How I as a Soccer Coach….

…..moved trainings and meetings online using the modern collaboration tools I know and love!

When I’m not working or fulfilling my community activities as MVP, I spend many evenings and weekends at the soccer field, where I’m coaching and managing a soccer team consisting of 14 year old boys.

Due to the Coronavirus situation, as in many countries also Norway has closed it schools, many businesses are either closed or working from home, and in general we are all following the rules of isolating to make sure the virus doesn’t spread. And of course, this has also resulted in closing all grass roots football, for the time being at least to the end of April. I quickly understood that I needed to think in new ways..

So I decided to use the tools I have at hand, and I created virtual follow ups using tools like Microsoft Teams, Forms, Power Automate and SharePoint Online among a few to help support the boys doing self practice and have Virtual team Meetings..

This blog post is a technical version of a LinkedIn article I wrote in Norwegian, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/hvordan-jeg-som-fotballtrener-jan-vidar-elven/, explaining more the reasons and why I set this up. In this post I will go more into the technical setup, and share some resources for those that want to learn or maybe do something similar themselves. Some of the screenshot images are in Norwegian, but you should be able to understand from my comments.

It all started with Microsoft Teams.. and a Form!

I knew already from before that Microsoft Teams would be more central in my daily work, but I also observed that my son and his classmates, that also plays on the aforementioned soccer team, use Teams themselves now for digital schooling at home. They have daily Teams meetings, as well as some online classes and homework delivery.

So I thought that I wanted to set up a player meeting on Teams, and later a meeting with their parents. This way we could have a social and digital arena to meet each other, as well as talk with the boys how we wanted them to do training with self practice at home. So the first thing was to invite to online meetings.

I knew that the boys already used Teams in school, but I needed to collect their school e-mail addresses. I also suspected several of the parents use Teams at their workplace, but not everyone, so I also needed to get an overview on that. So I decided to create a questionnaire in Microsoft Forms:

How I set it up:

I created a Form with the following inputs:

  • Name (Text). The person filling in the form.
  • Using Teams from before? (Choice). Yes, No and Don’t Know option for parents to answer if they use Teams already.
  • Parents, Teams e-mail address (Text). Their existing Teams work e-mail address or personal e-mail address.
  • Players, Teams e-mail address (Text). The Teams e-mail address they use at school.

In addition I used the club logo and customized the theme colors for the Form. Then I selected Share settings and selected so that “Anyone with the link can respond”. This will mean that all responses are anonymous, so that’s why I require that they type their name in the first input. Then I distributed the Forms link to the parents.

After I received all the responses, I created a Teams meeting invite to the players for the players online meeting, and a Teams meeting invite to the parents for the parents online meeting.

We were now ready for our inaugural online meetings!

Organizing Self Practice Trainings

Normally our soccer team practice at least 3 times a week, in addition to playing games or other activities. So before we had the online player meeting, a self practice training plan was created, focusing on 3 weekly trainings:

  • Conditioning (interval runs, with or without ball, dribbles, jumps and obstacles etc.)
  • Technique, Agility and Strength (ball possession, passing, runs, sprints, physical strength)
  • Endurance (long hikes and outdoor activity with family)

These training should be completed after plan where the boys will get approved attendance for each training they complete. To get a training approved they needed to self register a training form, as well as document by sharing pictures, video, screenshots of activity etc.

The players were shown examples of activities and drills they could complete themselves or with help of family. With this organization and training plan, the only thing that was missing was a system for registering self practice and how I could follow up on that.

I decided to create another Form. In this Form which the boys got a shared link to, they could register their name, date, self assessment, what kind of activity they did and type, provide a description and optionally register number of minutes and kilometres. They were also asked to send in documentation with video, pictures, etc.

This worked really great and next week we already had a lot of responses for completed trainings:

And from the media I received I could really see that the boys were doing their self practice:

How I set it up:

I created a Form with the following inputs:

  • Name (Text). The player name filling in the form.
  • Activity Type (Choice). Conditioning, Technique + Strength, or Endurance.
  • Date of Activity (Date).
  • Self Assessment (Rating). 1-5 stars where they could evaluate their own session.
  • Type of Condition (Choice). If they did conditioning work, what kind of interval (4×4, 60×60, 15×15).
  • Technique + Strength (Text, Long). Comment field for explaining how they did technique and strength work.
  • Endurance (Text, Long). Comment field for explaining what kind of long activity they did.
  • Number of Kilometres (Text, Restricted to Number). Optionally how many kilometres they practiced.
  • Number of Minutes (Text, Restricted to Number). Optionally how many minutes the activity lasted.
  • Sent media of activity (Choice). Yes or No for if they have sent picture, video or screenshot to our team e-mail address.

Also in this Form I used the club logo and customized the theme colors. Then I selected Share settings and selected so that “Anyone with the link can respond”.

PS! I was looking into a File Upload response in the Form, but this cannot be added to a Form that are shared externally. That is why I needed the boys, or their parents, to send their media files to our e-mail address in addition to the Form registration.

Following up on Registered Self Practice Trainings

With all those great responses coming in, I could look through the responses in Office Forms, and download an Excel copy of the responses, but I needed something more to follow up the trainings. So I created a private Team in Microsoft Teams:

Next I wanted to get all the responses from Forms into a SharePoint List. I created the List into the Teams SharePoint Site so that I could get all the registered self practice trainings in one place, and be able to do edits if needed. I also added some extra columns for approve the training and if there was sent media documentation:

Now the only thing I needed was some kind of automation that could bring every response from Forms over to this list: Enter Power Automate!

With the help of Power Automate I created the following Flow to automate that every time a new response is submitted in the Form, this would trigger the Flow:

Next I needed to do some magic on the number inputs, I’ll get back to that in the “How I did it:” section, but the Flow then created a new SharePoint List Item:

How I did it:

The first thing I did was to create the Team that would also host the SharePoint Online Site for my list. The Team was created in my own tenant as a private team, and I elected not to invite any player, or parent, to the Team as guests at this point.

