Microsoft 365

Microsoft ‘Bookings with me’ (and all the other auto-booking options)

Microsoft released Bookings several years ago which was a great solution that originated from the small business side, allowing customers to book times with a company such as a hairdresser; anywhere that having timeslots available against one or more employees made sense.

This expanded out to Enterprise users, and I used it myself to provide external people a way to book time with me easily. Through a link, they would get taken to a portal with some basic options I’d configured, and based on my own calendar’s availability plus the options (such as 1 hour meetings between 10am and 2pm), anyone with that link could create a meeting with me.

The catch was that someone would need to configure this in a Microsoft 365 tenant, which created another account and a special calendar to manage this. A user couldn’t set this up themselves if things like Group Creation are restricted.

This is where Bookings with me comes in. Currently available worldwide in preview (July 2022), if enabled on your tenant and you have any of the below licenses, you can enable and starting using Bookings with me:

  • Office 365: A3, A5, E1, E3, E5, F1, F3
  • Microsoft 365: A3, A5, E1, E3, E5, F1, F3, Business Basic, Business Standard, Business Premium

Meeting organising options

There’s 4 native Microsoft solutions I’m aware of (beyond Scheduling Assistant in Outlook for Microsoft 365!):

FindTime

Scheduler and Cortana

Bookings

Bookings with me

FindTime is available as an Outlook add-in or can be accessed via https://findtime.microsoft.com/. It’s designed to be used contextually when you’re trying to organise. Tell it who you want to invite, pick several time options (and if you have their free/busy, it will firstly show times everyone is available), send out the invite. Recipients vote on which times work for them, and once the votes are in, a meeting is booked. An online guide is available talking through all this and if you aren’t already using FindTime, I highly recommend checking it out.

Cortana can also organise a meeting for you using Scheduler. In an email, you tell Cortana to book at meeting without any special commands, and she sorts it out with everyone. I need to play with this one more, as it sounds too easy to do! Watch the video here to get a better idea how it works.

Bookings creates a special calendar that can be used by other people to book time with you. They go to a webpage and select from options you’ve configured, and it’ll create a meeting. This can be with 1 or more people, or from a selection of people.

Bookings with me is like a lighter version of Bookings, and it’s in the name – it can only be with you, but similar booking rules can be created, and the other person books you through a web page.

The original Microsoft Bookings can be accessed by going to your Outlook mailbox and down the left side, click the ‘b’ logo:

This will take you to a page where you can get started with Bookings.

However, Bookings with me is different and can’t be accessed that way. Instead, go to your calendar on Outlook for the web, and if available/allowed in your tenant, there will be a ‘Create bookings page’ link you can use – or just try this link: https://outlook.office.com/bookwithme/me

Once there, you’ll be presented with two options; public, and private.

Both of these options create rules on what will appear for people to be able to book with you, the difference being one everyone can see, and the other only viewable with a specific link. Good if you want to give certain people extra options/special access/longer meetings and so on.

Regardless of the choice you pick, the options shown are the same, and you can change your mind once you’re in it anyway between public and private.

The options are fairly self explanatory here, you can decide if it’s a Teams meeting or not, how long the meeting will go for, and if you want buffer or lead times.

It’s worth just creating a very basic meeting option, because it takes a little while for your Bookings with me page to get created (roughly 5-10 minutes for me, others have reported up to 30 minutes):

When done, you’ll then have the option to be able to share your Bookings page.

The link will be unique to your page. Here’s what someone clicking the link sees:

Note that consumer Microsoft accounts aren’t supported – it’s a work or school account, or guest. Once in, you’ll then see the meeting types and times available for each type:

You’ll be asked for basic details – Name and Email are mandatory, with notes letting the person hopefully tell you why they want the meeting. A guest needs to verify their email address with a verification code, and then both parties receive the meeting invite.

That’s really it. A simple idea that’s executed well. It’s a hugely useful way of letting people book a time with you and not needing to go back and forth around availability. The other options at the top of this post are better ways when there’s more people involved at your end, but for what it’s trying to achieve, I use it as much as I can.

Regardless of which option you pick – avoid trying to manually organise meetings if you can’t see everyone’s availability for yourself!

Microsoft Viva replaced MyAnalytics emails

Today I noticed for the first time, that the MyAnalytics emails that were coming through weekly, showing where your time was being spent, emails you may need to respond to etc had been replaced by Microsoft Viva. There’s also a post in TechCommunity covering this in detail.

