Click over the sections for more information

Skype Operations Framework

A multi-faceted approach to the successful deployment of Skype for Business, incorporating four key elements that have customer success firmly at the center.

Watch the video to learn more

What is Skype Operations Framework (SOF)?

The Skype Operations Framework (SOF) is a comprehensive guide and toolset for implementing and managing a reliable, cost-effective communications service based on Skype for Business. It covers the entire customer lifecycle, including planning, delivery, adoption, operations and migrations. It is a multi-faceted approach to the successful deployment of and migration to Skype for Business Online, incorporating four key elements that have customer success firmly at the center.

  • The SOF framework provides a standardized approach to successfully plan, deliver and operate Skype for Business by incorporating practical guidance, tools, assets and recommended practices that can be leveraged by both new deployments and migrations from On-Premises deployments.
  • The SOF readiness via Skype Academy provides targeted training to educate customers and partners on Skype for Business products, services and best practices, while providing theoretical training along with internship and guided deployment opportunities to apply learnings to real-world customer engagements.
  • SOF provides the foundation for customers and partners to accelerate their Skype for Business Online journey. We are providing the delivery methodology in SOF to guide customers and partners on when and how to use the tools and assets. This is a major benefit for many who in the past have had to work out how to navigate the deployment journey on their own, investing significant time and effort to develop their own delivery methodology from the ground up. Customers and Partners can now build their own delivery capabilities using the SOF delivery methodology as the foundation.
  • SOF Partners who are trained and aligned to SOF, delivering customer success. ready to assist customers with planning, delivering, deploying and migration.

In addition, FastTrack is the customer success service design to help customers move to Office 365, smoothly and with confidence. FastTrack covers planning, delivery and adoption aspects of the customer lifecycle. FastTrack best practices, tools, and resources associated with Skype for Business are based on SOF. SOF extends FastTrack with guidance for ongoing operational management, and provides additional Skype-specific details for planning and deployment. All Office 365 customers should utilize FastTrack for planning, deployment, and adoption, and should follow SOF throughout the lifecycle of Skype for Business deployments. In addition, customers should consider using partner managed service offerings built on SOF for elements not covered by FastTrack, including ongoing operations, and, when needed, other workload specific activities.

Testimonials & Videos

"Skype for Business is to me the jumping-off point. A single platform that does all of our video and web conferencing, all of our telephony dialing. We’re also excited about what PSTN in the cloud can do by getting rid of some of the legacy technology. Not only does it help us from a bottom line prospective, it helps us be more efficient, and be more reactive."

Read More here

Robert Franch

CTO at Cushman & Wakefield

"We’ve enabled 6,500 employees for Skype for Business Online meetings and have eliminated third-party products. In addition, we’ve enabled 600 employees for PSTN Conferencing, and I see that number growing. Our employees continue to find new ways to use Office 365 services to create, connect, collaborate and innovate at a faster pace. And that helps Guardian Industries be more successful."

Read More here

Chuck Wiggins

Infrastructure Director, Guardian Industries

"As a result of turning off our old conferencing system and switching to Skype for Business, we’re saving more than U.S. $750,000 annually, and that doesn’t include the elimination of long-distance charges stemming from traditional international calls. We expect to see even more savings when we put in place Skype for Business Cloud PBX."

Read More here

Dan Berlin

Director of Architecture, Kennametal



Gather information and insights to assess, design and prepare for a Skype for Business Online service. Define expected business value, assess readiness for implementation and undertake remediation activities.


Transition from deploying on premises to delivering high quality cloud services, by effectively implementing & delivering Skype for Business Online services while driving adoption. Identify areas for improvement by implementing new features and capabilities as these are released to deliver rapid success and additional value.


Maintain a high quality and reliable Skype for Business Online service. Provide monitoring, reporting, run and support services.

Provide regular reports that inform and drive actions
Monitor the service for end to end quality, reliability, usage and capacity
Capture, triage, troubleshoot and resolve issues, escalate when needed, engage 3rd parties as needed to fulfil support needs
Manage the daily customer initiated and controlled operations of the service (moves, adds and changes to users)
Investigate and learn about Universal Communication applications, bots and service updates to enable new business benefits, continue the lifecycle process
Execute Skype for Business Online Adoption Plan (defined in Plan phase), drive habitual user behavior, drive active usage of the service
Define the project scope, approach, business use cases, objectives and key results, adoption approach, timeline and governance to execute the service
Evaluate infrastructure, network, operational and adoption readiness for deployment
Create service architecture, design the solution including operational processes and adoption strategy
Undertake readiness and remediation activities required as outcomes of the Assess stage to prepare for deployment of Skype for Business online at scale
Install, configure and test cloud services. Stabilize environment for scale deployment
Enable users for Skype for Business Online at scale, rollout peripherals
Media Coverage

"IR, a leading global provider of experience management solutions for unified communications and contact centers, today announced that IR is one of the IT Pro Tool partners to support Skype for Business Online Network Readiness in the new Microsoft Skype Operations Framework (SOF). The SOF addresses the Plan, Deliver and Operate phases of Skype for Business. A Network Readiness Assessment is a crucial part of the Plan phase to ensure that the network is prepared for Skype for Business and Microsoft has defined two levels of assessment to deliver this; Essentials and Advanced. IR has worked closely with Microsoft Skype for Business IT Pro Tools partner team to ensure that Prognosis meets all the requirements for both the Essentials Level, which is focused on readiness and identifying issues, and Advanced Level which offers root-cause analysis and remediation."

Read more here


"Modality Systems, 2016 Microsoft Communication Partner of the Year award winner, is 100-percent focused on unified communications. Not only does the company specialize in Skype for Business, but the firm got a jump-start on the Skype Operations Framework (SOF). “We’re very excited about it because it ensures a successful adoption of Skype for Business in the cloud — that means planning, deployment and operations,” John Lamb, president and co-founder, told us. Modality is one of the very first Microsoft partners on board with SOF. Modality just announced that it will offer a Skype for Business managed-services offering that it based on the SOF, on a per user/per month basis. “We would have built something similar ourselves but Microsoft made the investment and built the framework for us,” he said. The SOF is very prescriptive, repeatable and consistent, which is what Lamb likes about it."

Read more here

Channel Partners

"I think this framework sets the industry standard for a comprehensive guide on how to implement and manage a reliable UC deployment. An intriguing part of this framework is the Skype for Business position on mandating network assessment as part of the SOF which is further broken down into Essentials and Advanced (see SOF Determine Network Readiness section). I think this practice is extremely important, and even more critical is that network assessment should be thought of as a continuous assessment rather than a one-time deal."

Read more here


"CIO launch of a Skype Operations Framework, which is designed to help guide Microsoft partners and customers in deploying and operating the business communication software."

Read more here