Last week Microsoft began the rollout of its new Viva platform, and it may just change the way people work from home for good. Microsoft Viva is Microsoft’s newest venture into helping businesses cope with the new digital era that was spurred on by the pandemic. But Microsoft is also calculating that remote work may likely remain the standard even after the pandemic ends. According to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, “We have participated in the largest, at scale, remote work experiment the world has seen,” referring to the lifestyle adjustments made over the nearly year-long crisis. “As the world recovers, there is no going back. Flexibility in when, where, and how we work will be key.”
What is Viva?
The Viva platform lives inside Microsoft Teams and is designed to serve as a portal for businesses and their employees. The platform also advances Microsoft’s objective to have Teams act as an organization’s main work hub by gathering the essential parts of the business into a central location. Microsoft Viva is divided into four specific modules: Connections, Insights, Learning, and Topics.
The Viva Connections module is the place where colleagues can “gather” remotely (ie, connect with each other). Connections was built on top of Microsoft’s SharePoint technology. Here is where you will find internal communications and resources like company benefits and HR policies. Connections can include things like company news, town halls, or employee resource groups and communities. Jared Spataro, Corporate VP for Microsoft 365, referred to it as the “gateway to your digital workplace”. Essentially, it’s a dashboard for both connecting with colleagues and staying on top of internal company news and information.
Viva Insights provides data on work patterns and trends. Insights is similar to Microsoft’s Productivity Score feature, but corrects course from some of the controversy associated with it as a result of employee privacy concerns. Microsoft says Viva Insights will include data for managers and leaders to monitor work patterns and trends, but that privacy will be protected. “This means personal insights are visible only to the employee, while insights for managers and leaders are aggregated and de-identified by default to protect individual privacy,” says Spataro.
As the name implies, Viva Learning is Microsoft’s source for employee education and development. This is where employers can keep training materials, courses, and other similar content. Here you might also house content from LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn and training material from outside, third-party sources.
The final module is Viva Topics. “Think of Viva Topics as a Wikipedia for the organization,” explains Spataro. This module uses AI to organize content and automatically surfaces topic cards with documents, videos, and related people. Viva Topics will generate topic cards from apps like Office, Teams, and SharePoint.
Parts of Microsoft Viva were launched on February 4: Viva Topics is available for Microsoft 365 customers, as well as a public preview of Viva Insights. Microsoft also launched a private preview of Viva Learning. More additions to Microsoft Viva will be rolled out throughout 2021, with announcements coming soon.