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Microsoft Working To Bolster Viva Help for IT Pros

Microsoft on Wednesday described its recent efforts to help IT pros with various Microsoft Viva problems, including the dreaded "Native Mode" migrations that may have affected some organizations.

Native Mode migrations are associated with Microsoft's effort to switch organizations from using the Yammer Communities app to using its replacement, namely the Viva Engage module.

Microsoft started the switch to Viva Engage in August for organizations that had already prepped for Native Mode, but had warned organizations beforehand that they should prepare for this change. The switch might be particularly problematic if organizations had been using Yammer in so-called "Non-Native Mode" or "Hybrid Mode." These latter two modes lack some Microsoft 365 and Azure Active Directory capabilities that are needed by Viva Engage.

Microsoft had previously described moving these Non-Native Mode and Hybrid Mode implementations to Native Mode starting on "5/1/2023" through "5/1/2024."

A Native Mode Alignment Tool is available to help IT pros automate the process of aligning to Native Mode. However, it seems that IT departments have had issues carrying out such migrations.

Native Mode Migration Controls
Microsoft's Wednesday announcement hinted at a Native Mode migration delay, plus greater migration controls, would be coming at some point to help organizations get to Viva Engage.

Here's how that notion was expressed in the announcement:

The product team has since created a process to delay automatic migration giving customers more control and answered questions directly on a live webinar. In the coming months, we expect there will be further enhancements to the automatic migration process, which will simplify the process for admins.

The actual controls, as well as the exact timing of their availability, weren't characterized, though.

Viva Connections First-Run Problem Addressed
Microsoft addressed a problem where some users of Viva Connections were steered through the "first-run experience" repeatedly after Microsoft Teams sign-ins. The first-run experience (a series of initial setup screens) is now disabled for Viva Connections as a workaround.

Microsoft is working on a better solution.

"The Viva Connections product team has since disabled the first run experience and is looking to bring back a new first-run experience in the future that will address the Microsoft Teams sign in/sign out scenarios," the announcement indicated.

Viva Learning Integrations with SharePoint
IT pros apparently have trouble figuring out configuration issues when integrating SharePoint content with Viva learning. They particularly needed "more transparency around underlying content sync and ingestion processes."

Microsoft's solution was to add a Manage Providers option under the Viva Learning Admin tab, which was done back in November. With it, IT pros can export a log of the sync processes to "investigate ingestion failures."

Longer Viva Topics Trial Periods
Microsoft also extended Viva Topics trial periods to "a 60-day trial, plus an extension." Customers needed a longer trial period to get Viva Topics to identify topics via its machine learning capabilities, the announcement explained. The trial also now accommodates 50 users, instead of just 25 users.

Microsoft also is working to add "new self-help and diagnostics capabilities" that are expected to help with setting up and managing Viva Topics. These capabilities weren't described, though.

Microsoft 365 Diagnostics for Social Good Program
Microsoft pays out to charities each time an organization uses its self-help tools in the Microsoft 365 Admin Center portal to solve a Microsoft 365 problem. This effort is called the "Microsoft 365 Diagnostics for Social Good program."

Past contributions under the program have gone to COVID-19 vaccination donations to India, as well as Hurricane Ian food and shelter relief.

"When we, as IT admins, use self-help resources to fix issues without opening support cases, we enable Microsoft to repurpose a portion of these savings towards social good," Microsoft explained last year about the program.

The monetary value of Microsoft's contributions under the program wasn't characterized.

About the Author

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

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