changes out the entire Skype Operations Framework.

Now the SkypeOperationsFramework.com URL forwards to: https://fasttrack.microsoft.com/microsoft365/capabilities?view=voice

Go ahead, click it. See for yourself. (But do come back—we have more to discuss!)

In light of the coming transition from Skype for Business to Teams, it seems Microsoft has begun to phase the SOF content into a new format. Unfortunately, we’re at early stages right now. Finding things is a little confusing.

MyAdvisor Resource Guide

I went through the MyAdvisor pages. Here’s what I could dig up. Hopefully it helps you out as we continue the transition.

Current URLs for MyAdvisor/Skype Operations Framework Content

If you arrive at FastTrack via the old SkypeOperationsFramework.com URL, you’re plopped right in the middle of FastTrack. You’ll need another click to reach MyAdvisor.

This is where SOF users should go first. MyAdvisor focuses on Cloud Voice for Teams and Skype for Business (for now). It contains deployment scenarios, feature guidance, a training library, partner references, and the Network Planner. Like SOF, it personalizes deployment guidance based on your input.

The old “Get Started” SOF page does still exist, partially, within MyAdvisor. You can even reach the “Get Deployed” and “Cloud Migration” Customer Journeys:
Get Deployed Customer Journey
Cloud Migration Customer Journey

However, the only way to reach these pages is through the old SOF links. They do not appear linked on current FastTrack pages. (You’ll find more of said links in my last SOF post.)

If you’re involved in either of these journeys now, save all the information you need from these pages! I suspect they will vanish soon.

Now, a few Teams links.

SuccessWithTeams.com now forwards to Microsoft Teams Documentation and Practical Guidance. As you’d expect from the title, the new page has documentation and guidance on Teams, including the transition from Skype for Business.

They’ve also made it harder to download the Teams client! You can still reach the download from FastTrack, but it’s several clicks down. Save yourself the time and go straight to https://teams.microsoft.com/downloads.

Finally, we have a new FastTrack page: Get Started on Your Microsoft Teams Journey. A transitional resource, built solely to help those moving from Skype for Business to Teams.

Evolving Guidance & Training Resources – Is Bigger Better?

The whole thing looks like a glorious mess, doesn’t it? Some instructional material does remain the same; I’ll clarify what in a moment. As well as what’s murky or missing (as best I can tell).

But first, let me elaborate on something. FastTrack has existed for a while now. (See this 2016 article: Microsoft FastTrack: Partner Friend or Foe?)

Microsoft decided that it should consume the SOF. Two big resources melding into one. FastTrack and SOF are “evolved” up to Microsoft 365/Azure/Dynamics 365 in the process. Which IS in keeping with Microsoft’s cloud-first, service-based approach.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen what happens when you do this…the result can end up a labyrinthine, hard-to-navigate swamp. The Teams transition intrigues me. This part of it makes me wary though.

What’s the Same – Training Material, References, Cloud-First Direction

The style may have changed, but most of the substance is still there. With the FastTrack MyAdvisor (and FastTrack in general) you can expect:

  • Lots of resources for training & reference
  • Guiding paths for onboarding and supporting new users
  • Angling you toward specific products – before, it was the cloud or hybrid versions of Skype for Business. Now it’s the cloud-first Microsoft 365, Azure, or Dynamics 365.
  • Partner match-up. I do like that it takes advantage of the new Partner Center.

MyAdvisor Features Chart

In the same vein, we see a greater emphasis on Teams. More documentation now is great for admins and power users…it calls back to the Skype Operations Framework’s original purpose. Still, the shift produced some major changes.

What’s Different Now – Cloud Emphasis Stronger, Hybrid Disappearing

Obviously, the biggest difference is that FastTrack does not focus solely on Skype for Business. MyAdvisor does centralize on “Cloud Voice” (adding Voice and Conferencing to Teams). However, I find this line from the first FAQ question a little off-base:

“The Skype Operations Framework (SOF) provided guidance to help customers and partners roll out and operate Cloud Voice capabilities. This framework has now evolved into Practical Guidance for Cloud Voice as part of FastTrack.”

The SOF did much more than talk about Cloud Voice. They had whole pathways mapped out for doing hybrid Skype for Business deployments. Well beyond just the Cloud Voice aspect. I may be splitting hairs, but reframing like this just rubs me the wrong way (and I’ll bet I’m not the only one).

