As we enter our 11th month of embracing a new way of working, Microsoft has unveiled Microsoft Viva, an employee engagement platform that could help in supporting remote workers. The platform leverages Microsoft Teams and is broken up into 4 different modules; Connections, Insights, Topics, and Learning.
Teams: How most users “use” Microsoft 365
We have worked with many clients over the last year that were impressed (and surprised) with the capabilities of Microsoft Teams. Many organizations started with the communication features (chat and calls) and slowly deployed the full collaboration functionality of Microsoft Teams. What we observed was this, organizations were faster to adopt Microsoft 365 applications when they were accessible in Microsoft Teams. We believe that Microsoft’s approach to using Microsoft Teams as the “front door”, made Microsoft 365 feel less like a bunch of competing point solutions. We find that most of our team members are either working in Office applications (Word, PPT, Excel) or Microsoft Teams. E-mail is used mostly for external communications.
Microsoft Viva: Built for the new normal
What we immediately noticed about Viva is that is addresses challenges that many of us didn’t acknowledge with the same level of interest prior to the pandemic. As organizations continue to navigate the challenges brought on by trying to support a distributed workforce, the demand for tools and convenience is high. Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, explained “…there is no going back. Flexibility in when, where, and how we work will be key.”
Microsoft Viva attempts to close the gap, bring users closer together, and simplifying the lives of remote workers everywhere. The challenge of finding the right person in the organization to talk to, a specific form, or a specific document is all happening in the same application. Microsoft Viva has the potential to bring features and capabilities to Microsoft Teams that makes it even “stickier”, especially in this ever-changing work environment.
Earlier this year, we posted about Microsoft Home Sites. Microsoft Viva expands on this by centralizing information into a single place. If Viva catches on, and we think it will, the organization’s intranet experience will collapse into Microsoft Teams. One portal for the organization that can connect users to relevant information and team members.
This module is called Viva Connections and it incorporates internal communications, news, and trusted published content (like company policies and forms). Viva Connections is where employees will gravitate to to get information and ultimately start their day.
Viva Connections uses Microsoft’s SharePoint and feels very much like the modern intranet experiences that you will find in Microsoft look books.
But wait, there is more
Viva is a place where organizations can establish organizational culture and promote connections, the sharing of knowledge, and employee well-being. Things that we all need to be productive.
As expressed earlier, the pandemic has forced us all to think about things that we may have not given much attention to in the past. Microsoft Viva Insights delivers insights for managers and employees to help people stay focused and productive.
Viva incorporates an employee learning and development. module called Viva Learning. This module aggregates content from LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn while allowing organizations to add their own training and development content. This module anticipates that self-service training and development will be a practical and relevant way to share knowledge.
Lastly, Viva has a module called Topics. Viva Topics will generate topic cards from apps like Office, Teams, and SharePoint and serve as an organizational Wikipedia. Topics uses AI to organize content and automatically surfaces topic cards with documents, videos, and related people, helping users quickly connect to relevant information.
Microsoft Viva launched today for Microsoft 365 customers, and a public preview of Viva Insights also starts today. More additions to Microsoft Viva are expected throughout 2021.
Viva doubles-down on Microsoft Teams as the place to go to find information and get work done. If the pandemic has taught us anything, we don’t know what we need until we don’t have it. It appears that Microsoft is equipping that distributed workforce with the tools that we didn’t know we needed until we needed them most.