The SharePoint list was created with the following columns to reflect the Form:

  • Renamed Title column to Name
  • Type of Activity (Choice, with the same values as from the Form)
  • Date (Date and Time, Include Time: No)
  • Self Assessment (Number)
  • Type of Fitness/Conditioning Activity (Choice, with same values as from the Form)
  • Technique + Strenght (Multiple Lines of Text)
  • Endurance/Long Actitivty (Multiple Lines of Text)
  • Sent Picture (Yes/No)
  • Number of Km (Number)
  • Number of Mins (Number)
  • Approved (Yes/No)
  • Submitted (Date and Time, Include Time: Yes)

After the list with all the columns was created, the next step was to create the Flow in Power Automate. You can create Flows directly from the SharePoint List, as shown below, and then use one of the provided templates:

Myself I started at https://flow.microsoft.com and selected to create a new Flow as Automated – from blank, and the selecting the trigger for “When a new response is submitted”:

After I give a name to the Flow and select which Form I want to trigger on responses from, I add an Action to get the response details, as shown below:

The next part is a little more complex. When a Form response is submitted, all response details will be provided as Strings. And if I try to update those values directly into the SharePoint list, it will fail because the Column require a number format. So I need to convert those string values to either Integer or Float respectively.

Power Automate have some Data Operation Actions I can use in Flows, and I have used the following three Compose actions, where I get the Self Assessment, Number of Km and Number of Min response details:

The Compose action will create objects I can refer back to later in the Flow. The next complex thing is that I need to check if there are any values for number of kilometers and minutes, and these Form fields are not required and can be empty. There could be several ways to do this, I did it this way:

As shown above, I first add an Action for Initialize Variable, and give it the name for AntallKm (Number of Km), and set the initial value to 0. I specify that the type is Float (as I want to have decimal values). Next I add a Condition action, where I check if the ComposeAntallKm is empty, meaning it is equal to false. I do this as an expression, where the expression is using the empty function and checking against the output from the ComposeAntallKM earlier: empty(outputs(‘ComposeAntallKm’))

If this condition evaluates to false, meaning that there has been provided a value in the Form, then the Flow will go to the If Yes action, and I convert the string to a Float value with the expression: float(outputs(‘ComposeAntallKm’)), I’ve tried to illustrate that with the green arrow below. This expression would have failed the Flow if I didn’t check if it was empty or not. If the value is empty, it would go to the If No action, and this is just empty because I then just let the value be the default 0 i provided when I initialized the variable (illustrated with the red arrow below).

Next in the Flow, I do the exact same logic for the number of minutes:

I’m now ready to update the SharePoint List with a new item. I select the SharePoint Online Create item action, and after specifying the Site and List name, I’ll choose most of the item values from the dynamic content picker. The Km and Minutes values are picked from the respective variable. And for Self Assessment, I do this with an expression consisting of the int function that converts the string to an integer from the Compose action further up.

For reference, my entire Flow at this point is shown below (collapsed without action details):

Take it to the Next Level – Teams Bot with Adaptive Card!

At this point I have a working solution where I get all new responses put in to the SharePoint List. I can now look through, edit and approve the registered trainings.

An even cooler solution would be that each registered training will be posted to the Team Channel as an adaptive card, where I can edit and approve and submit that back so that the list would be updated directly. That way I can follow up and check trainings in my Teams client on either my PC or Mobile, without needing to go to the SharePoint list.

So I added a couple of more steps to my Flow after the Create item action. First I added an action for posting an Adaptive Card to a Teams Channel and wait for a response, the next step was to Update the list item with the values.

I will go into more details later under the “How I did it” section, but the end result of this was that every time a player submits a new training activity, I will get this Adaptive Card in my Teams Channel, summarizing the details of the training and providing me with the ability to edit the player name in case they typed it wrong, update any values for km or minutes, and select yes or no for if the player has sent photos or the training is approved:

When I click the Update button, the values are submitted back to the Flow and the List item is updated.

How I did it:

Before I go into the Flow details on how to post adaptive card to Teams channel and process the response back, I want to show how I built the adaptive card.

Adaptive cards are posted as a JSON formatted message. You can read more about it here https://adaptivecards.io/, see samples and usage scenarios and more. There’s also a great resource called the Adaptive Cards Designer, https://adaptivecards.io/designer/, where you can build your own cards from blank or using one of the sample templates.

The designer lets you add controls and configure properties visually, while producing the JSON message you will need later. This is the design format of the card I ended up with, a little bit of Norwegian text here but you get the main idea, note that I have some placeholder values her, from where I will add data from my Flow later:

In the “Card Payload Editor” window you will see the JSON format you will need use in your Flow, and in the following snippet I’ll provide you with my JSON message for this example here for you to reuse or build on as you like:

{
    "type": "AdaptiveCard",
    "version": "1.0",
    "body": [
        {
            "type": "Image",
            "altText": "Borgen IL",
            "url": "https://borgensawebstorage.z6.web.core.windows.net/borgen_logo.png"
        },
        {
            "type": "TextBlock",
            "size": "Large",
            "weight": "Bolder",
            "id": "Title",
            "text": "Ny Egentrening Registrert!",
            "horizontalAlignment": "Left"
        },
        {
            "type": "TextBlock",
            "text": "Ny egentrening er registrert av <NAVN>.",
            "wrap": true
        },
        {
            "type": "FactSet",
            "facts": [
                {
                    "title": "Type Treningsøkt",
                    "value": ""
                },
                {
                    "title": "Dato",
                    "value": ""
                },
                {
                    "title": "Egenvurdering",
                    "value": ""
                },
                {
                    "title": "Økt beskrivelse",
                    "value": ""
                }
            ]
        },
        {
            "type": "TextBlock",
            "text": "Verifisering",
            "size": "Large",
            "weight": "Bolder",
            "color": "Attention"
        },
        {
            "type": "TextBlock",
            "text": "Verifiser treningsdata og eventuelt oppdater:",
            "size": "Small",
            "weight": "Bolder"
        },
        {
            "type": "TextBlock",
            "text": "Spillernavn",
            "size": "Medium",
            "weight": "Bolder",
            "color": "Attention"
        },
        {
            "type": "Input.Text",
            "value": "",
            "style": "text",
            "isMultiline": false,
            "maxLength": 50,
            "id": "Spillernavn_input"
        },
        {
            "type": "TextBlock",
            "text": "Antall Km",
            "size": "Medium",
            "weight": "Bolder",
            "color": "Attention"
        },
        {
            "type": "Input.Number",
            "value": "",
            "style": "text",
            "isMultiline": false,
            "maxLength": 20,
            "id": "AntallKm_input"
        },
        {
            "type": "TextBlock",
            "text": "Antall Minutter",
            "size": "Medium",
            "weight": "Bolder",
            "color": "Attention"
        },
        {
            "type": "Input.Number",
            "value": "",
            "style": "text",
            "isMultiline": false,
            "maxLength": 20,
            "id": "AntallMin_input"
        },
        {
            "type": "TextBlock",
            "size": "Large",
            "weight": "Bolder",
            "color": "Attention",
            "text": "Godkjenn",
            "horizontalAlignment": "Left"
        },
        {
            "type": "TextBlock",
            "size": "Small",
            "weight": "Bolder",
            "text": "Har spilleren sendt skjermbilde, bilde eller video?",
            "horizontalAlignment": "Left",
            "separator": true
        },
        {
            "type": "Input.ChoiceSet",
            "id": "input_media",
            "value": "1",
            "choices": [
                {
                    "title": "Nei",
                    "value": "false"
                },
                {
                    "title": "Ja",
                    "value": "true"
                }
            ],
            "style": "expanded"
        },
        {
            "type": "TextBlock",
            "size": "Small",
            "weight": "Bolder",
            "text": "Er egentreningen godkjent?",
            "horizontalAlignment": "Left",
            "separator": true
        },
        {
            "type": "Input.ChoiceSet",
            "id": "input_godkjent",
            "value": "1",
            "choices": [
                {
                    "title": "Nei",
                    "value": "false"
                },
                {
                    "title": "Ja",
                    "value": "true"
                }
            ],
            "style": "expanded"
        }
    ],
    "actions": [
        {
            "type": "Action.Submit",
            "title": "Oppdater"
        }
    ],
    "$schema": "http://adaptivecards.io/schemas/adaptive-card.json"
}

With that JSON message ready, I can now add the “Post an Adaptive Card to a Teams Channel and wait for a response” action to my Flow. I select my Team, and the Channel I want to post the adaptive card to, and then paste in the JSON message from the Adaptive Card Designer:


As you can see from the images above, I’ve added dynamic data from the Flow where I had placeholders for values. Note also that I use the values “false” and “true” for the Input.ChoiceSet, this will make it correct when I set the values back to the updated List item.

PS! Another important thing to note is the “id” property of the inputs I want to be able to update back to the Flow. This “id” property needs to be specified later.

The Update message is what will be shown back in Teams after the Adaptive Card has been updated and submitted back with the Action.Submit button. It will look like this:

After the card is updated, a response will be sent back to the Flow. So my next step would be to add a Update item action for updating the selected values in the SharePoint List. From here I will select the SharePoint Site and List Name, and then getting the Id for the existing list item I want to update. This Id is from the earlier action in the Flow from where I created the list item:

The values I want to update back in the List from the Adaptive Card Response is shown above with the blue Teams icon. I will have to specify these by adding an expression that looks like the following, as there are currently no dynamic output from the previous action I can select:

outputs('Post_Adaptive_Card_to_Egentrening_Teams_Channel_Wait_Response')?['body/data/Spillernavn_input']

Note the following from above, refers back to the action name (since I had blank spaces in the step name, I will have to refer back to it with underscore), and from the response body and data section I will refer to the “id” property of the adaptive card input.

Create similar expressions for the other inputs, and that should be it! The complete Flow step is now like this:

Summary and Next Steps

In this quite lengthy blog post I have shown how I built myself a great follow up solution for my soccer team self practice trainings. The boys find it easy to use, and I can use the tools and solutions I know and love for following up. I have also learnt quite a bit of new tricks and tips 😉

I also start to have some great statistics, I can summarize and rank the players so that I can create a top 10 list for example. And these ranks can be published to the boys, they do love a competition and this can motivate them to do some extra work. I have created this HTML table, that I update semi-manually now. I’m already working in the next Flow that will publish updates to this table automatically. So there might be a follow up blog post on this.. 😉

I hope this has been helpful or/and inspiring, reach out to me if you have questions, and remember the Power of the Flow 🙂

Azure Advent Calendar 2019 – Azure Information Protection

Today is 18th December and my turn to being part of the awesome Azure Advent Calendar. Thanks to Gregor Suttie (@gregor_suttie) and Richard Hooper (@Pixel_Robots) for this great initiative.

In today’s video, linked below, I’m speaking about Azure Information Protection (https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/information-protection/). I tried to keep the video under 30 minutes, but there is so much to talk about that I ended up doing a full 45 minute session. If you are new to Azure Information Protection, this will hopefully be a good start. If you already know a thing or two about AIP and RMS, you might pick up some tips and pointers as well. I will also go into the new functionality of Unifying Labeling, and look at some of the client experiences.

So with that, here is my contribution for Azure Advent Calendar 2019:

How to Use Azure AD Privileged Identity Management PowerShell and Graph API

A while back I wrote a blog post on how you could download, install and use a separate Azure AD PIM PowerShell Module for managing Privileged Roles, https://gotoguy.blog/2018/05/22/getting-started-with-azure-ad-pim-powershell-module/. With the recent update of the AzureADPreview Module, the cmdlets for managing Privileged Roles are now included in the module, so there is no longer required to install a separate module for this.

In this blog post I will explain and show how these commands can be used. These PowerShell CmdLets are also at parity with the Graph API, so I will also show equivalent methods for this.

Install or Update AzureADPreview Module

First you need to either install or update the AzureADPreview Module, so that you are running on version 2.0.2.27 or newer.

Update March 19 2020: Latest version of AzureADPreview Module is 2.0.2.85.

