Provision Microsoft Teams with Azure Automation – Part I

Provision Microsoft Teams with Azure Automation – Part I

I am a big fan of Azure Automation and its helpful capabilities around provisioning and administrating around Office 365 and its components such as SharePoint, Office 365 Groups or Microsoft Teams. In this little series I want to show you how you can provision your Teams with Azure Automation in a quick and simple way but the same would be scalable to a much more complex solution depending on your needs.

Inspired by a video from Paolo Pialorsi I wanted to establish some base runbooks in Azure Automation for provisioning Microsoft Teams. In the past I did lots of them for Sharepoint Online and Office 365 Groups.

As always striving for the latest and greatest I wanted to omit the two-step approach that also Paolo is showing in his video: First create an Office 365 Group and then enhance this Group to a Team. And indeed there is at least a beta Api in Microsoft Graph for directly creating a Team, based on an existing template:

The pattern is quite simple and similar to any other POST request, you need to

  • Care for authentication by creating a token and providing it in your request header
  • Create a body to provide information for the object to be created
  • Execute a POST request by handing in the header and body

While the token creation is similar to others and shown in the video of Paolo as well lets have a detailed look at the request body:

  "template@odata.bind": "'standard')",
  "displayName": "My First Team",
  "description": "My First Team’s Description",
  "owners@odata.bind": [

The first thing I missed here was a “mailNickname” or alias. I checked and tried out but you cannot provide that this way, at least at the moment, you need to rely on what Microsoft creates from your requested displayName. While on Groups provisioning I clearly preferred to give the user a chance to enter own wishes.

The second thing I found out (and here I moved away from Microsoft’s example in the beta documentation, as that wasn’t working) that you need to provide a user Guid. Same in Groups by the way if you want to provide at least one owner from the start (what you should!). So a user Guid for sure is no good idea to request from a user directly so we need some additional lines of code but lets come to that right now:

At first we connect against Microsoft Graph. A simple way to do that is with PnP PowerShell of course. I assume you already registered an app for creating Groups as documented here and we already grabbed our id, secret, domain (see later in another runbook). After connecting we get our access token and put that in a header object.

Next we come to the problem with the user Guid. Here we assume our user request provides a login name. With a simple Graph request we get the corresponding user and it’s id which we store in a variable.

Next we can fill our requestBody from above. Not only with the user Guid but also with displayName, description and also our template. I won’t go into details here but there are several Microsoft templates available and you can even override properties of the available templates. One problem we have are the escape charaters ” which enclose the template name!

"template@odata.bind" = "'standard')"

As in the next step we convert the just created body object to Json this wouldn’t work if we wouldn’t pipe the Json creation to a regex method called Unescape from Microsoft’s standard regex class. I found this simple but effective tip in another blogpost.

ConvertTo-Json -InputObject $teamRequest | % { [System.Text.RegularExpressions.Regex]::Unescape($_) }

The final thing now should be to invoke a Rest request of type Post to the teams Url and providing our just created header and body. We do that and store the response in another variable.

We would expect now to have our most recent created team in a variable and could use it’s Id to request it and do further things with that. Unfortunately this is the next insufficiency in the beta version we currently use: It returns NOTHING.

So for reasons of completeness I added some “weak” lines of code to get the “latest” Team created with our requested displayName. For sure such a method wouldn’t be 100% reliable. But hopefully this gets fixed before this Api is supported for use in production.

Finally I would start to show my regular concept on provisioning with runbooks: I always use a modularized approach because I hate PS scripts with tons of code lines. So I always use one parent runbook to be called that calls further runbooks for significant steps in my provisioning process usch as:

  • Create my site/Group/Team (that runbook I showed above)
  • Provision my artefacts with PnP Provisioning
  • Post Provisioning stuff, modifications where I need additional code and what doesn’t work with PnP Templates
  • Have Shared or Helper runbooks to be called from different runbook modules …

So in our case here is a simple parent runbook that calls the just mentioned “Create” runbook, retrieves back the created Team’s Id and processes this further.

First we grab our assets such as Graph access credentials and store them in $global:variables so we have them available in all called (sub) runbooks as well in case we need to share variables …

That was it for now. Hopefully there will be some progress with this Api on Teams creation soon. I will observe it and potentially update this post by then.

In the next part I will show you the approach which is already available for productional use (v1.0 Graph Api) to first create a Group and then a Team out of it and further modify the just created Team. There you will see additional things to note when handling Provisioning with Azure Automation runbooks. So stay tuned.

Markus is a SharePoint architect and technical consultant with focus on latest technology stack in Office 365 and SharePoint Online development. He loves the new SharePoint Framework as well as some backend stuff around Azure Automation or Azure Functions and also has a passion for Microsoft Graph.
He works for Avanade and is based in Munich.
Although if partially inspired by his daily work opinions are always personal.

4 thoughts on “Provision Microsoft Teams with Azure Automation – Part I

  1. Hi Markus,
    nice work. Just one hint: if you use invoke-webrequest instead of invoke-restMethod for POST requests, you will get a response body. It’s not a graph api issue.
    Best regards, Lutz


    1. Thanks for the hint, Lutz. Will give that a try.
      But I also remember those days I was creating the post that I verified inside “Graph Explorer” that no response was given.
      Maybe this changed, too, meanwhile?


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