Secondly, FastTrack is focused on MS 365, Azure, and Dynamics 365 (in that order, I’d say). The MyAdvisor page is actually hard to reach organically…you have to do this:

  1. On the FastTrack homepage, click “Microsoft 365” in the nav bar.Cloud Voice Icon
  2. Scroll down to the “Supported Capabilities” section. Click the “Voice” icon.
  3. Scroll down on the “FastTrack-supported capabilities” page until you see the blue “MyAdvisor” box.
  4. Click the box. The MyAdvisor page will (finally) open.

As I said before, we should remember that the whole resource library is in transition. Now that MS plans to move Skype for Business into Teams, and push Microsoft 365 to the front of its sales efforts, the whole FastTrack site will update rapidly. This entire post may end up out-of-date by January!

FastTrack Q&A – Where to Find What

I need documentation on Teams. Where do I look?
Head over here: Microsoft Teams Documentation

What about Skype for Business training material?
The MyAdvisor will direct you. You can also search through the Microsoft Tech Academy.

I had a SOF certification. What happened to it?
According to MyAdvisor’s FAQs, it’s still intact and valid. Log into FastTrack with the same Microsoft Account credentials, and you should see it.

We heard about Skype for Business becoming Teams. What do we do?
We’re early in the game on that one. Best thing to do now is keep on top of the process. Microsoft just released a roadmap PDF showing the schedule & order of Teams receiving Skype4B features: Roadmap for Skype for Business Capabilities Coming to Microsoft Teams – MS Tech Community

I was following the old Skype Operations Framework for our deployment. We’re in the middle of things. What do I do?
First, talk with your Microsoft rep. They should have some direction to give you.

You can also go to one of these pages (depending on which Customer Journey path you took) and download the available assets:

I cannot guarantee these will remain live, so grab the assets while you can!

We’re looking at deploying Skype for Business Server soon. Will this FastTrack help me?
Yes, from a planning standpoint. Use the MyAdvisor tool to find the most current guidance content. (But check back on it regularly, as this content will change soon!)

Where Will the FastTrack Behemoth Guide Us?

In my Skype Operations Framework 101 post, I said the SOF was a useful roadmap if you were going cloud-only on Skype for Business.

Now that we know Skype for Business will absorb into Teams, this new FastTrack resource feels constricting. “Hybrid” is gone; now we have “side-by-side” Skype4B/Teams configurations that are marked as “steps in the journey.”

I came across a rather funny closing note. Over in the SOF section of SkypeFeedback.com, the latest post says simply, “Waste this App.”

It appears Microsoft is doing just that.

What do you think about the FastTrack absorbing the Skype Operations Framework? Please comment or email me your thoughts.

The Skype Operations Framework Turned into FastTrack’s MyAdvisor!
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5 thoughts on “The Skype Operations Framework Turned into FastTrack’s MyAdvisor!

    • October 30, 2017 at 10:00 am
      Permalink

      Rene,
      Wow, thanks for pointing that one out. I missed it entirely. My searches came up empty too. I would guess that this function’s been absorbed into the Network Analyzer tool on MyAdvisor. Have you tried that out?

      Reply
      • November 9, 2017 at 12:03 am
        Permalink

        Rene, can you point me where is Network Analyzer tool on MyAdvisor?
        Thx

        Reply
  • October 31, 2017 at 12:06 pm
    Permalink

    Keep in mind that in the FAQ that there is going to be at least one more on-prem release. I am grateful for this information at least. I knew that Microsoft was going all in on the cloud when i worked there, but I did not think they would completely alienate the on premise software to the point where people are thinking they may not have work in years to come. It is the way of the world and IT always has changes, I know and have been through many major paradigm shifts, but the sting still hurts.

    Reply
    • October 31, 2017 at 12:12 pm
      Permalink

      Richard,

      You and I feel the same sting on this one. We went all-in on on-prem Skype4B when it came out, as we had been for Lync before it. I was thrilled to hear about Server 2019, and there’s noises on social about support continuing for several years past it. However, I won’t hold my breath on that lasting. At least we have time to pivot skill sets.

      Reply

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