The AzureADPreview Module can be installed from PowerShellGallery using Install-Module or Update-Module, and you can verify which version you have installed using Get-Module <modulename> –ListAvailable like this:

image

With that requirement out of the way we can proceed to look at the commands.

Privileged Role Management Commands

Currently in the AzureADPreview Module, there are 13 commands related to Privileged Roles:

Get-Command -Module AzureADPreview | Where-Object {$_.Name -like “*privileged*”}

image

The new cmdlets in AzureADPreview Module 2.0.2.27 are documented here, https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powershell/module/azuread/?view=azureadps-2.0-preview#privileged_role_management.

Note that some of the above commands are not in that documentation, all the new commands have a *MS* which means it is mapped to equvivalent Microsoft Graph API’s.

In the interest of this blog post, here is a quick explanation of each of the available commands:

  • Add-AzureADMSPrivilegedResource. Use this API to add a new azure AD MS privileged resource.
  • Close-AzureADMSPrivilegedRoleAssignmentRequest. Cancel a AzureADMSPrivilegedRoleAssignmentRequest.
  • Get-AzureADMSPrivilegedResource. Get azure AD MS privileged resource.
  • Get-AzureADMSPrivilegedRoleAssignment. Get role assignments for a specific provider and resource.
  • Get-AzureADMSPrivilegedRoleAssignmentRequest. Get role assignment request for a specific resource.
  • Get-AzureADMSPrivilegedRoleDefinition. Get role definitions.
  • Get-AzureADMSPrivilegedRoleSetting. Get role settings.
  • Open-AzureADMSPrivilegedRoleAssignmentRequest. Create a role assignment request.
  • Set-AzureADMSPrivilegedRoleAssignmentRequest. Update a role assignment request.
  • Set-AzureADMSPrivilegedRoleSetting. Update role setting.

The other 3 Privileged Role commands that are still available to use, but currently are not documented are:

  • Get-AzureADPrivilegedRole. List all Directory Roles available for Privileged Roles assignments.
  • Get-AzureADPrivilegedRoleAssignment. List active and eligable privileged role assignments.
  • New-AzureADPrivilegedRoleAssignment. Creates a new privileged role assignment for specified role and user.

Further on in this blog post I will provide some more examples and usage scenarios for the new Azure AD Privileged Role Management commands, and their equivalent Microsoft Graph API methods, but first something on the difference between Azure Resources and Azure AD, upcoming changes and current limitations in the PowerShell commands.

Azure Resources vs. Azure AD

As you might know, Azure AD PIM can be used for managing privileged role assignments to both Azure AD roles and Azure Resources:

image

The new PowerShell commands that follows the syntax verb-AzureADMSPrivilegedRole…. all require a parameter called ProviderId, which as per today only support “AzureResources”. This means that currently you can only use the new Azure AD PowerShell commands for managing PIM for Azure resources, not for Azure AD roles yet! I had this confirmed with the Microsoft Program Manager for Azure AD PIM, as you can see from the conversation https://twitter.com/stevemsft/status/1143977432690466816?s=20 and shown in the below image:

image

This is related to the following notice from the Azure AD PIM Microsoft Graph documentation, stating that Azure AD roles will move to the Azure resource API in the coming months:

image

Update March 19 2020: Tenants are now starting to get migrated to the new Azure AD PIM provider similar to Azure Resources. If you log in to your tenant and see the following info in the Privileged Identity Management blade, then you can also use the new Azure AD provider, as I will show in the examples below:

As the new PowerShell commands are built on Microsoft Graph, this also means that they will work for Azure AD roles depending o the move to the Azure resources API.

Explore Privileged Azure Resources

image

There are two commands for exploring and adding Privileged Azure Resources:

  • Get-AzureADMSPrivilegedResource –ProviderId AzureResources
  • Add-AzureADMSPrivilegedResource –ProviderId AzureResources
g-raph

Their equivalent Microsoft Graph API methods are (Beta endpoint only as per july 2019):

  • List: GET /privilegedAccess/azureResources/resources
  • Get: GET /privilegedAccess/azureResources/resources/{id}
  • Register: POST /privilegedAccess/azureResources/resources/register

Getting or listing Privileged Resources is based on that you have onboarded to Azure AD PIM for Azure Resources, as explained here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/active-directory/privileged-identity-management/pim-resource-roles-discover-resources. You can also add a privileged resource by ExternalId, which I will show an example of later.

To get a list over all privileged Azure resources, just run:

Get-AzureADMSPrivilegedResource –ProviderId AzureResources

This will return a list (capped at max 200 results), with the Id, ExternalId, Type, DisplayName and more for each resource that have been registered to Azure AD PIM:

image

As mentioned above the list is capped at max 200 results, which is a Microsoft Graph limitation for this privileged resource API. You can use the –Top parameter to specify a lower number of returned results, like –Top 50,  but it will just ignore and cap at 200 if you for example type –Top 300.

So to return fewer results we can use the –Filter parameter which support Odata query. I have tried some different combinations, and not all will work as expected. Some examples of working filters:

Get-AzureADMSPrivilegedResource -ProviderId AzureResources -Filter “Type eq ‘resourcegroup'”

Get-AzureADMSPrivilegedResource -ProviderId AzureResources -Filter “Type eq ‘subscription'”

Get-AzureADMSPrivilegedResource -ProviderId AzureResources -Filter “DisplayName eq ‘elvsabootdiag001”

Get-AzureADMSPrivilegedResource -ProviderId AzureResources -Filter “startswith(DisplayName,’rg-‘)”

image

What I found DON’T work is filters for specific resource types like:

Get-AzureADMSPrivilegedResource -ProviderId AzureResources -Filter “Type eq ‘Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines'”

..or any other specific resource type like Microsoft.Network/loadBalancers, Microsoft.Network/networkSecurityGroups, etc., which I find is a bit strange as I would like to filter on those as well.

If you know the specific resource id you can also get that privileged resource object directly:

Get-AzureADMSPrivilegedResource -ProviderId AzureResources –Id <resource id>

Lets compare this to the Microsoft Graph API methods, using Graph Explorer. To list all managed Azure Resources I run the GET /privilegedAccess/azureResources/resources like this:

image

Which pretty much returns the same list of resources and attributes as I did when running the PowerShell command. There is one important change though, and I mentioned earlier that the PowerShell command would only return max 200 results. In the Graph response I will receive a skip token from where if I run that I will get the next set of potentially 200 more results, and so on.