The previous MyAnalytics emails would come in weekly, and be broken up into different editions – Wellbeing, Focus, Collaboration or Network edition. This new monthly digest indicates Microsoft Viva is the way forward. Note that this still works the same way as MyAnalytics where the contents of the email are private to you, and do not come as a normal email that would be trackable (more details in my MyAnalytics article)

The new emails still (for now) link back to the https://myanalytics.microsoft.com/ domain which again for now, shows the message that it’s becoming Microsoft Viva:

That ‘Learn more’ link takes you here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-au/microsoft-viva/insights/?s=mya with some details around Microsoft Viva. One of the main links there takes you to Viva Insights on Teams, which is the Insights addin option that’ll show up on the left menu and take you to the Viva Insights Home page.

The Stay Connected tab is worth checking out, as it will highlight email conversations it thinks are things you need to do, or highlight people (team members for me) that you don’t have a 1 on 1 meeting scheduled for the next twk weeks.

Going back to the web page for Microsoft Viva, there’s a lot more content then when I looked when it first launched. One section I thought was notable was under Network, you can see your Top Collaborators and their read percent and response time of emails.

My point on all this, is that there’s a lot going on here. People may find it and have questions around it, especially when these emails are generated to all staff by default. Someone may have stumbled across the ‘Delay Delivery enabled’ option and turned it on, then forgotten about it later, complaining about emails being slow to get to customers or clients:

What we’re seeing above with Microsoft Viva and MyAnalytics (now Viva Insights) is only a part of the full Microsoft Viva solution too – there’s also Viva Connections, Viva Topics and Viva Learning:

Viva Connections and Viva Insights are generally covered under an existing license, but Viva Topics and Viva Learning are at an extra cost.

Migrating Phone System from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams

I thought I’d document a few lessons learned in this migration. The migration was from Skype for Business Server 2015 and Skype for Business 2016 clients with Enterprise Voice, moving users across to Microsoft Teams.


The steps to migrate a user for me were:

  1. Add user to AD Group “Azure AD Licensing Telstra Calling for Office 365” as this allocates a Telstra Calling for Office 365 license. These licenses are bought from https://marketplace.telstra.com/ and feed into Microsoft 365. I believe this is unique to Australia.
  2. From Skype for Business Server Management Shell:
    $cred=Get-Credential
    $url="https://adminau1.online.lync.com/HostedMigration/hostedmigrationService.svc" (different links here for different countries)
    Move-CsUser -Identity [email protected] –Target sipfed.online.lync.com -MoveToTeams -Credential $cred -HostedMigrationOverrideUrl $url

    set-csuser -identity [email protected] -LineURI $null
  3. Form a machine with the Teams PowerShell Module installed:
    $Session = New-CSOnlineSession -OverrideAdminDomain yourdomain.onmicrosoft.com
    Import-PSSession $session –AllowClobber
    Set-CsOnlineVoiceUser -Identity [email protected] -TelephoneNumber 61812341234
    Grant-CsTeamsUpgradePolicy -PolicyName UpgradeToTeams -Identity [email protected]
  4. Configure call forwarding in Gateway (Pilot Users only that were being given a new number out of our normal number range)

EHR Error on Teams Portal

We can’t get details of EHR usage. Please try again. If you continue to have problems, contact Microsoft customer support.

Seeing this error everywhere on the Teams Admin portal, unsure what the cause/fix is yet. It ended up disappearing by itself after a few weeks *shrug* – you’ll see this theme is common around portal errors.


Dial Plans error


We can’t get the effective dial plan so the dial plan can’t be tested.

Going into any Dial Plan brings up this admin portal error, as well as trying to run a Test Dial plan test:

Something went wrong while testing this phone number. If you continue to have problems, contact Microsoft customer support.

This problem was another portal issue – logged a case which Microsoft confirmed was at their end, and a few weeks later they’d resolved it.


Create Resource Account error

We can’t save changes to ___

When creating a Resource Account used for Auto Attendant or Call queues, I was getting a very unhelpful error. I believe this is because I’m running in hybrid mode, so Teams can’t create an account on my primary domain – changing the domain to @contoso.onmicrosoft.com then let me create the Resource Account.

This problem also disappeared later and now I can create accounts on my primary domain – put it down to another portal issue.


