Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Evaluating Distribution list to Office 365 Groups Migration

Microsoft is encouraging customers to adopt Office 365 Groups more and more instead of using simple distribution lists. So much so that when you try to create a DL in Office 365 Exchange admin, the UI to create an Office 365 Group pops-up first :-)   ..and from there you can navigate to the UI to create a simple DL.

The distribution lists in Office 365 tenant can be migrated to Office 365 Groups. This can be done either through the Exchange admin center UI or through Powershell scripts.

Through User interface :

From the Exchange admin, select the Distribution list from Groups and click the “Migrate to Office 365 groups” button

This will upgrade the disctribution list or it will show an error if the DL is not eligible to be migrated. 

Eligibility critera :

Not all types of Distribution lists can be migrated to Office 365 Groups. Here is the documentation that explains what type of DLs are eligible and not eligible for upgrade.

Old documentation ?

At the time of writing this, the documentation in the above posted link mentions that the Moderated DLs and DLs with send on behalf setting cannot be upgraded, however I found this inconsistent. These two types of DLs CAN be upgraded and looks like the documentation is not updated (?)
I posted a query on tech community forum and from the response I gathered that the documentation will be updated soon

I will try and update this post as and when I find that the documentation on Office support site is updated.

PowerShell approach :  

Microsoft has provided Powershell scripts that evaluate the distribution lists in your tenant and provide a report of eligibilty as to whether the DLs can be migrated to Office 365 Groups or not
I decided to do an evaluation considering a couple of scenarios. From exchange online I created 6 distribution list each satisfying the below criterias

  •  DL with send on behalf setting
  •  Moderated DL
  •  Simple DL with users
  •  DL with external contacts : Mail user and mail contact
  •  Nested Parent-Child DLs

The scripts are available to be downloaded from the Microsoft documentation, You need to connect to the Exchange online in your tenant and then execute the script. On executing the Get-DlEligibilityList.ps1 two files are generated - Open the output files in excel (though these are TXT files)

Evaluation reports 

 DlEligibilityList.txt : This file lists all the DLs and whether it is eligible to be upgraded or not along with reasons and some other useful information such as

-          Owner of the DL
-          Member count
-          Reasons if the DL is not eligible.


      Again, as specified in earlier above section, the DLs with send as behalf and moderated DLs are eligible and CAN be migrated.

       MailUniversalDistributionList.txt : This file contains the properties/settings of the Distribution list and indicates whether the DL is nested in some other DL or not

What happens to the Distribution lists with external “Mail user” or “Mail Contact”

I have a added few external email IDs as Mail user and Mail contact in Exchange online. I created two Distribution lists, one having a Mail user and one having Mail contact.

When you try to upgrade a distribution list with a Mail contact, it fails with the following error as indicated by the the eligibility report.

When you try to upgrade a distribution list with a Mail user, it upgrades successfully. The external mail user is added as a member to the new Office 365 Group.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Office 365 Groups ecosystem Part 4 : External users and group email settings

Office 365 Groups ecosystem Part 1 - The Basics
Office 365 Groups ecosystem Part 2 - Office 365 Group Team site and permissions
Office 365 Groups ecosystem Part 3 - Create groups from several UI options

External users can be added as "Guests" to the Office 365 Group. Here are the details of what guests can and can't do in the group. Only users outside the organizations can be added as "Guests", users that are a part of organizations can be invited and added as regular members.

The external user receives an email and is registered in Office 365 if the user wishes to collaborate in the group.

Email settings for Office 365 Groups :

Office 365 Group email settings can be administered from the Exchange admin. Navigate to the Office 365 Admin center -> Exchange Admin and Groups

This will show you the groups in Exchange, Your Office 365 groups will also be displayed here. Double click on the group or select and click the Edit icon to change the settings of the group in detail

Can external users send emails to Office 365 groups ?

By default, the users outside your organization cannot send email to the Group mailbox. You can edit this setting from the general tab as shown.

Office 365 Groups ecosystem Part 3 : The O365 group team site and permissions

Office 365 Groups ecosystem Part 1 - The Basics
Office 365 Groups ecosystem Part 2 - Office 365 Group Team site and permissions
Office 365 Groups ecosystem Part 4 - External users and group email settings

As we saw in the first post, a team site gets provisioned automatically when a new Office 365 group is created. The team site has a "Modern" look and feel. The site can be navigate either through the "Browse Library" link in the Files section or through the "Site" link from the Office 365 group.

Private group team site :

A quick view of the permissions on this site can be seen through the link in the settings wheel and a detailed view can be seen from the link "Advanced permission settings"

The site has default members, visitors and owners groups. The Office 365 group itself is added as a security group to the Members in the SharePoint site and has "Edit" permission level on the site collection.

Public group team site :

The Members group of a Public group team site has "Everyone except external users" added to it. This enables any users in the organization to collaborate in the public group.

Who is the owner of this team site ?

The user who creates the Office 365 Group is provided Full control access through the "Owners" group on the team site. Though I could not see that user when I navigated to the Owners group, this appears to be a bug (?) and may be fixed in the next updates.

What happens when a user is directly added to the team site SharePoint groups ?

When a user is added to the team site group (Members/Owners/Visitors or custom group) directly, the user does not become a part of the Office 365 group. When the user navigates to Outlook, he/she will not be able to see the Office 365 Group user experience even though they would be able to work with the team site separately.

Search :

At the time of writing this, the documents from a Private Office 365 group do not appear in the search results. This feature is in the road map and will be rolled out. Refer to the Office 365 road map to keep updated with this. 

Office 365 Groups ecosystem Part 2 : Create groups from several UI options

Office 365 Groups ecosystem Part 1 - The Basics
Office 365 Groups ecosystem Part 3 - Create groups from several UI options
Office 365 Groups ecosystem Part 4 - External users and group email settings

Apart from creating a group from Outlook as shown in Part 1, Office 365 Groups can be created from several other options, few available for Admins and a few available to the users. You can manage the creation of Office 365 Groups in your tenant, refer the Microsoft article : https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Manage-Office-365-Group-Creation-4c46c8cb-17d0-44b5-9776-005fced8e618

For Admins

There are other types of 'Groups' available in Office 365 which you will come across while creating an "Office 365" group as an Admin.

Confusing ?!! Here is a list

1. Distribution list
2. Mail enabled security group
3. Security group
4. Distribution group
5. Dynamic distribution group
6. Office 365 Group -> We are dealing with this :)

Create Office 365 groups from :

- Office 365 Admin center - shown in Part 1 of this post.

- Azure Portal

- Exchange online admin center

For Users :

The users can create groups from Outlook, OneDrive, People and Planner. The UI experience for creating a group from all these portals is almost the same except for Planner. An Office 365 group is automatically created when a user creates a new Plan in the planner hub.

The groups created through any of these options are provisioned with the full features of Office 365 groups like team site, calendar, notebook, planner etc.