Graph can also handle filters of course, so lets try that. Here are some variations you can try out:

GET /privilegedAccess/azureResources/resources?$filter=type eq ‘resourcegroup’&$top=5

GET /privilegedAccess/azureResources/resources?$filter=displayName eq ‘rg-auth-dc’

GET /privilegedAccess/azureResources/resources?$filter=startswith(displayName,’rg-‘)

And if you want to get a specific resource with Graph, just specify the id like this:

GET /privilegedAccess/azureResources/resources/ad7327ba-50f4-4f03-a4ee-029f310b6775

Which will return the specific resource in the response:

image

Last, to add a resource as a managed resource to Azure AD PIM, using PowerShell can be done like this:

Add-AzureADMSPrivilegedResource -ProviderId AzureResources -ExternalId “/subscriptions/<your-subscription-id>”

And via Graph:

POST /privilegedAccess/azureResources/resources/register

Request Body:

{
“externalId”: “/subscriptions/<your-subscription-id>”
}

These commands are just to get a list of and adding managed Azure resources for Azure AD PIM, i the next parts we will look into actually managing assignments and settings.

Explore Role Assignments

image

The following command can be used for listing or getting specific role assignments for Azure resources:

  • Get-AzureADMSPrivilegedRoleAssignment –ProviderId AzureResources –ResourceId <resource id>
g-raph

The equivalent Microsoft Graph API methods:

  • List: GET /privilegedAccess/azureResources/resources/{resourceId}/roleAssignments
  • List: GET /privilegedAccess/azureResources/roleAssignments?$filter=resourceId+eq+'{resourceId}’
  • List (Mine): GET /privilegedAccess/azureResources/roleAssignments?$filter=subjectId+eq+'{myId}’
  • Get: GET /privilegedAccess/azureResources/resources/{resourceId}/roleAssignments/{id}
  • Get: GET /privilegedAccess/azureResources/roleAssignments/{id}?$filter=resourceId+eq+'{resourceId}’
  • Get (Mine): GET /privilegedAccess/azureResources/roleAssignments/{id}?$filter=subjectId+eq+'{myId}’

Now that seems a lot of different variations for Graph calls for the one PowerShell command, but as you will see later Graph can be a little more flexible in querying in different ways.

Lets see some samples for PowerShell first. Now we need to supply a resource id, that can be subscription object, a resource group object, any type of resource objects like virtual machines, virtual networks and so on, and even management group objects. So based on the commands previously shown in the blog post, we should be able to get out the resource id’s first, for example like this:

$myResource = Get-AzureADMSPrivilegedResource -ProviderId AzureResources -Filter “DisplayName eq ‘NetworkWatcherRG'”

Get-AzureADMSPrivilegedRoleAssignment –ProviderId AzureResources –ResourceId $myResource.Id

So this returns a list of role assignments for the specified resource, each assignment has its own id, as well as the ResourceId, the RoleDefinitionId (which role that has been assigned, like reader, contributor, owner, etc), SubjectId (which user, service principal, group, etc has been assigned the role). In addition we can get info on any linked eligible assignements, start and end time for assignements, assignment state and if the assignment is active or not, or if the type is inherited or assigned directly to the resource.

image

Basically the above command returns the same as this blade in the Azure Portal:

image

Explore and Manage Role Assignment Requests

image.png

The following command can be used for exploring and managing role assignment requests:

  • Get-AzureADMSPrivilegedRoleAssignmentRequest. Get role assignment request for a specific resource.
  • Open-AzureADMSPrivilegedRoleAssignmentRequest. Create a role assignment
    request.
  • Set-AzureADMSPrivilegedRoleAssignmentRequest. Update a role assignment
    request.
  • Close-AzureADMSPrivilegedRoleAssignmentRequest. Cancel a
    AzureADMSPrivilegedRoleAssignmentRequest.
g-raph

The equivalent Microsoft Graph API methods:

  • GET /privilegedAccess/azureResources/resources/{resourceId}/roleAssignmentRequests
  • GET /privilegedAccess/azureResources/roleAssignmentRequests?$filter=resourceId+eq+'{resourceId}’
  • GET /privilegedAccess/azureResources/roleAssignmentRequests?$filter=subjectId+eq+'{myId}’
  • GET /privilegedAccess/azureResources/roleAssignmentRequests/{id}
  • POST /privilegedAccess/azureResources/roleAssignmentRequests
  • POST /privilegedAccess/azureResources/roleAssignmentRequests/{id}/updateRequest
  • POST /privilegedAccess/azureResources/roleAssignmentRequests/{id}/cancel

Explore and Manage Role Definitions and Settings

image.png

The following commands can be used to get and manage role definitions and settings:

g-raph

The equivalent Microsoft Graph API methods:

  • GET /privilegedAccess/azureResources/resources/{resourceId}/roleDefinitions
  • GET /privilegedAccess/azureResources/roleDefinitions?$filter=resourceId+eq+'{resourceId}’
  • GET /privilegedAccess/azureResources/resources/{resourceId}/roleDefinitions/{id}
  • GET /privilegedAccess/azureResources/roleDefinitions/{id}?$filter=resourceId+eq+'{resourceId}’
  • GET /privilegedAccess/azureResources/resources/<resourceId>/roleSettings
  • GET /privilegedAccess/azureResources/roleSettings?$filter=resourceId+eq+'<resourceId>’
  • GET /privilegedAccess/azureResources/roleSettings/{id}
  • PATCH /privilegedAccess/azureResources/roleSettings/{id}

Speaking at Experts Live Europe 2019

I’m very happy to announce that I will back speaking at Experts Live Europe 2019! I got 2 sessions to present this year, and I really look forward to go to Prague in November and be a part of this great community conference for the 7th time in a row! Read on for some more details, history and perspectives on why you should attend this conference also.

