The Fourth Edition of Office 365 for IT Pros is now available

I am proud to be part of the team that now have produced and released the The Fourth Edition of Office 365 for IT Pros. The book is regularly updated and adjusted to the ever-changing Office 365 Services. This is why there is no printed version of the book. It is available as eBook (PDF + EPUB) and is available in Amazon Kindle Store. Read more and get it here

My contribution is around the Skype for Business chapter and I explain the service from the basics, how to succeed with adoption and usage and dive in to understanding the core technology and optimizing for media quality. This is an evolving book and I will add content to the chapter as new features gets released and as more E5 features becomes mainstream.

The authors, proud to be part of the team

Personally I like the format of the book because it is written by MVP’s that works with the technology every day and have a deep understanding of the underlying technology. I was first introduced to the book when trying to understand how Office 365 Groups works and had difficulty finding relevant and updated documentation on the internet. Reading the chapter on Office 365 Groups in the book helped me get an updated and correct understanding of the service and put it in context of other services in Office 365. This is why I recommend this book to all IT Pros working with Office 365 and needs a general understanding of the entire service.

The Essential Guide to Office 365 for IT Pros

Teaching productivity soft skills at MVP Connection in Madrid June 1st

MVPCommunityConnectionI am super excited to be picked out to teach productivity soft skills to the MVP’s and Regional Directors attending MVP Community Connection in Madrid June 1st. For the past year I have developed my OneNote productivity framework that I still use and succeed with. By borrowing and combining known productivity methodology such as take back your life, Getting Things Done and the Pomodoro Technique, I will talk about stuff you already know, but still need to be reminded of.

Why OneNote? There are three factors that works well for me with OneNote

  1. Flexible notetaking tool, you can paste anything anywhere and it works great with touch and pen.
  2. Syncs across devices through OneDrive with great apps for all operating systems including mobile.
  3. OneNote tasks are key and works the same on all devices so I easily can complete a task on my mobile.

It is all about getting a finite list of all your activities and thoughts so that you can prioritize and execute on the most important task at any given time. And the result? A happy life, and a productive life :) People who have tested the framework report back that a burden has been taken off their shoulders. Turns out that your mind is for having ideas, not holding them as David Allen says. By dumping everything in your head, you free up space to relax, enjoy the moment and focus on your current task at hand.

Learn how in my LifeHack OneNote session at MVP Community Connection



Proud to be contributing on the Fourth Edition of Office 365 for IT Pros book

I think that search engines are loosing their powers in an evergreen and ever changing Cloud World. When searching failed me for learning what I needed about Office 365 Groups I found that the Office 365 for IT Pros book had the angle and up to date answers I needed. It is kept up to date by MVPs who work with and understand the technology for what it is and what it’s not, so you know you get an up to date and thoughtful answer. It covers all of Office 365 with practical examples to get you started. I strongly believe in this format moving forward since it is difficult to search for Groups or Teams online, and when you find articles they are half a year old and may or may not be outdated. To make sure I stay up to date on my core knowledge, I offered my services to write about Skype for Business Online and hybrid. I am happy to be accepted in to the team with Tony Redmond, Michael Van Horenbeeck and Paul Cunningham. I look forward to contribute to a great collection of knowledge. The fourth edition is planned for a June 1st release, read more about it here

Totally recommend Office 365 for IT Pros if you are an Office 365 admin or consultant. Get it here


Microsoft Teams Preview and Office 365 Groups member mismatch and how to fix it

Office 365 Groups are at the core for next generation Office 365 services such as Planner, Microsoft Teams and Modern SharePoint Teamsites. At the time of writing (Teams preview before March 2017) I have discovered the following regarding Office 365 Groups and membership especially in an active Microsoft Teams environment, where you are adding new members directly in the Teams client.

