Yammer (aka Viva Engage) Reboot Project

Last updated: December 11, 2023
Audience: IT Staff / Technical
The Yammer (aka Viva Engage) Reboot Project concluded successfully in October 2023. Content on this page may no longer be accurate.


UW Office 365 Yammer is transitioning to a new and enhanced experience called Viva Engage. This transition aims to provide you with an even more user-friendly and collaborative environment to connect, engage and share knowledge within specific communities. 

What happens to existing Yammer content? 

All Yammer content will be deleted on August 29, 2023. 

How to prepare

Download any content and files from Yammer communities you wish to preserve. All of the communities currently in place in Yammer (and Viva Engage via the add-on in Microsoft Teams) will be deleted on August 29, 2023 when the service change occurs.

Transition timeline  

Yammer will be shut down on August 29, 2023.

The new Viva Engage

Viva Engage will be repositioned as a UW-IT managed community and communication platform. All new communities will be created with pre-assigned management responsibilities and appropriate data retention policies, and they will be vetted to exclude uses for which Viva Engage does not provide adequate privacy controls.

The UW Productivity Platforms team will re-create and manage some popular communities and will work with other campus stakeholders to configure new communities as appropriate and resourced by organizations. Unfortunately, some academic and student cohort use will need to move to Microsoft Teams.

Why this change is happening

Due to privacy and identity issues that would be caused by Microsoft’s upcoming changes to the Yammer platform and forced Yammer content migration to Viva Engage, UW-IT must act prior to September 2023 to avoid membership privacy leaks on over 400 existing communities and the creation of over 1,000 Microsoft 365 Groups that would violate the UW NetID identity system constraints.

The UW Productivity Platforms team has confirmed with Microsoft that the only mitigation available to UW-IT is the removal of all existing Yammer communities and content prior to the forced content migration to Viva Engage.


Yammer has been available at the UW in various forms for 10 years, but long delays on the Microsoft side in delivering basic enterprise features such as eDiscovery and BAA compatibility has meant that the opportunity to leverage early excitement about the product has largely passed.

Microsoft redesign

To resolve long-standing functionality deficits and re-target the Yammer experience to be a better complement to Teams, Microsoft has been rebuilding the product from the ground up. Some of the new rebuilt system is available to us today via an updated Fluent Design System (Microsoft’s unified design for Microsoft 365 applications) web experience and the Viva Engage Teams application; but enterprise eDiscovery, audit logging, sensitivity labels (a.k.a. encryption and rights management), retention policies, and community creation controls require migration to a new backend architecture called “Native Mode”.

Forced migration to Native Mode

Microsoft announced in September 2022 that they would be forcing all customers to migrate to Native Mode starting in December 2022. To avoid impacts during the school year, the UW Productivity Platforms team obtained a postponement of our forced migration until September 2023, via a Premier Support request.

Issues with Native Mode migration

Although much of the functionality being enabled with the new Native Mode backend is highly desirable, some critical privacy and UW systems compatibility issues have been identified by the UW Productivity Platforms team and Microsoft.

Membership privacy issues – Although the new Yammer Native Mode can keep conversations private, it does not support membership privacy, i.e., hidden membership, like Teams and legacy Yammer does. Per the migration planning report provided by Microsoft, the migration will expose the membership of 433 existing Communities that are currently hidden to the over 740k users able to authenticate into UW Entra ID. These include many student groups that reveal specific class, cohort, and school affiliations which would be against the policies and goals of the UW Privacy Office and Registrar.

AAD object configuration incompatibility with UW NetID Namespace – The migration does not allow any control of the AAD object naming and email addresses for the Microsoft 365 Groups created during the migration process, which is critical to maintaining operational compatibility with UW’s identity and access management systems. Although UW has set a cloud-only default domain (cloud.washington.edu) that limits impacts to users, all domains collide on the tenant domain name (uwnetid.onmicrosoft.com) by Microsoft’s design. There has been a long-standing request to the Microsoft 365 product teams by UW to change this requirement for their systems. Yammer also does not appear to support updating the object names and email addresses post-creation, which would be a method of mitigating the issues introduced during migration.

Post-migration operational issues with Native Mode

Additionally, critical ongoing operational issues have been identified for post-migration.

No automation of new Community creation – Given the UW’s data governance, compliance, and pre-creation name validation needs, it is critical to be able to automate creation via an API accessible by our UW Connect (aka ServiceNow) Intake Forms. Intake Forms are currently used for self-service creation of Teams, Microsoft 365 Groups, and SharePoint sites. Currently, neither Yammer legacy, Hybrid, nor Native Mode provide a supported API for creation.

Lack of membership privacy – This makes the product unfit for most student-facing uses and adds substantial challenges to communicating to both Community creators and Members about the risks and boundaries of appropriate use. Any ongoing leverage of the product needs to be restricted from use cases where this is a risk.


If you have any questions or need further assistance, please contact UW-IT at help@uw.edu or 206-221-5000.