Experts Live Europe, SCU Europe & Me

This years event is the third edition under the name “Experts Live Europe”. Before that it was known as System Center Universe Europe, or just SCU Europe. The first edition of SCU Europe was in Bern, Switzerland, 2013. I went there because I wanted to attend a European based conference with focus on Datacenter Management after it was announced that Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) would be no more. I was immediately blown away by the community experience, great speakers and content. I made some contacts and friends I’m still happy to see and meet again today.

Of course I had to make it to the 2nd and 3rd editions of SCU Europe that were held in Basel, Switzerland, in 2014 and 2015. Speakers, sessions and community was as good or better as the first conference in Bern, and content was starting to focus more on Microsoft Cloud. Myself I was intrigued and motivated to be a bigger part of this community, and started submitting sessions proposals to be a speaker myself.

In 2016, SCU Europe moved out of Switzerland and to Berlin, Germany. And this year I was one of the speakers! I was so proud when the opening keynote video introduced this speaker from Norway, you can by the way see all those opening videos at https://www.expertslive.eu/history. The conference being in Berlin meant a much easier travel from Norway, and this time around I was able to bring some colleagues and customers along. We had a great time:

At the end of the 2016 conference it was announced that the name SCU Europe will be no more, from 2017 the conference would be named Experts Live Europe, being part of the Experts Live network of global community conferences (www.expertslive.org).

In 2017 we were back in Berlin and I was accepted as a speaker again :). Once again we traveled as a group of colleagues and customers, and had a great time enjoying the excellent content and community.

In 2018, after all 5 previous conferences had been in a city that started with the letter “B”, it was announced that Experts Live Europe 2018 was to be held in the beautiful city of Prague, Czech Republic. For the third time in a row I would be one of the Experts again. Prague is also easy to travel to from Norway so we once again went as a group.

And that brings us to 2019, where we go back to the excellent Prague Congress Center, 20-22nd of November! I’m once again very proud to be speaking at this great community conference, and my record of 100% attendance for every SCU/ExpertsLive Europe record is intact, 7th time in a row now :).

My Sessions

As previously mentioned, I will be delivering two sessions at this years Experts Live Europe. And for the first time I will hold a session together with the one and only Samuel Erskine. This session should be both informative and entertaining!

My session with Sam is titled “Same old System Center.. but how can we hook up the Cloud and make it hot again!”. As System Center 2019 was released earlier this year, and with updates from Ignite, we will look into how System Center 2019 can go from “same old, same old..” to integrating with the Azure Cloud Platform and make System Center hot again!

My second session is named “Manage Identity Lifecycle and Access Control with Azure AD Identity Governance”, in which we will focus on how to manage identity lifecycle and make sure users have the right access at every time using Identity Governance solutions in Azure AD.

You can see the complete agenda for all the sessions here: https://www.expertslive.eu/agenda.

Community Rocks!

The thing I love most with ExpertsLive Europe is the really strong community of experts, sponsors and attendees. Beside the sessions and pre-conference itself, a big part of the value of attending is getting to know new people, connect again with people you have met before, learn, discuss and ask questions, get answers and be followed up with the best of the MVP’s and Community leaders out there. I started out standing in the corner and slowly started interacting with the community members, and now feel I have made many friends and being part of this great community myself. I really want to say hi to you in Prague, either if you are attending one of my sessions or you see me in the expo area, at the VIP party or attendee party.

Hope to see you there, and if you’re still not signed up, you can still register at http://www.expertslive.eu!

Speaking at Evolve Conference!

I’m delighted to announce that I will be speaking at Evolve Conference in Birmingham, 21st of October! Evolve Conference is a free Microsoft 365 and Azure Conference, and if you live near or are able to travel to Birmingham on monday there is still time to register: https://www.evolveconf.co.uk/.

Evolve, previously known as UC Day UK, is a one day conference covering a range of interesting topics on Microsoft 365 and Azure, delivered by top notch speakers from UK and abroad.

I have been lucky enough to present at this event on 2 occasions before, and I have been blown away at both the amount of sponsors and attendants making this a great community event.

I will be presenting a session on “Mastering Azure AD B2B Guests”, which will provide you with all the info you need for taking control of B2B collaboration in your organization.

Hope to see you there, and please come and say hi if you do!

Explore Microsoft Graph as a B2B Guest Account

The Microsoft Graph Explorer (https://aka.ms/ge) is always a great learning source and useful tool for querying the Microsoft Graph, especially as you can use your own Azure AD work account or Microsoft account to query for real data. Another advantage with the Graph Explorer is that you can use it without requiring an App Registration in your tenant, something most users are not able to do themselves as they don’t have the administrator rights for registering apps.

However, sometimes working with Microsoft Graph, I find myself in a scenario where I want to use my own work account, but where the Microsoft Graph resources I want to query is in another Organization’s tenant. These kind of scenarios is usually where my account is invited as a B2B guest user to the resource tenant, and currently there are no way to use the Graph Explorer tool to do that.

So I need another tool, and as an IT pro I could easily write myself some PowerShell code, or as a developer I could create a Web app or Console app querying Graph, and run the queries against the other tenant from there.

On the other hand, I want to do this more inline with the Graph Explorer experience, so the most logical choice for me is to use a tool where I can just run the REST API queries I like. And the most popular tool, both by me and many others are the “Postman” client. You can get it yourself for free at https://www.getpostman.com, both Windows, Linux and Mac downloads are supported!

So in this blog post I will show how I use Postman to query Microsoft Graph in a B2B Guest User scenario.

Requirements & Preparation

So, first you will need to get invited to another tenant where the resources you wan’t to query is. You might already have this Azure AD B2B invitation accepted previously. If you aren’t an administrator in that tenant, you will have to ask someone that has the rights to invite to do that for you.

Next, you will need to get assigned permissions to the resources you want to query in the resource tenant. This is all dependent on what kind of queries you want to run, whether it is for reading, writing or deleting resources for example.