The Short story

Microsoft Teams in preview (before march 2017) did not add new members to the Office 365 Groups in Exchange, only to the corresponding  Azure AD Group. The Azure AD Group is used to give access to SharePoint documents and adding a new Teams member gives access to the SharePoint Site. This would result in mismatch in member-count in these two groups that can be confusing for users when navigating around the different Office 365 Groups interfaces

The Long story, understanding the different groups

Creating Office 365 Groups

  • When creating an Office 365 Group a corresponding Azure AD Group also gets created
    • The Azure AD Group is used for Group write back with Azure AD Connect and permissions in SharePoint Teamsites
      • The Group write back option is only necessary if you have a hybrid Exchange environment and users hosted on-premises that needs to be able to resolve the distribution email address and its members
      • It may also be necessary for Skype for Business hybrid environments in order to be able to add the Office 365 Groups as group in the Skype contactlist
    • If you crate the Office 365 Group in GUI from Outlook, members gets added to that Azure AD Group
    • If you create the Office 365 Group using PowerShell with New-UnifiedGroup (this still applies post March 2017) and and use the -members option, members will not get added to the Azure AD Group and you get a mismatch in member count
      • New-UnifiedGroup -Members
      • Only the Office 365 Group Owner will get added to the Azure AD Group as member and this is an issue for the Group Write Back with AADC
      • A corresponding SharePoint TeamSite gets created with a member of the group with a SharePoint license logs on to either Office 365 Groups or creates a Microsoft Teams team
    • If you create the group in PowerShell and with New-UnifiedGroup without adding members and add the members using Add-UnifiedGroupLinks, then members will get added to the corresponding Azure AD Group
Recommended method to create Office 365 Groups via PowerShell

Make sure you are logged in to Exchange Online PowerShell before you start creating the group

$Owner = ""
$Users = "",""
$alias = "MyNewOffice365Group"
New-UnifiedGroup –DisplayName $alias –Alias $alias –EmailAddresses "$" -owner $Owner -Verbose
#This is optional, but may be a good practice initally since Office 365 Groups may clutter your Global Addressbook
Set-UnifiedGroup –Identity $alias –HiddenFromAddressListsEnabled $true
#Add the member to the group
Add-UnifiedGroupLinks $alias -LinkType member -Links $users
#Validate that the members where added ok
Get-UnifiedGroupLinks $alias -LinkType member
#If you want to validate that the AD group is updated ok, run the script below without $alias=$null

Adding members to existing Office 365 Groups

  • Adding members using the Exchange Online cmdlet Add-UnifiedGroupLinks results in users getting added to both the Office 365 Group and Azure AD Group, all is good
    • If this is also a Microsoft Teams enabled group then the members will get added to the team as well within 24 hours (or so)
  • Adding members using the web UI as a user results in users getting added to both the Office 365 Group and Azure AD Group, all is good
  • Adding members from the SharePoint Teamsite UI resulted (before March 2017) in users only getting added to the Azure AD Group and you have a mismatch of user count between Azure AD and Office 365
  • Adding users from the Microsoft Teams client (before March 2017) would result in users only getting added to the Azure AD Group that gives full write access to all the corresponding SharePont Teamsite documents
    • This resulted in a mismatch between Azure AD Group and Office 365 Group and if users are expect to see the group under Groups in Outlook they will not
    • You would also get a mismatch in the memberlist in Microsoft Teams and Office 365 Groups on the web
      • if the user tried to access the Exchange components of the group they will get added to the memberlist, but not until they actively add the group or go via SharePoint Teamsite to the groupconversation button on the top right corner


  • If you are not a member of the Office 365 Group, you are not a part of the distribution group and you will not get see the Group in either Outlook or Outlook Web App
  • If you are not added to the Azure AD Group you will not be part of the group that gets synced back to Active Directory and part of the on-premises distribution group for users hosted on Exchange Server
  • If you are not part of the Azure AD Group you will not be visible in the Graph API as there is not way to resolve member from an Office 365 Group via the API, only members from the corresponding Azure AD Group (at the time of writing, may change in the future)


