Sabotaging the grapevine of the end of the SharePoint Era, Microsoft has once again proved that SharePoint is here to stay in its new Avatar of Modern Workplace. I introduce to you latest addition to the Microsoft 365 avengers team –Viva. A much more powerful and dynamic extension to the existing modern workplace suite.

Viva premiered in Feb 2021 and ever since has been the buzz word amongst the digital transformers. Like many others I was also quite excited to find out the details and here’s my understanding of the new EXP (Employee Experience Platform).

Viva is the new employee experience platform intended to combine various tools for communication, learning and building an in-house Knowledge Management System (KMS) with advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence. The components will be an App on Microsoft Teams and is crafted to easily connect, stay informed and access the vast knowledge base in an organization. It allows the employees to do more and achieve more.

Viva is built on Microsoft Teams and Graph framework. This will enable us developers to leverage on our skills and scale further. It provides open and extensible platform which makes it easy to integrate with existing products like Cornerstone OnDemand, Coursera, LinkedIn, Salesforce, SAP Success Factor, ServiceNow.

Microsoft Viva is currently built on 4 core modules–

  • Connections
  • Insights
  • Learning
  • Knowledge

Together these 4 modules build an integrated employee experience. Each of these will be a separate App on the App bar in Microsoft Teams and each of them will have their own logos as displayed in the image below, how cool is that !

Fig: 4 Modules in Viva

Viva Insights: I feel Viva Insights is an extension of Workplace Analytics, but it has been packaged well with many more details and it’s got integrations with Workday, SAP, Zoom and more

Insights is a truly a modern way to work smarter. It has custom reminders to prioritize time for focused work, coaching and learning and it also helps one to mindfully wrap up your day with virtual commute. Virtual Commute was unveiled in Ignite 2020. It is designed to summarize your day’s activities and plan for the following day.

For managers and leads Viva Insights provides insights and recommendations to build a healthy successful team. It helps to build personnel and organizational resilience. Viva Insights will aid the managers to understand their teams work schedule and plan ahead to avoid the risk of a burn out. It will also showcase the business work patterns to enable the leads to plan ahead.

Especially now during the pandemic where work from home is the new normal, Viva Insights will help the managers understand the subordinates working trends remotely and take corrective actions as required.

Fig: Sample Screenshot of Viva Insights

Viva Topics: Viva Topics is possibly one of the finest knowledge management system till date. Viva Topics is a breakthrough of technology to build an intuitive and easy to use KMS. When you read an unfamiliar term/word all you need to do is to hover on the word to get more information about it. ON click you get the people, resources and conversations related to the topic.

Viva topics also allows you to post questions. It will pull out the relevant answers for you or pose the question to the topic experts. Viva Topic uses AI to build topic pages without revealing the sensitive content. Administrators will have option to review and curate knowledge as well. Viva topics will allow you to harness the knowledge in the organization and use this knowledge in the apps that is used by the employees every day, like Microsoft Teams.

Being in a System Integration company I can foresee on how drastically this will change the future. Many enterprises have a tough time in building their knowledge base with vast information pool lying all around.

Fig: Sample Screenshot of Viva Topics

Viva Connections: Microsoft Viva Connections is the gateway to a modern engagement experience designed to keep everyone engaged and informed. Viva Connections gives curated, company-branded experience that brings together relevant news, conversations, and other resources. It is personalized and appears in the apps and devices you already use daily. The Viva Connections for desktop experience, formerly known as the Home site app, combines the power of your intelligent SharePoint intranet with chat and collaboration tools in Microsoft Teams. Viva Connections will enable users to discover and search relevant content, sites, and news from across the organization right from the Team’s app bar.

Fig: Sample Screenshot of Viva Connections

Viva Learning: While the other three modules are kind of repackaging of the existing features of M365, Learning is one of new modules that Microsoft has launched. Viva Learning bring all the learning resources together in one place. It also helps to flash out the content that is shared or recommended to you by variety of sources. Learning helps you to get Learning as an integral part of your day and this enhance your skills along with your day to day work. Managers can also track learning and completion of the modules assigned to the team. It will bring data from LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learning and other learning platforms.

It’s a cool application which can be used by organizations to push learning assignments with the employees. It can also be used to automate the induction process by passing on the new joiners the list of videos to go through for induction and knowledge sharing.

Fig: Sample Screenshot of Viva Learning

For me at the first shot Viva is definitely the Iron Man in Office 365 Avengers Team. It has the potential to replace the entire Intranet Platform. Many organizations till date, spend hundreds and thousands of dollars in building a collaboration platform to increase the engagement within users. Viva will be a straight out of the box availability in M365 which will boost the productivity exponentially.

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