Then, you will need an Global Administrator in that resource tenant to create an App Registration. The following instructions and screenshots can be used as a guide:

First, under the Azure AD experience in the Azure Portal, go to App Registrations and create a new Registration, type a name and a redirect URI like shown below:

image

You can type any name you like, for example in this scenario I want to use it for querying identities. I choose to support accounts in this organizational directory only, as this app registration is for members or guests from this tenant. And since I will be using the Postman i specify the redirect URI of “https://www.getpostman.com/oauth2/callback”. This is important as when I authenticate from Postman later the response will be returned to the Postman client.

When accessing Microsoft Graph you have to authenticate using one of the Oauth2 flows, and the most common is using authorization code flow, (https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/graph/blogs/30daysmsgraph-day-12-authentication-and-authorization-scenarios/), which is exactly this scenario is all about as I will authenticate on behalf of my guest user account in the resource tenant. That means that I will have to add some delegated Graph permissions to the app registration, and in this example I add User.ReadBasic.All, this will make me able to query users via Graph:

image

After granting Admin consent for the permissions, I can verify that the permissions are added correctly:

image

Next I will need to create a client secret to be used in the request to get an access token, go to certificates & secrets and add a client secret of chosen time expiry:

image

Copy and make sure you save the client secret for later next:

image

Then copy the application id and tenant id and save for later:

image

Click on endpoints (see arrow above), and note the Oauth2 authorization and token endpoints (v2), this endpoints contains the tenantid:

image

With these steps the requirements are complete and we can move on to the postman client.

Authenticating and Querying Graph with Postman

There are a lot of features in the Postman client that you should look into when working with REST API’s. You can organize your queries in Collections, save variables in Environments, synchronize your requests across devices and so on. But for now we will start simple and easy.

In the main canvas at your workspace, create a new query, and for example start with https://graph.microsoft.com/v1.0/me:

image

Don’t push Send just yet, we need to authenticate first. Go to the Authorization section under the request, and select Oauth2, then click Get New Access Token:

image

In the following dialog fill in your details as shown below, where:

  • Token Name: You can type what you want here, this is named reference to the Access Token you will aquire.
  • Grant Type: As earlier mentioned, running graph queries as the logged in user (delegated) use the Authorization Code Oauth2 flow.
  • Callback URL: This is the URL that you specified earlier for Redirect URI under the Azure AD App Registration.
  • Auth URL and Access Token URL: These are the URL’s you saw earlier from the Endpoints setting for the Azure AD App Registration (contains the Tenant ID).
  • Client ID: This is the Application ID for the App Registration.
  • Client Secret: This is the secret key you generated under the App Registration.
  • Scope: Provide a default scope, use the default.
  • State: Scope is used for creating application logic that prevents cross use of Access Tokens. You can type anything you want here.
  • Client Authentication: Select to Send client credentials in body when working with Graph requests.
image

When you click request token, you will be taken to the resource tenant for authenticating with your delegated user. Type in your username and click next. This username can either be a normal user that belongs to this resource tenant, or in this case you can log in with your B2B Guest Account:

image

Now dependent on any Conditional Access policies and settings you might be required to approve sign in:

image

After successfully authenticating I should receive a valid Access Token:

image

If you get an error here, please verify your App Registration settings and that the account you logged in as is correct.

Scroll down and click Use Token:

image

You will see that the Access Token is now filled in the Access Token textbox. Next click Preview Request down to the left, this will add the Access Token to the request as a authorization header:

image

If you click on Headers, you can see the Authorization header has been added with the access token as a Bearer Token value:

image

This Access Token is now valid for 1 hour, and you can run as many requests you like as long as you are inside the delegated permissions (for the App Registration) and the logged in users actual permissions. After 1 hour you can request a new Access Token.

PS! Postman will save the authenticated user session in cookies, if you want to log in as a different user clear those cookies, se “cookies” link right below the Send button.

So, now lets run this query, click Send at verify the response, you should get details for your guest user. From the screenshot below you can clearly see that this user is a Guest account looking at the userPrincipalName attribute:

image

Lets try another query, in this query I list all users that has userPrincipalName that starts with “Jan”, and showing only the displayName and userPrincipalName attributes:

image

As you can see from the result above, I have several guest accounts in this tenant (Microsoft Account, Google, Azure AD) as well as a normal user account. You can also see that the Postman client is helpful in specifying my parameters.

Inspecting a B2B Guest Access Token

If you copy the Access Token you got earlier, and paste it into a site like jwt.ms or jwt.io, we can take a look at the access token contents and claims:

image

If I scroll down a little I see the displayname of the App Registration, but the most important info is the mail claim, which for Guest users will be the external e-mail address. Idp is the source authority for the Guest account, in this case another Azure AD tenant with the Tenant Id as shown below:

image

Working with Environments

Chances are that you might work with several environments in Postman, and that where it’s useful to create environment variables. For example create an environment like shown below:

image

That way you can select which environment you want to work with when running queries, and when referencing variables use “{{ .. }}”. For example under Get New Access Token, change to this:

image

Now, lets finalize this blog post by logging in with another guest account, I will choose my Gmail account, I’ve already set up Google Federation and invited this user to my tenant.

First I need to clear the cookies:

image

Next I will click to Get a New Access Token again, and then authenticate as my Google account, which directs me to the Google login page:

image

After successfully authenticating, and using the new Access Token in the Authorization Header, I can run the basic /me query again, this time showing me that I’m now authenticated to Graph with my Gmail user:

image

And looking inside the Access Token again, I can see that the e-mail address is my gmail and the idp is now google.com:

image

If I had logged on with a Microsoft Account the idp value would have been “live.com”.

Next steps

So, now you know how to authenticate to and query Microsoft Graph with an Azure AD B2B Guest User. I really hope this functionality will come to Graph Explorer eventually, but for now Postman is already an awesome free tool for organizing and running your Microsoft Graph queries that I use a lot myself.

The Microsoft Graph Team has also published this source for a lot of useful collections of Graph queries:

https://github.com/microsoftgraph/microsoftgraph-postman-collections

Get and Set Automatic Replies like OOF with Microsoft Graph

Hi, a short blog post this time as Summer Vacation 2019 is here shortly! And on that note, the topic of the post is to show how you can get and set automatic replies with Microsoft Graph. Automatic replies, previously known as Out of Office (OOF) messages is a mailbox setting for each Exchange Online enabled user.

