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Viva Engage Core Service Plan for Continuity and New Features
Along with their announcements that Yammer is becoming Viva Engage, Microsoft blogged about a new Viva Engage admin center (just what we need – another admin portals). The admin blog contained the news of new service plans that Microsoft has added to user account license assignments. For example, accounts with Office 365 E3 and E1 licenses now have the Viva Engage Core and Viva Learning Seeded service plans (Figure 1).
I don’t see any trace of the Viva Engage Core service plan in Office 365 E5 licenses. This might be because some accounts have Viva Suite licenses.
Good Intentions but Bad Outcome
Microsoft added the Viva Engage Core service plan to make sure that Viva users could continue to use Yammer services (like Q&A) after the switchover, saying “The service plans have been enabled for all users to provide a smooth and easily controlled feature roll out process.” The Viva Engage Code service plan will control new features and Microsoft wanted to put the service plan in place so that no one would miss out.
That’s a laudable intention, but they missed one very important point. Microsoft failed to disable the Viva Engage Core service plan for accounts where administrators had previously disabled the Yammer Enterprise service plan. Because the Viva Engage Core service plan enables Yammer services, the newly enabled license option means that people who previously couldn’t use Yammer can now do so.
Disabling the Viva Engage Core Service Plan
Most users won’t realize that they can go to yammer.com and launch Yammer with a URL like https://web.yammer.com/main/org/office365itpros.com. Anyway, if they did, they probably wouldn’t find much because the organization obviously doesn’t want to use Yammer. Considering those facts, you might think that little damage is done, but workers councils and unions might not take the same view.
Some PowerShell can fix the damage. Many organizations have a general-purpose script to remove service plans from Microsoft 365 licenses (here’s my version – make sure that you use the Graph-based script). In this case, I repurposed a script that I wrote to remove the Kaizala service plan from licenses, if only because it’s more recent work and includes logging of license updates.
To check user accounts for disabled service plans, we need to know what to look for. In this instance, the script must check accounts to see if the Yammer Enterprise service plan (7547a3fe-08ee-4ccb-b430-5077c5041653) is disabled and if so, disable the Viva Engage Core service plan (a82fbf69-b4d7-49f4-83a6-915b2cf354f4). The source for this information is Microsoft’s Azure AD license reference page.
The outline of the script is:
- Find licensed user accounts.
- For each account, check if it has an Office 365 license.
- If so, check if Yammer Enterprise is disabled.
- If so, disable Viva Engage Core.
You can download a copy of the full script from GitHub. I know the script will remove Viva Core Engage from Office 365 E3 licenses, but I don’t know how Microsoft assigned the service plan to other licenses. Because the code is PowerShell, it should be easy to amend to handle other license conditions.
Evolving License Management with PowerShell
PowerShell is a great way to automate license management operations if you don’t have something more sophisticated to help, like Azure AD group-based licensing. But remember that Microsoft will retire the license management cmdlets from the Azure AD and MSOL modules on March 31, 2023. Make sure that any PowerShell you write to work with user licenses uses Graph API requests or cmdlets from the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK.
P.S. Microsoft’s graphic to support the rebranding announcement in tweets and other social media was really quite clever. (Figure 1), even if it hid what must have been a bruising transition for some.
Learn how to exploit the data available to Microsoft 365 tenant administrators through the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook. We love figuring out how things work. We don’t like when Microsoft rebrands software products because it means that we’ve then got to update references in the book. There were 298 mentions of Yammer in the February 2023 update for the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook. March will see that number drop dramatically…