Even before COVID-19 started affecting our lives, organizations were leveraging digital platforms, tools, and software solutions to streamline work while finding opportunities to improve existing working patterns. With the onset of the pandemic, this process has increased to an unprecedented pace to achieve the current state of technology, allowing millions of employees across the globe to be able to effectively work and deliver remotely. Organizations are also investing huge capital in training and experience programs for their workforce to improve productivity and promote a collaborative environment. Since the onset of the pandemic, Microsoft has been playing a key role in empowering organizations to support collaborative environments for remote working using its tools and services such as Microsoft Teams. Adding on to the list, the tech giant has recently introduced Microsoft Viva — its all-new employee experience platform (EXP) built for the digital era.
According to Microsoft, Viva is an integrated solution that brings the company’s communications, learnings, resources, and knowledge under one roof to provide the experience platforms to help teams grow in terms of collaboration, productivity, wellbeing, culture, and education from anywhere in the world in an intranet setting. Microsoft Viva is backed by the company’s Microsoft 365 and Teams.
The initial set of modules for the Microsoft Viva includes Viva Connections, Viva Insights, Viva Learning, and Viva Topics. Microsoft, however, has made it clear that it has plans to add new modules in the future.
Viva Connections is a single customizable app in Microsoft Teams that allows all employees a personalized gateway to build an inclusive workplace. Viva Connections helps everyone in an organization to succeed by providing them with a company-branded curated experience that brings together all the relevant resources such as news, policies, benefits, conversations, and more. Microsoft announced that the Connections app would be made available in Microsoft Teams on the desktop on a public preview in the first half of 2021. The mobile app release is planned for later this year.
Viva Insights is currently available in Microsoft Teams in public preview and gives every employee in the organization personalized and actionable insights to help them know areas where they need to improve, build better work habits, and find core areas to focus on.
Viva Insights will sport a dashboard that allows organizations to combine employee feedback from LinkedIn’s Glint along with other collaboration data to enable the organizations and management to more accurately identify the pain-points of the team and proactively adjust work norms. Microsoft also announced that Insights would over time accumulate the power of Microsoft Workplace Analytics and Microsoft MyAnalytics together under Microsoft’s new Viva brand. In addition to using data from Microsoft apps, users will also be able to incorporate data from third-party services like Zoom, Slack, Workday, and SAP SuccessFactors.
As the name suggests, Viva Learnings is meant to enhance the training and professional development opportunities in an organization and make them more visible and accessible in the flow of work. It empowers everyone in the organization to realize their targeted skills by creating a central hub of learning in the Microsoft Teams app. Employees can use this central hub of knowledge to share, assign, explore, and learn about content libraries available across the entire organization. Viva Learnings also accumulates learning material and courses from Microsoft Learn and several other third-party providers, including Skillsoft, Pluralsight, edX, Coursera, and more as a content library to the organizations.
Viva Learning is available on private preview and will soon offer integrations with leading learning management systems, including Saba, Cornerstone OnDemand, and SAP SuccessFactors, starting later this year.
Viva Topics uses artificial intelligence to empower people with knowledge, smart suggestions and act as an extended expertise provider in the app to help users connect, manage, protect, and share content across systems and teams. Viva Topics leverages the employee’s Microsoft 365 data and integrates the knowledge from a variety of third-party enterprises/organizational services such as ServiceNow and Salesforce to automatically surface topic cards within the conversations across Microsoft 365 and Teams. These topic cards will contain relevant information, documents, conversations, material such as videos, and an option to add other users. Viva Topics is currently available for all Microsoft’s commercial users.
Microsoft has been playing a predominant role in empowering organizations by helping them leverage its tools and services to improve productivity and develop a collaborative work environment during these tough pandemic times. With Microsoft Viva, the company is bridging the gap between employees and the organizations by providing a scalable and powerful employee experience platform. It will be interesting to see what other modules Microsoft adds to Viva in the near future.