The Microsoft Graph API documentation for mailbox settings is located here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/graph/api/user-get-mailboxsettings?view=graph-rest-1.0&tabs=http, and besides automatic replies you can also get and set locale (language and country/region), time zone, and working hours.

But for now we will only focus on automatic replies, using the automaticRepliesSetting resource type: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/graph/api/resources/automaticrepliessetting?view=graph-rest-1.0.

This resource type has the following settings:

{
   "externalAudience": "String",
   "externalReplyMessage": "string",
   "internalReplyMessage": "string",
   "scheduledEndDateTime": {"@odata.type": "microsoft.graph.dateTimeTimeZone"},
   "scheduledStartDateTime": {"@odata.type": "microsoft.graph.dateTimeTimeZone"},
   "status": "String"
 }

Let’s look at some different samples, and I will use Graph Explorer (https://aka.ms/ge). Please note that every end user already have user permission to get or set their own mailbox settings, but you need an Exchange Admin role to get or set the settings for other users in your organization. In addition, if you create your own app registration for Microsoft Graph, you need to make sure the app has either MailboxSettings.Read or MailboxSettings.ReadWrite permission.

In Graph Explorer, after you sign in with your work account, you can modify these permissions if needed:

image

After signing out and in again you will be prompted to consent, if you havent already:

image

Get Current Mailbox Settings

To get your own current settings you can run the following:

GET /me/mailboxSettings

In Graph Explorer this would look like this, and you might have some previous values set here. In my example automatic replies have a status of disabled:

image

To get another users mailbox settings you can run the following (but then you must be an Exchange Admin):

GET /users/{id|userPrincipalName}/mailboxSettings

Simple Update of Status

Lets see how Microsoft Graph can be used to change the status value, there are 3 different settings:

  • disabled. No automatic replies are sent.
  • alwaysEnabled. Automatic replies are sent as specified.
  • scheduled. Automatic replies are sent if between a specific time period.

First, change the method i Graph Explorer to PATCH:

image

Then you need to supply a request body. This sample is just for enabling automatic replies:

{
    "@odata.context": "https://graph.microsoft.com/v1.0/$metadata#Me/mailboxSettings",
    "automaticRepliesSetting": {
        "status": "alwaysEnabled",
    }
}

So paste that body to Graph Explorer and then Run Query:

image

You should then get a successful response. Likewise you can set the status to “disabled” again, or to “scheduled”. But using scheduled means that you must set some datetime values as well.

Set Scheduled Automatic Replies

To set scheduled automatic replies, in your request body include the resource types scheduledStartDateTime and scheduledEndDateTime. You can read more about that resource type here, including available time zones: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/graph/api/resources/datetimetimezone?view=graph-rest-1.0. This is a sample specifying a scheduled automatic replies:

{
    "@odata.context": "https://graph.microsoft.com/v1.0/$metadata#Me/mailboxSettings",
    "automaticRepliesSetting": {
        "status": "scheduled",
        "scheduledStartDateTime": {
            "dateTime": "2019-07-15T08:00:00.0000000",
            "timeZone": "Europe/Berlin"
        },
        "scheduledEndDateTime": {
            "dateTime": "2019-08-09T16:00:00.0000000",
            "timeZone": "Europe/Berlin"
        }
    }
}

Customize internal and external reply messages

The last part is where we put it all together, specifying the following values:

  • internalReplyMessage: Plain text or HTML formatted message sent to all internal users in your organization as the automatic reply.
  • externalReplyMessage: Plain text or HTML formatted message sent to all external users as the automatic reply, but depending on this value:
  • externalAudience: If “none”, no external users will get automatic replies, if “contactsOnly” replies will only be sent to users in your contacts, and if “all” every external user will get a reply.

So this is a working sample of a complete request body:

{
    "@odata.context": "https://graph.microsoft.com/v1.0/$metadata#Me/mailboxSettings",
"automaticRepliesSetting": {
        "status": "scheduled",
        "externalAudience": "contactsOnly",
        "internalReplyMessage": "<html>\n<body>\n<div></div>\n<div>Hi, I'm enjoying summer vacation 2019. I'm back at work August 12th!</div>\n<div><br>\n</div>\n<div>Kindly Regards</div>\n<div>Jan Vidar Elven</div>\n<div></div>\n</body>\n</html>\n",
        "externalReplyMessage": "<html>\n<body>\n<div></div>\n<div>Hi, I'm enjoying summer vacation 2019. I'm back at work August 12th!</div>\n<div><br>\n</div>\n<div>I'll only read e-mails intermittently, and rarely respond before I'm back. Please contact management if anything urgent business needs follow up. Contact info on our website.</div>\n<br>\n</div>\n<div>Kindly Regards</div>\n<div>Jan Vidar Elven</div>\n</div>\n<div></div>\n</body>\n</html>\n",
        "scheduledStartDateTime": {
            "dateTime": "2019-07-15T08:00:00.0000000",
            "timeZone": "Europe/Berlin"
        },
        "scheduledEndDateTime": {
            "dateTime": "2019-08-09T16:00:00.0000000",
            "timeZone": "Europe/Berlin"
        }
    }
}

In Graph Explorer:

image

And I can verify in my Outlook settings:

image

Summary and Usage Scenarios

Beside that it is always fun to learn something new about the Microsoft Graph, and automation, the reality is that for many users they will just click to enable or disable automatic replies directly in their Outlook client, both Office Outlook, Outlook Mobile and Outlook on the Web supoorts this. Finding out how to do it with Graph took me just under 2 hours, including writing this blog post. But then again, I learned something new! And I picked up a couple of more tips and tricks on different JSON Request Body constructs 😉

Anyway, in a bigger picture, Graph API is great for customizing, integrating, reporting and automating, so if your organization maybe have create a vacation calendar, you could use the Graph API to automatically enable or disable out of office replies, this is just one example, many more will exist. Please share with me in the comments if you have done or plan to do something with this or similar.

Smile

But first: Summer Vacation 2019! And I’m all set with automatic replies !