  • Add the member in the web UI for Groups then it will get added to the Exchange part and Azure AD part of the Office 365 Group
  • Detect and remedy the different user memberships using PowerShell by detecting and adding the missing users to either Office 365 Groups or Azure AD Group

How to detect mismatch in member-count in Office 365 Groups and Azure AD Group

Below is a simple example on how to list all the groups that have a member-count mismatch between Office 365 Groups and Azure AD Groups. It is always the Azure AD group that has the most and correct set of members so that is why we add those members to the Exchange part of the Office 365 Group.

Before you run the example you need to install the latest MSOnline PowerShell V1 module and be logged in to Exchange Online PowerShell module

Find all groups with mismatch in member-count
#find groups that have mismatching member-count in Office 365 groups and Azure AD groups
$Groups = @()
#Get all Office 365 Groups
$UnifiedGroup = get-unifiedgroup $alias
    ForEach ($Group in $UnifiedGroup){
        #Get the members of the group
        $UnifiedGroupLink=Get-UnifiedGroupLinks -Identity $ -LinkType member | Select-Object -ExpandProperty PrimarySmtpAddress
        #If there are members in the group, check the corresponding Azure AD Group and find the members. Add the result in custom Powershell object
        if (($UnifiedGroupLink).count -ne 0){
            $AADGroup= Get-MsolGroup -GroupType DistributionList -All | Where-Object {$_.Emailaddress -eq $Group.PrimarySmtpAddress}
            $TempGroups = @()
            $TempGroups = New-Object PSObject -Property @{
                O365Members= $UnifiedGroupLink
                O365membercount= ($UnifiedGroupLink).count
                AADmembers=Get-MsolGroupMember -GroupObjectId ($AADGroup).ObjectId | Select-Object -ExpandProperty EmailAddress
                AADmembercount=(Get-MsolGroupMember -GroupObjectId ($AADGroup).ObjectId | Select-Object -ExpandProperty EmailAddress).count
            #If there is a mismatch in the membercount, add the group to the final output variable and write the group to the console
            if($TempGroups.O365membercount -ne $TempGroups.AADmembercount){$Groups += $TempGroups; $TempGroups}
#list all groups with mismatch
#count the number of groups with a mismatch
Write-Host "Number of groups mismatching groups"($Groups).count
List all the members not present in the Office 365 Group
#Find all members that are present i the Azure AD group and needs to be added to the Office 365 Group
foreach ($CurrentGroup in $Groups){
    write-host "Checking Group"$CurrentGroup.Emailaddress
    $NewMembers = $CurrentGroup.AADmembers | Where {$CurrentGroup.O365Members -NotContains $_} # Shows what items in $CurrentGroup.O365Members are missing in $CurrentGroup.AADmembers

Add the missing members to the Office 365 Group
#Add the users from the Azure AD group to the Office 365 group, the users added will not get a welcome mail.
foreach ($CurrentGroup in $Groups){
    write-host "Checking Group"$CurrentGroup.Emailaddress
    $NewMembers = $CurrentGroup.AADmembers | Where {$CurrentGroup.O365Members -NotContains $_} # Shows what items in $CurrentGroup.O365Members are missing in $CurrentGroup.AADmembers
    Add-UnifiedGroupLinks $CurrentGroup.emailaddress -LinkType member -Links $NewMembers -Verbose
    Get-UnifiedGroupLinks $CurrentGroup.emailaddress -LinkType member


Join my full online day on how to design #Skype4B voice in a cloud first world


Join me March 3oth for my full online day on how to design Skype for Business in a cloud first world. Because of the high score at the last IT/Dev Connections session I did october 2016 Penton asked if I could do a full day, and it is a huge honor to get the chance. I will focus on three topics

  • How to think when designing global voice solutions with Skype for Business.
  • Explore online, hybrid and on-premises deployments and how Azure MFA plays in to the mix.
  • Deep dive in to codecs, protocols, routing and the optimal media path

Skype for Business Online is a different kind of infrastructure technology than the rest of Office 365 and I will focus on helping you understand how to prepare for success. I will answer live Q&A during the sessions, so make sure you sign up!


