Microsoft Ups Warnings on Yammer 'Native Mode' Migrations

Organizations using Yammer will have issues with coming "Native Mode" migrations if they have multiple or secondary Yammer networks, Microsoft announced on Tuesday.

Such organizations could lose data after Microsoft initiates Yammer moves to Native Mode, which will "start on 5/1/2023 and continue through 5/1/2024."

Here's Microsoft's characterization to that effect:

If you have secondary Yammer networks, you will lose access to all your secondary Yammer networks once you consolidate. Users from your secondary Yammer networks will be migrated to your primary network, but groups (communities) and data will be lost.

Microsoft is advising an export of data before the Native Mode migrations commence as a precaution.

The Native Mode Deadlines
The general notice that Native Mode would be coming appears to be stated in this September Microsoft announcement.

Back then, Microsoft had indicated that Native Mode moves would begin on "December 01, 2022, and continue the upgrades through October 2023" for smaller Yammer networks. That's the schedule for organizations, generally.

Update 11/2: However, the schedule is different and shifts to the May 2023 dates for organizations with multiple Yammer networks. This point was clarified by Audrey Hosford, a product manager on the Yammer and Viva Engage Native Mode migration effort, in a Wednesday e-mail. Here's that explanation:

Any customer that is already 1:1 is subject to automatic native mode migration starting on 12/1/22, but any customer in the 1:many state has until May 2023 to consolidate their networks and get into 1:1 under their own power -- at which point they become eligible for automatic native mode migration. If they do not consolidate on their own, we will consolidate those networks for them between May 2023 and May 2024, and then add them to the native mode migration pipeline. The May date is not an extension from December 1st, merely the earliest that we can push a network through consolidation (and the data loss that comes with it) that hasn't been initiated by the customer.

The effects of Native Mode migrations on organizations with secondary Yammer networks is the latest nuance in Microsoft's complex messaging about Yammer use. In essence, Microsoft is trying to integrate the Yammer app, which Microsoft acquired almost a decade ago, into Microsoft 365 services.

Native Mode is Microsoft's term for the Yammer service that's integrated with Microsoft 365 Groups management and Azure Active Directory, according to a talk on the topic led by Hosford.

Yammer in Native Mode is said to follow the same definitions for "organizational boundaries" as other Microsoft 365 apps. It also permits things like centralized management, Live events in Yammer, "document management through SharePoint, and "dynamic group membership" features per Microsoft's FAQ.

The main problem for Microsoft has been that some organizations were using Yammer in "Non-Native Mode" (essentially, Yammer Basic subscriptions, which aren't connected with Microsoft 365 services). Alternatively, they were using Yammer in "Hybrid Mode" (meaning it's not compliant with Microsoft's integration stipulations).

In its September announcement, Microsoft estimated that 90 percent of organizations using Yammer were already using Native Mode. It's maybe about 10 percent of Yammer users that are subject to the Native Mode migration precautions.

Native Mode Is 'Irreversible'
Organizations moving to Yammer Native Mode will lose some features, Microsoft noted back in September. The Yammer features that will be going away are:

  • Network-level guests
  • Email blocked lists
  • Secret groups

Moreover, any files associated with those features "will be deleted."

Worse, the Yammer Native Mode consolidation "is an irreversible process."

Also, consumer e-mail addresses used with Yammer won't be supported after a Native Mode migration, according to Hosford's presentation. Moreover, Yammer guests will have to be reinvited after the migration.

Microsoft To Initiate Native Mode Moves
Microsoft will simply shift organizations to Native Mode when it gets triggered generally next month, but Microsoft recommends that organizations make the move themselves in advance.

One issue for organizations with secondary Yammer networks is that Microsoft will pick the domain to be the primary one. IT pros, though, can tell Microsoft which one to use in advance, if wanted.

Any organizations needing a postponement from Microsoft's Native Mode migration schedule will need to "contact Microsoft 365 support to log an exception."

Some organizations may be waiting for cross-geo features to be available, which is expected to be available in 2023, according to Hosford's presentation. Also, Microsoft expects bulk uploads of CSV files to be available for Yammer community members sometime in 2023.

Microsoft offers a Native Mode Alignment Tool to help IT pros automate the process of aligning to Native Mode. It's deemed to be the first step to take to address the migration complexity.

Migrations to Native Mode can take about two weeks to complete for the largest Yammer network users. It takes about three days to complete for smaller organizations, according to the talk by Hosford.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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