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Group site for developer blogs dealing with (usually) .NET, SharePoint, Office 365, Mobile Development, and other Microsoft products, as well as some discussion of general programming related concepts.

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Corey Roth [MVP]

A SharePoint MVP bringing you the latest time saving tips for SharePoint 2013, Office 365 / SharePoint Online and Visual Studio 2013.

March 2018 - Posts

  • Understanding Site Collection creation with Microsoft Teams

    When you create a new site Microsoft Team, it creates a site collection for you rather quickly.  In general, it's ok to start working with this site collection right away.  You can upload files or do whatever you need.  However, you might have noticed before that certain menus are not available in Site Settings right away. and you can't do other administrative actions such as "Change the Look".  I started looking into this after I created a new Team and then started using Sharegate to move files there right away.  Sharegate gives me an error message that I don't have the necessary permissions to use Insane Mode.  This is no fault of Sharegate, something clearly wasn't ready yet in Office 365.

    Screen Shot 2018-03-15 at 10.02.07 AM

    I created the Team so shouldn't I be a site collection administrator?  I was confused because this was right after I successfully migrated files to a different Team that I had created last week.  It turns out even though I created the Team, I am not a Site Collection owner…yet.  The administration options are simply not there. That's because you don't have access yet. 

    I don't fully understand it, but after digging around in PowerShell, I do understand it a bit more now.  I went into SharePoint Online Management Shell and used Get-SPOUser on the site. 

    Get-SPOUser -site | Select LoginName, IsSiteAdmin

    Looking at the results, you can see that no one is a site collection admin.

    Screen Shot 2018-03-15 at 10.01.40 AM

    I suspected, I needed to wait and see what happens.  I knew my other Teams worked fine, so hopefully this one will work soon as well.  I came back about 40 minutes later, just shortly past the hour.  I then ran the same PowerShell command.  This time, the results were different.

    Screen Shot 2018-03-15 at 10.02.42 AM

    Notice how the GUID named account, ce738800-2aff-4c9f-b2cd-2b0521aa8a77_o, now is listed as a site admin?  Interesting.  After comparing the results of another Team, my account wasn't listed there as a Site Collection admin but everything there worked fine.  I decided to go back and try my migration.  Sure enough it worked.  I could use Change the Look now to change my site theme and all of my links were available on the Site Settings page now too. 

    I'm pretty sure what happens is that there is a job that runs once an hour at the top of the hour (although I am not really sure) that goes and sets permissions after the fact whenever you create a Team.  If you run into this issue, just be patient and everything should work shortly.

  • How to: Use QnA Maker with Azure Function Bots

    I have been working with bots a bit lately and wanted to share some of my experiences.  QnA Maker makes it really easy to built a bot to serve up a knowledge base based on simple question and answer pairs that you populate it with.  After you publish your knowledgebase with QnA Maker, it's a bit tricky to figure out what to do next.  When you click Publish, you get a screen like this.

    Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 10.19.30 AM

    While this is useful information if you were going to interact with your bot directly via REST.  It doesn't tell you how to turn this into a bot.  In fact if you look for information on how to do this with an Azure Functions Bot, you'll find very little on it.  That's because all of the documentation and examples out there tell you how to do it with Bot Framework / Bot Service which is deprecated in lieu of the new Azure Functions Bot or Web App Bot. That's why I created this post to walk you through it.

    Start by creating a new Functions Bot or Web App Bot.  The difference really just depends on how you want to pay for your consumption.  If you are just experimenting, I would probably go with a Functions Bot.  You can find both under AI + Cognitive Services.

    Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 10.37.34 AM

    You'll need to give your bot a unique name.  You'll select the typical things like the Location, Azure Storage account, and Resource Group.  The key things you want to set are the Pricing tier and the Bot template.  For Pricing tier use F0 which includes 10K Premium Messages

    Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 10.40.47 AM

    For the Bot template, click on it choose either C# or Node.js and be sure and choose Question and Answer.

    Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 10.40.13 AM

    You also want to set your Hosting Plan.  I am going with Consumption Plan but this is really up to you.

    Once your bot is provisioned, we now need to adjust a few settings.  This part used to be clearer with the old Bot Service stuff.  Click on Application Settings.

    Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 10.46.35 AM

    Now we need a few values from QnA Maker.  Remember the publish screen?  It has the values we need.  We need the values for QnAKnowledgebaseId and QnASubscriptionKey.

    Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 10.19.30 AM

    You can find QnAKnowledgebaseId in the GUID of the first line of the POST statement.  So in this case, mine is 73d71520-4c66-45ee-8fbf-acfeef3d1b05.

    You can find QnASubscriptionKey in the third line Ocp-Apim-Subscription-Key.  In this case, mine is 9343c969f7ab4ac28b559c87ae6eb3d0.

    Now we need to set these values in our Application Settings at the very bottom of the list.

    Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 10.53.32 AM

    That's all you need to do.  Once you have configured those settings, your QnA bot is ready to go.  Try it out for yourself!