Talking about #Skype4B design @NICconf

logoFebruary 2nd I have the honor of speaking at the Nordic Infrastructure Conference 2017 for the 6th consecutive year. This is a premiere event with a great expo hall and a list of world known speakers such as Johan Arwidmark, Sami Laiho, Wally Mead to name a few.

I will talk about how I design voice solutions with Skype for Business where I will share my three main design principles. Make sure you catch it if you are wondering about how to design in a cloud first world. Check it out and sign up here


Office 365 Multi-Factor Authentication requirements explained

Short version

mf_authMulti-Factor Authentication (MFA) in Office 365 is dependent on Modern Authentication which is oAuth 2.0 via ADAL that authenticates the user in Azure AD

Longer version with links to deep dives

  • What is MFA?
    • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) in Office 365 requires Modern Authentication (oAuth2.0 + ADAL) to be enabled for the clients and services that are going to use MFA
    • MFA, Two-step verification, is a method of authentication that requires more than one verification method combined with the Azure Authenticator App, SMS or phone call verification
    • Read more here
  • What is Modern Authentication?
    • Modern Authentication is oAuth 2.0 used via ADAL to enable newer applications (Outlook, Word, OneNote, Skype for Business and other Office applications) to authenticate to services such as Skype for Business, Exchange and SharePoint
    • In Office 2013 march 2015 update and later Modern Authentication is supported and in Office 2016it is enabled by default and will use an in-application browser control to render the Azure AD sign-in experience
    • Read more here
  • What is oAuth?
    • Open Authentication 2.0 (oAuth 2.0) is used as a component via ADAL as the web-based authorization flow between servers or clients and servers
    • Read more here
  • What is ADAL?
    • Microsoft Azure Active Directory Authentication Library (ADAL) is a tool in the .NET framework that lets client applications authenticate users to Office 365 and Azure AD
    • Read more here
  • Two options are available for SSO with on-premises AD that requires Modern Authentication
    • Pass Through Authentication (PTA)
      • Works with Office 365 only
      • Enabled on latest AADC with outbound connection only, no DMZ server
      • Just set up several AADC and it is automatically loadbalanced resulting in low operational cost
      • Does not store password in Azure AD, authenticates user in on-premises AD first and presents MFA after that if enabled
      • In combination with password sync you are not dependent on AADC uptime
      • Read more here and here
    • ADFS 3.0
      • Used for hybrid Skype for Business and Exchange environments
        • Skype for Business server Hybrid supports Modern Authentication, but will do NTLM authentication to on-premises AD and give MFA pop-up when authenticating to Exchange Online, read more here 
        • I recommend Pointsharp MFA for on-premises and hybrid Skype for Business deployments
        • Exchange Server hybrid requires MFA Server, read more here
        • For best Azure MFA result an Online only deployment is recommended
      • ADFS is best for larger organizations
      • More complex and requires proxy servers in DMZ with public IP and Certificate
      • Requires loadbalancer for high-availability
      • Is required when doing MFA with Smart Card, 3rd party tokens and certificate based authentication
      • Read more here
  • You can now use Microsoft Intune to control MFA options and turn of MFA for certain subnets and conditions, read more here
  • Read about conditional access, MFA with Intune Hybrid and SCCM
  • Use Azure AD Premium with automated password roll-over for business social media profiles protected by a MFA enabled identity with centrally controlled delegation, read more here


Virtual Class on getting structured with OneNote

onenotevclassicopngThis fall I have written several articles on how to get structured with OneNote using custom tags and creating lists that you can use when you want to jump-start those focused worksprints. Based on my experience I have created a virtual training class with labs that where I want to share my techniques and help you get started organizing your tasks, information and digitizing your capture of content and braindumps in to your OneNote. By using one place to gather all tasks, even from Outlook, you know you always have a finite list of tasks that needs to get done. Then and only then you are ready to prioritize you next task you want to complete.

