[VIVA] Microsoft Viva forms a hub, accessible via Teams, federating all the communication, knowledge and learning flows of the company. Thanks to AI, it prioritizes the content and profiles that the user needs.
Microsoft Viva, what is it?
Vast project announced by Microsoft in late 2019, Viva will take two years to emerge from the ground. In early 2021, the publisher unveiled four independent bricks: Viva Connections and Viva Insights, both in final release, as well as Viva Topics and Viva Learning, respectively in public and private beta. Described as an employee experience platform (EXP), Viva’s ambition is to form a hub, accessible via the Teams communication application, federating all the company’s communication, knowledge and learning flows. At its Ignite event (November 2-4, 2021), Microsoft announced the availability of these four pillars in final version within an integrated suite.
How much does Microsoft Viva cost?
Microsoft’s Viva digital workplace is priced at $9 per user per month, compared to $12 in total for the purchase of its four modules individually. Access to Viva requires a prior subscription to Microsoft 365 Business or Enterprise, or at least Exchange Online, which costs 3.4 euros per user per month.
The new suite benefits from the unified administration center of Microsoft 365 to manage its configuration and access rights. At the same time, Microsoft is announcing new features on all levels of the building.
Viva Topics: AI to manage knowledge
Using AI and the Microsoft Graph, Viva Topics automates the identification of key topics in Office, Outlook, Teams or within the profiles of Microsoft 365 users. By topics, we mean projects, products, customers, know-how… Their validation by an experience manager will automatically generate pages or topic centers containing information such as the summary of a project, the people who contribute to it and related references. The same goes for a customer, a product or a process. Each topic mentioned in a document or a message is associated with a link to the corresponding page (see animation below). It can be enriched in the form of a wiki.
In addition to Dynamics 365 and Microsoft 365, Viva Topics integrates information from third-party application services, such as ServiceNow and Salesforce.
Topics are highlighted in Microsoft Search results. In response to a query mentioning a skill topic, for example, the Microsoft 365 search engine will refer to the list of employees with the expertise in question. In the same logic, topics are attached to user profile pages based on their history. “The contribution will be a saving of time in accessing data and knowledge, simplified onboarding for new employees, and the acceleration of the transformation of the global organization thanks to more visible expertise,” they add at Microsoft France.
In addition to English, Viva Topics also supports French, German and Spanish, and will eventually allow users to integrate their topics directly into Teams’ conversation channels. Another development project announced by Microsoft is the automation of topics, the optimization of topics centers, and the introduction of analytics dashboards to better understand the evolution of the organization’s knowledge.
Viva Connections: AI to manage talent
Through Viva Connections, the user benefits from a knowledge center that federates and prioritizes all the news, conversations and content he needs. To sort these elements, Connections is backed by an AI that takes into account the groups to which they belong, the history of their exchanges with a particular colleague and their frequency, the resources they consult and edit within applications and via their various devices. “This treatment will take into account mobile terminals by the end of November,” says Microsoft.
Viva Connections integrates with Zoom, Slack, ServiceNow, SAP SuccessFactors, Talentsoft, and LinkedIn to take into account more qualitative data on employee sentiment. At the same time, its dashboards can bring up task, change or approval management cards from Teams. Connections also draws on Qualtrics’ UX optimization platform to customize its user interface. As of January 2022, Connections will also include Espressive’s intelligent agents for customer support, as well as workflows from Workday’s HR and financial management application. In a completely different area, the integration of DocuSign’s electronic signature system is also planned.
Also integrated with SharePoint, Viva Connections allows the user to follow the evolution of the know-how on all or part of the organization. But also to access a personalized list of topics and internal experts recommended according to their activity history, their preferred subjects, their skills profile, and their relational and knowledge graph. At the same time, questions from other employees will be pushed to him that the underlying AI believes he can answer. Via this knowledge center, it will be able to create new topics not yet identified that will boost the machine learning: new projects, new products, new customers, new procedures…
Viva Insights: AI to prevent burnout
Viva Insights provides employees with an activity analysis console. The aim is to enable them to better manage their working time. A particularly welcome solution at a time when hybrid teleworking is becoming more common. For the bosses, the application allows them to take the pulse of the company, to follow the working time in an anonymized way, to measure the densities of planning. Insights goes so far as to provide recommendations to limit the risk of burnout, by encouraging, for example, the deactivation of notifications, the definition of limits in calendars, or the identification of daily priorities .
In addition to Microsoft 365 data, Viva Insights
traffic information from Zoom, Slack, Workday and SAP SuccessFactors and
Viva Insights introduces management indicators to help managers. They cover the follow-up of pending tasks, regular appointments (with alerts in case of forgetfulness), or recurring personal behaviors having an impact on the team… The Insights for Teams application also provides recommendations to improve the experience of meetings and videoconferences: short meeting by default, systematized link sharing…
Viva Learning: AI at the service of training
Viva Learning is designed to provide a single point of access to all of the organization’s e-learning resources, whether they come from its Learning Management System, Microsoft 365 or third-party applications. Available on PC and mobile, the module allows managers to assign programs to team members and track their progress. Here too, AI is there to recommend training based on the analysis of the employee’s work history and profile, recommendations that can be shared through a tab in Teams. Microsoft is thus taking its first steps in the field of adaptive learning.
Viva Learning aggregates content from a variety of sources, whether designed in-house or from services such as LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, Skillsoft, Coursera, Pluralsight or even edX. In the same vein, Microsoft is integrating third-party learning management software into Viva Learning, including Cornerstone OnDemand, Saba and SAP SuccessFactors. All of this data is made available to users via a search engine that allows them to filter by field, provider, duration of training, etc.
Ally.io: AI for strategic alignment
Like other digital workplaces such as Asana, Viva must integrate a dimension focused on the management of objectives. It is with this in mind that Satya Nadella’s group announced the acquisition of Ally.io in October 2021. A start-up that publishes an OKR solution (for objectives and key results) tailored to drive employee goals and align them with the company strategy. Ally.io’s goal tracking reports are already accessible from Microsoft Teams. Ally.io’s integration with Viva is scheduled for early 2022.
Viva API: a platform
Microsoft is equipping its digital workplace with APIs to enrich it in terms of integrations and features. Eventually, each module of the platform will be equipped with its application programming interface. For now, only the Viva Connections API is available. The Viva Topics API is expected to be released by the end of 2021, but first in private beta, and the Viva Insights and Viva Learning APIs in 2022.
Viva vs Delve: what’s the difference?
Viva is very comparable to Delve. An Office app launched by Microsoft in 2014, which has since fallen into oblivion. Also relying on AI and the Microsoft Graph (then called Office Graph), Delve was limited to the features available today in Viva Connections and the identification, via a personalized dashboard, of content and user profiles considered priority for the user based on his history.
Will Microsoft have better luck with Viva? Redmond has the merit of staying in line with its strategic line: democratize AI and open it to the greatest number. Unlike Delve, Viva has also been the subject of a private beta phase (9 months). It mobilized dozens of Microsoft customers, including Arla, Robert Half, Siemens Healthineers and Unilever. A phase that allowed the publisher to test the concept on the market and make adjustments before jumping into the marketing. Since then, other groups have joined this initial core group, including Humana, NWG and OldMutual.
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