“Identity, Simplify, Automate-ify” - The three tenants of creating a Serverless IT Self Service Portal

By PowerShellMichael

Elevator Pitch

No pitch


“Identify, Simplify, Automate”

“Can I have access to?”, “I need this mailbox.”, “I need this software installed.”, “Can you please setup this new person?”, “David has left.”

These are common requests that IT service desks deal with every day. Wouldn’t it be cooler so that these requests could be automated? Well, it can!

To automate we need to focus on preparing your organization (“Identify” and “Simplify”) and infrastructure for automation. Once completed, we can effectively start “Automate”ing. In this session, we will be using these three tenants to create a successful “serverless” IT Service Desk Portal that is built correctly from the ground up. This portal will be combining different Microsoft technologies (Azure Functions, Automation Hybrid Runbook Workers, Teams, Graph, sprinkled with some HTML, CSS, PowerShell & C#) to automate Service Desk functions.

In this session will cover:

  • “Identify”

  1. Preparing your Organization for Automation.
  2. Overview of the Technologies
  • “Simplify”

  1. Preparing Active Directory / Azure Active Directory and RBAC
  2. Preparing your File Server /Hypervisors.
  3. Preparing Office 365/ Exchange.
  4. Preparing Hybrid Runbook Workers.
  • “Intermission (5 mins)”

  • “Automate”

  1. Setting up a Basic HTML Portal
  2. Creation of IT Self Service Requests
  3. (Discussion) How can we take this further?


I have seen “Automation” built in environments that cost more in technical debt (from Infrastructure/ Service Desk/ Business). This approach is a key to a successful product that can live for it’s intended lifetime. Myself and my colleagues, have used this approach to automation with great success (Reducing common help-desk tasks). I believe that this give us a unique insight that others can learn from.

Before a solution can be developed, this talk focuses on the two key components of automation: “Identify and Simplify”. It is also essential and key to the success of any business automation. This will be a combination of theory and demonstrations.

This is an advanced deep dive topic combining multiple Microsoft technologies to automate IT Self-Service tasks.

This solution will be built on the following framework:

  1. Portal Website (Powered by Microsoft Azure Functions) and Javascript
  2. Azure Functions (To Action Portal Tasks)
  3. [Azure Functions] Each Azure Portal Task Will require an Azure Durable Function (Written in C#) to process the request.
  4. [Azure Functions] Activity Functions will be written in PowerShell
  5. [Azure Automation] Automation Runbooks will be run in PowerShell
  6. [Microsoft Teams] Approvals will be granted using Microsoft Teams

During this series, all demos will be prerecorded to save time.

Technical Requirements: No technical requirements are needed since we will be working with pre-recorded demos.