The virtual class will run on January 5th and will use Microsoft Teams from an Office 365 tenant created for the class where we will share all documentation and content with live video for and interactive experience. Check it out and register today at Eventbrite

Running the Skype for Business Partner Airlift in Norway January 2017

skype-for-business-weblogo16-18 January Microsoft has planned a Skype for Business Partner Airlift in Oslo and I am running it. For only 6 600 NOK you will get 3 days of technical training and 2 days exam prep. The airlift is designed to enable partners to understand and design the new workloads for Skype for Business in Office 365 with hands on. I will expand the content with my experience and I will share my thoughts on voice and video design in a cloud first world. We will cover

  • Cloud PBX
  • Meeting Broadcast
  • Hybrid Voice
  • Cloud Connector Edition
  • Network planning
  • Skype Operations Framework

Two days of exam prep for exam 70.334 is included as part of the airlift. Head over to the sign-up page today, limited seats are available:

Solved the auditorium style meeting scenario with Skype Meeting Broadcast

The challenge is to create a good experience in an audiotium and in the Skype Meeting Broadcast at the same time

When is this a challenge?


When you want to have a conference talk, all hands meeting, training or product update with a good experience in the on-site auditorium and in the Skype Meeting Broadcast stream

Why is this a challenge for audio?

If you need to use a microphone in the room there is often no way to get the same sound in to the computer you are using to stream the meeting. You may be in a location where you can not integrate equipment that will solve this problem. Using a speaker device will often not give a satisfactory experience since it picks up sounds in the room, echo and the speaker may feel distant and if not speaking loud enough the speaker may be noise cancelled

Why is this a challenge for presentation?

If you want to present a PowerPoint and combine with a demo you may encounter scenarios where application sharing may break if you are in the meeting from you presentation computer, You may want to demo Skype for Business that will disconnect the meeting or you want to show multimedia with a good experience in the room and a good enough experience in the stream

Two devices are part of the primary solution

  1. Zoom H4n Recorder with two mic in and two audio outh4n
    • 2x XLR inputs from the existing microphones in the room or a system you bring with you
    • The second input can be audio from your presentation computer when you want to show multimedia
    • One USB output that you can set as the audio device in your Skype for Business client with good quality and no interference
    • One line out mini jack that you can plug in to the speaker system to get good sound out in the room
    • Supplementary devices
      • DMS 70 Quattro
        • XLR mic output
        • Two wireless microphone for two speakers or QA in the room
        • Supports up to 4 microphones
        • Update: Seems like the DMS 70 is discontinued
          • An alternative can be the Shure BLX14 Dual Wireless Lavalier Microphone System With 2 x WL185 with a XLR merger like the
            Millenium SML 21.
          • I have not tested this setup, but it has the right attributes for it to work
      • Shure A15LA Line Adapter
        • Converts computer line out to microphone sound for a good audio experience in the H4n recorder
        • Regular audio sounds terrible without this adapter
        • Now you can output sounds from your presentation computer in to the stream
  2. Magewell USB Capture HDMI devicemagewell
    • Converts HDMI output from your computer to USB webcam input for your streaming computer
    • Requires two computers, one presentation computer and one production computer which is best practice for Skype Meeting Broadcast
    • Supplementary devices
      • Standard HDMI splitter for splitting the presentation computer HDMI signal and send it to the projector and to the Magewell device

Afterthought: You may want to have a separate production computer for webcam video of the speaker, then it will be a simple task for the producer to switch between the presentation video or the speaker video

Bringing it together

Below is a gif illustrating the devices connect