Office 365: New Admin Center Intro


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There is nothing so stable as change” Bob Dylan once said and this is certainly true of Office 365.

Just when we’d become comfortable with the admin portal (warts and all) the Office team released a new, more efficiently designed version for preview on Sept 17, 2015.

As more features have been added to Office 365 the administrative interface has become a sprawling forest of menus, sub-menus and sub-sub-menus, nested like a Matryoshka doll.

Well, no more!  Or at least, not at the top level. The new interface is much simpler, easing us into the depths in more reasonable steps.

Here’re my first impressions:

Skype for Business: User Settings Report with PowerShell

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Sooner or later, you’ll be asked to provide information regarding Skype for Business usage within your Office 365 tenant.  And if you have network bandwidth concerns (and who doesn’t?) you’ll want to know what services (i.e., video, HD video, audio) are enabled.

There are a variety of ways to gather this information but one of the most direct is by running a PowerShell query from your tenant.

The first step is connecting to Office 365 using a remote PowerShell session that imports the Skype for Business modules.

A basic script looks like this:

$credential = Get-Credential
$session = New-CsOnlineSession -Credential $credential
Import-PSSession $session

More information about the required software and configuration options are available at this Technet article.

Once you’ve connected, you can create a report, exported to a CSV file, using the following syntax:

Get-CsOnlineUser | select DisplayName, UserPrincipalName, EnterpriseVoiceEnabled, AudioVideoDisabled | Export-Csv “Skype-Users-AV-Status.csv” -NoTypeInformation

In this example, I’m creating a report that shows the audio and video status of each user in my tenant.  With this, I can determine if users whose site bandwidth may not adequately support those features need reconfiguration.

To review all the sorts of information you can report on, see Technet.

Office 365: The Importance of Staying Informed


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Among the things that have occurred since we entered what I’ll grandly call the Age of Cloud Computing is an increase in the velocity of  change.

In the past, the rate of change an IT organization was compelled to absorb (for example, with servers or applications) was often measured in years.

With Office 365 and similar platforms, this has been compressed considerably. According to the Office 365 Customer Success Center, there have been a few hundred updates or modifications made to the cloud service in 2015 alone.

And speaking of the Success Center, this post’s subject is the importance of keeping up-to-date on proposed and upcoming changes by making a visit to key Office 365 sites a part of your weekly routine.

Let’s start with the Success Center:

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 3.07.04 PM

Here you can learn about the Office 365 Roadmap, review collaboration scenarios, download helpful end-user guides in the resources section and much more.

There’s also a wealth of information available at the Office 365 blogs.

The business focused blogs:

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Here you will find case studies providing detailed examples of how Office 365 is being used by a variety of businesses of all sizes.  A very useful resource when discussing the service with decision makers.  There’s also an excellent news section among other highlights.

For technical audiences, there’s the Office 365 Technology Blogs:

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The technology blogs dive into the features and technical details of individual components of the service with a focus on the needs of information technology professionals.

But wait, there’s more…

For videos highlighting the advanced capabilities of Office 365, there’s the Office Garage series hosted on YouTube.

There’s a lot happening so it’s important to stay informed!

 

 

Office 365 Account Management: Fun With Active Directory and PowerShell

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In a previous post, I promised to dive a little deeper into Power BI from an end-user’s point of view.

That’s definitely going to happen but first, I’d like to record a recent experience to make sure it’s captured and to assist anyone out there who might benefit.

What’s am I referring to?

Changing a user’s principal name/SMTP address.

There are many scenarios that make such a change necessary – marriage or divorce prompting a name change, the need to forward messages from an active, but no longer assigned mailbox to other users…the list goes on.

If the account is dirsync’ed (or Microsoft Azure Active Directory Sync’ed) you will see this message while trying to change any of the attributes inherited from your on-premise Active Directory:

Cannot Change

Inevitably, this will lead you to turn to Active Directory Users and Computers (within on-premise AD) to change the SMTP:

ADUC

And also inevitably, after synchronization…Cannot Change and still seeing this message…

You’ll decide that, oops, you forgot to modify the account’s SIP address and LegacyExchangeDN attributes using ADSIEdit:

ADSIEdit

Confident that you’ve made all the required changes, you’ll wait for synchronization only to see the same user principal name displayed within O365’s admin portal or via a get-mailbox cmdlet.

What’s going on?

The UPN is fixed at the time a user’s account is created and first sync’ed to the cloud. So, no amount of on-premise modification works because the value is stored exclusively within your Office 365 tenant. Note also, that the value cannot be altered from the Office 365 admin portal.

To change an account’s UPN, you must run an MSOL PowerShell session.

The cmdlet syntax will go like this:

Set-MsolUserPrincipalName -UserPrincipalName
user.name-old@yourdomain.com -NewUserPrincipalName
user.name-new@yourdomain.com