    Posted Mar 09 2018, 10:55 AM by CoreyRoth with no comments
    Filed under: ,
  • How to survive partnership renewal in the new Microsoft Partner Center

    If you managed the Microsoft partner relationship for your company, you know what the old Microsoft Partner Portal was like.  Every time I had to use it, I cried.  Microsoft recognized the problem and has come out with a brand new Partner Center.  While ultimately, the transition is a good thing, making the transition can be a bit bumpy.  Our partnership was up for renewal on 2/28/2018, so I had the distinct pleasure of requalifying our competencies on the new system

    Shift from Microsoft Account to Azure Active Directory

    In the old partner center, you logged in with your personal Microsoft Account.  This made sense to a degree because these are the same accounts that your consultants are using for Microsoft Learning and to take their exams.  Now everything is tied to your Azure Active Directory.  When you log into the old partner portal, you will be notified of the transition to the new partner center and it will tell you everything you need to make the transition.  It might be a bit more than you expected.

    Global Administrator Credentials Required

    That's right.  To make the change you need to be a global administrator of your Azure Active Directory.  For a small company like mine, that's no problem.  For a company with 5000 consultants, this is going to be an issue for you.  You are going to have to track that person down and convince he or she that you need to go through this process.  Good luck with all of that.

    Where did all of my competencies and benefits go?

    That's right they are gone in the new Partner Center.  When you click on Partnership -> Benefits, you will get a message that says:

    Benefits are not available yet.

    Awesome.  Will they be available soon?  Do I come back later?  No you have no benefits, because you lost all of your competencies in this process.  Why did you lose all of your competencies?  That's because of the change to Azure Active Directory.

    Importing Users

    When you click on View Users, you won't see the people in your org that have passed exams and associated themselves with your organization.  instead, you will see everything in your Azure Active Directory. 

    Now, if you weren't on Azure Active Directory yet, this makes things even more interesting.  We were actually in the process of moving from G Suite to Office 365.  We had an Azure Active Directory because of some Azure subscriptions, but none of our users were there yet.   Well, the Partner Center has created a process to create new accounts for any of your users associated in the old partner portal.  You just have to know where to find it.  On the User Management page, look for the link Add users using PMC data.  That's obvious right?

    Screen Shot 2018-03-07 at 8.18.33 AM

    On the next screen, it will show you what the account conversion process looks like and you have the opportunity to update account names.  When you continue, each user will get an e-mail with their account information just like the one from Office 365 when a new account is created.

    Screen Shot 2018-03-07 at 8.31.40 AM

    Action Required - Link your Microsoft Learning Account

    Your competencies are gone because there is no association between the old Microsoft Accounts of your consultants and their Azure Active Directory accounts.  Each user must log into the Partner Center URL below and then click on My Profile.  Then they have to click Associate next to Your Microsoft Learning account.

    Screen Shot 2018-03-07 at 8.44.12 AM

    After they do that, any exams they have completed will start counting for your competencies.  However, it may take up to 24 hours for them to show up.  For a small organization, this might not be a big deal.  For a large organization, you may have to have hundreds (or even thousands) of people complete this process.  Good luck with that!

    Completing Your Competencies

    The Partner Center will automatically assign users to the relevant competencies. 

    Screen Shot 2018-03-07 at 8.49.54 AM

    However, if you are in the middle of qualifying for a particular competency, it's not obvious that people with their certifications are counting towards the competency until you have completed it.  Take a look at the example below.  We're in the middle of qualifying for Gold, but it doesn't show it.

    Screen Shot 2018-03-07 at 8.47.54 AM

    In fact, it will only show it once you achieve it.  What's even more confusing is that on the main page, it will list it as "Not Started".  The only way to see what exams are actually counting for what is to click on the Download Skills Report link at the top.  This will give you a CSV file that has the name of each MCP in your org, what exam they have passes, and what competency it counts for.

    Screen Shot 2018-03-07 at 8.51.29 AM

    Old SharePoint Exams still count

    Even though they aren't on the list, my SharePoint 2013 exams have qualified our org for the Cloud Productivity competency. 

    Screen Shot 2018-03-07 at 9.17.24 AM

    No Customer References Required

    Missing in the new Partner Center is the process that tracks customer references.  You no longer appear to need this to get your partnership.  I can't say I am missing this one bit.

    Getting your benefits

    Again, to access your benefits in the new portal, you have to requalify all of your competencies.  Otherwise, you have to access your benefits using the old portal.  Once you do qualify and you pay your fees for whatever partner levels you are purchasing, you can access your benefits from this portal.  It comes with benefits for Software, Cloud, Visual Studio Subscriptions, and Technical Benefits (Support).  You get licenses for a variety of software that you likely don't need any more with the shift to the cloud.  However, it does cover your Windows 10 licenses. For Silver, you get 10 Visual Studio Enterprise subscriptions.  Here is what the cloud benefits look like.

    Screen Shot 2018-03-07 at 8.53.41 AM

    Although we ran into a few snags along the way, I do think the new Partner Center is a good thing.  It's way easier to use and the change to Azure Active Directory makes a lot of sense.

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