Desk Phones requiring PIN

Phones would be registered in Intune, because they’re running Android – and that means any ‘all user’ Android policy would apply.

I’ve since created Dynamic Device Groups and filtered by DeviceModel and DeviceOSType – only testing the Poly CCX500 at this stage, but will add more models as we get them. Also filtering by OStype which is not really necessary, but does make sure it’s only Android devices affected.

(device.deviceModel -eq "CCX500") and (device.deviceOSType -eq "Android")

If you use a test account 20 times, that account will hit its device limit in azure and get locked out.


Skype for Business users unable to call Teams users

Early in migration, we tested interoperability between the two platforms, as it wasn’t going to be an overnight company wide migration. A Skype for Business user trying to call a migrated to Teams user would instead get diverted elsewhere. This was because we had Unassigned Number range rules in place, that were designed to send calls somewhere if it wasn’t allocated to anyone. Removing these rules immediately fixed this issue.


Home Screen on Desk Phones Laggy

The default experience if the phone supports it, is to show a home screen. More details on what the Home Screen is here. This is in CsTeamsIPPhonePolicy with the default value ‘AllowHomeScreen’ set to ‘EnabledUserOverride’. Changing this to Disabled via the PowerShell command:

set-CsTeamsIPPhonePolicy -allowhomescreen Disabled

removed this. I like the idea of the Home Screen, but not at the cost of a fast functioning phone vs a slow one.

I later found out this is due to the 1GB RAM on some devices, and Teams now (at the time of writing) uses > 1GB RAM, and then the Home Screen uses even more RAM. Trying a phone model with 2GB RAM this all worked perfectly.

I believe this is also fixed now, but it took Microsoft about 5 months to resolve.


New Desk Phones not signing in

Testing the Poly CCX500 model, some wouldn’t sign in to Teams out of the box. As soon as I tried to sign in, they’d say:

‘Error Could not sign in. You will need to sign in again. If you see this message again, please contact your company support. OK’

I spent so long on this, unsuccessfully trying to update the firmware via USB etc. In the end, turning off the ‘DHCP Time’ setting under ‘Device Settings’ made it work – I assume it had some problems contacting a NTP server (settings appeared correct in the DHCP scope of the phone). Someone else found the same issue here, but this was due to the phone running a very old v1 firmware. This shouldn’t affect most people, but worth noting.


Device Limit Reached – Intune Company Portal App

Device limit reached – You have added the maximum number of devices allowed by your company support. Plesae remove a device from the Azure portal or get help from your company support.

There’s a limit to the amount of devices you can register for the Intune Company Portal app.

To fix this, yes you’ll need to remove a device attached to your account. This is not done via Outlook for Web, where you can remove devices – that’s purely for Outlook. It’s also not done via https://myaccount.microsoft.com/device-list as it’s not removing it from Azure.

As per Microsoft Documentation , there’s Intune device limits, and Azure device limits. Intune / EndPoint Manager has a maximum of 15 devices, where Azure has a default of 20, but can be changed to a few different values, including ‘unlimited’.

Intune / Endpoint Manager Device Limits
Azure Device Limits

To remove devices from a user, and admin should use Azure Active Directory and go to Users > Find the user > then under Manage, choose ‘Devices’. Any old device (check by the activity date) can be selected and deleted.

After removing enough devices here, you should be able to register the new device via the Intune Company Portal app again – and in my testing, this was next to instant.

Microsoft Forms now has a shorten URL option

Such a basic thing, but great to see. As per this Forms Uservoice suggestion, Microsoft Forms now has a ‘shorten URL’ option. It’s still rolling out right now (March 2021) but it turned up in my tenants. You’ll find it under the Share menu, and then under ‘Send and collect responses’ :

The tick box is called ‘Shorten URL’:

Before ticking this box, the Forms URL for sharing looks like this:

https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=gp6jfCyryEOFjHcqjfOQaicaufj5P4hCmrpZg_pruFhUNUFYSUlQMFEwRjVRNkZPUDBLOFYwUUtRVy4u

After ticking the box, it takes about a second or so to update, then looks like this:

The resulting link is of course, shorter. It also looks a lot nicer:

https://forms.office.com/r/Qca3qTjcMu

It’s nice to see a much more usable URL come out of Microsoft Forms, and still on the forms.office.com domain without having to resort to a third party URL shortener service.