My Coast Guard
Commentary | June 13, 2022

Coast Guard says goodbye to Skype  

By Kathy Murray, MyCG Writer

The app you use to send an instant message (IM) to a coworker will change in the very near future. The C5I Service Center will decommission Skype on June 15, finalizing the Coast Guard’s previously announced transition to DoD365 Teams for instant messaging and virtual collaboration.   

The service had delayed this step, in part, to allow members to acclimate to Teams, which was formally implemented in November 2020. Now that users have been able to take part in DoD365 and experience the work benefits it offers, the Skype for Business Application will be removed from all workstations.  

But wait, why can’t the service keep both?  

Skype has limited capabilities and is primarily used for instant messaging and calls. DoD365 Teams offers that and much more as it is integrated with a whole suite of Microsoft productivity tools and applications, including SharePoint, OneDrive, and Outlook. 

Plus, turning off Skype is a requirement to enable more capabilities in Teams. These include future integration with “Teams calling” and improved cross-collaboration with external entities. With Teams calling, people will eventually get a personal phone number integrated with their Teams account. Once this is enabled, users will be able to dial out directly on the dial pad even when not in a meeting. For cutters, it will mean actually being able to dial out from Teams while underway, which is not currently possible. 

Improved cross-collaboration involves changing backend configuration settings to “Teams Only Mode” which enhances the ability for users to be invited as guests to other organizations’ environments, and likewise to allow guests into ours. All the kinks are not worked out yet and yes, you can conduct meetings with external guests today. However, this mode brings us much closer to a “CVR Teams-like” state when it comes to communicating and collaborating with individuals outside of the Coast Guard. 

What will change?  

On or around June 24, all users throughout the enterprise will be switched to Teams Only Mode. Once the change(s) take effect, you won’t notice any key difference as this is mostly a behind-the-scenes switch. However, Teams calling and enhanced cross-collaboration capabilities will be announced in more detail later once fully implemented.    

Is there anything I need to do?   

No action is required from users for this change to take effect. However, anyone who is still using Skype today should sign off and not look back! Once you are familiar with Teams, you’ll be glad that you did. As a reminder, the desktop application for shore users is available under “Applications” on the Pixel Dashboard and the web version for everyone, including cutter users, is available within “Links” via Pixel as well.  

I missed the DoD365 training. Will there be more sessions?   

Training was offered through DoD365 Boot Camp and our partnership with the Defense Information System’s Agency (DISA) via their monthly webinars. You can access past Coast Guard DoD365 Boot Camp training here (CAC required). The C5I Service Center is also working on getting access to DISA’s monthly webinar recordings too. Stay tuned for more on that front! 

Additionally, you might want to check out the user guides for conducting meetings released last year: