Office 365 and Delays Enabling Directory Synchronization

I was attempting to enable directory synchronisation for Office 365 last week when I came across an error in the Microsoft Online Services Directory Synchronization Configuration Wizard.  The error stated:

“An error occurred. Error Code: 15. Error Description: Directory synchronization is not activated for this company.”

This error is shown below.

I was sure that I had activated directory synchronisation within the Office 365 portal.  After some investigation, it turns out that there is a delay in this activation process.  Here are the overall process details and the symptoms that you may see:


1. Log into the Office 365 portal

2. Under the Management section, select Users

3. Here you’ll see an option to setup directory synchronisation

4. If you click the setup link, you’ll be presented with a screen where you can activate directory synchronisation.

5. After you’ve activated directory synchronisation, this will be confirmed in the same screen.

6. Back at the Users screen, you’ll now see that you can ‘manage‘ directory synchronisation.

7. If you now run the Microsoft Online Services Directory Synchronization Configuration Wizard straight away, you may receive the error stated at the beginning of this blog post.

8. If you log out of the Office 365 portal and log back in again, you will see that the Office 365 portal states that directory synchronisation option is again available for ‘set up’ rather than ‘manage’, hence leading you to believe that directory synchronisation has not been enabled.


If you see this happen don’t worry, as there is a delay between selecting the option to enable directory directory synchronisation and the directory synchronisation process being available.  If you have enabled directory synchronisation then you do not need to enable it again; it will show as enabled in the portal once the background processes are complete.  The same issue will be seen if you use the Set-MsolDirSyncEnabled cmdlet rather than enabling directory synchronisation via the Office 365 portal.

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