Microsoft Viva – Everything you Need to Know!

Introduction 

The last 2 years changed our work habits dramatically and forced many people to an unknown world of remote or hybrid work. It’s not easy to switch in 2 days to a different schema. New tools, new rules (or lack of rules), new routines (both personal and work). Many people are lost and disconnected from information. They don’t know where to find information, how to work securely and efficiently, what to do to feel comfortable with the change, and how to keep a work-life balance (24hr home office). 

Microsoft Viva is the Employee Experience Platform and was introduced at the right time to fix some of these problems. It is a set of tools for communications, knowledge, learning, and insights. There are 4 available modules – Viva Learning, Viva Insights, Viva Topics, and Viva Connections. Each module is designed to help employees working in mixed environments, learn, be connected with colleagues, and find the balance between work and personal life.  

Those modules are integrated with Microsoft 365 and can be accessed from Teams or other M365 services. Each module is a separate set of features and covers one area of employee needs. You can combine modules to cover more areas. 

Last year (on Ignite 2021 fall edition) Microsoft announced a new module in the Viva suite. The module will cover results planning and tracking progress. 

Licensing 

Viva modules can be obtained separately or in the Microsoft Viva Suite (all modules in one package). Some modules are available partially for Microsoft 365 Enterprise plans. 

 Microsoft 365 Viva Suite Price per module Viva Suite price 
Viva Connections included included Included in e plans $9.00 user/month 
Viva Learning partially included included $4.00 user/month 
Viva Insights partially included included $4.00 user/month 
Viva Topics not available* included $4.00 user/month 

*Viva Topics will be available partially in Enterprise plans soon. 

Full pricing details and requirements are available on Microsoft site – https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-viva/pricing 

Viva Learning 

This module is designed to empower your employees to learn, discover learning content, share valuable courses, and track learning progress. It is integrated with Teams so you can use it directly from Teams without app or browser switching.  

It is a personal app and when it’s installed it’s available in the left-hand navigation. In the app, you can browse the course catalog, search for specific content, share a course with your colleagues or team, and organize learning content in channels and tabs. 

Viva Learning
Viva Learning

Key features: 

  • Play course 

You can browse course catalogs and select courses for learning or bookmark them for later. Each course can be viewed or played directly in the Teams application. You can stop anytime and go back later to it. You can also share a favorite course with your colleagues. 

  • Integration with 3rd party content providers 

Viva Learning is integrated with the growing list of content providers (for example, Skillsoft, Udemy, edX, Course, Pluralsight). By default, all 3rd party providers are disabled. You can select specific providers and enable them for your users. This feature required a premium Viva Learning license. Each provider has its requirements before you can start using it. 

  • Integration with Microsoft learning content 

There are 3 content sources from Microsoft that are enabled by default and available as part of M365. You can use LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn, and Microsoft 365 Training sources. 

Viva Learning- default integrations
Viva Learning- default integrations
  • Custom learning content 

If you want to provide your learning content through Viva Learning, you can use SharePoint Online as a source. Viva Learning supports Office files (Word, PowerPoint, Excel), PDF, audio files (m4a), and video files (MOV, mp4, avi).  

  • Learning Tabs 

Learning content can be organized into tabs and installed as tabs in Microsoft Teams channels. This method enables your entire team to use curated courses. Team leaders can track recommended courses progress. 

Viva Learning - Tabs
Viva Learning – Tabs
  • Social learning 

Integration with Teams allows you to search and link courses directly from chats. It’s the best way to share a course without copying links or sending emails. 

Viva Connections 

This module is a connection between your SharePoint Online Intranet and Teams – it is Intranet in Teams. Viva Connection is an app that you can install for your Teams’ users to deliver personalized content in a modern way. Employees get relevant news, conversations, links to apps, and much more (you can build your components). The app works in Teams desktop and mobile experience (you don’t need to create separate pages or dashboards). 

The Viva Connections application works in Teams and doesn’t require an additional license – you can start right now!  

Viva Connections
Viva Connections

Key features: 

  • Dashboard 

The main component of the Viva Connections app. The Dashboard displays content created for your users. You can build it using out-of-the-box or custom components (created using the SPFx framework). The design process is like creating a page in SharePoint Online – just drag and drop the required component in a place. 

Components can display static content, dynamics content, or even be interactive (for example, complete a task directly from the Dashboard). 

  • Feed 

The list with personalized content for every user. The content is generated from Microsoft 365 services (SharePoint Online, Yammer, Stream) and displayed to users. Feed can be distributed to all users or targeted to specific groups.  

  • Resources 

The last part is a navigation list. It displays elements from the SharePoint app bar. Those elements can be targeted as well. 

 Viva Topics 

Finding the right information isn’t a simple task. Imagine that you need to find information about a project, and you must search through 1 million documents (pdf, office files). On the Search page, you will end on the 1st page in most cases, but I don’t think that you get what you expected. This is the right place for Viva Topics. It is a service powered by Microsoft AI, Microsoft Graph, Search, and other services to deliver you knowledge that you need. 

Viva Topics automatically scan all documents in SharePoint Online and discover topics. Then it gathers all information around the topic (related documents, authors, sites). When a user finds a page with a highlighted topic, Viva Topics show a window with all information and related resources. 

You can manage all discovered topics – edit, publish, unpublish, and even create a new one. You have full control over the process. 

Viva Topics
Viva Topics

Key features: 

  • Content indexing 

Dedicated engine indexes documents in SharePoint Online and searches for a topic that can be meaningful for the organization (e.g., project name, location, product). If the topic is discovered AI determines related information (acronyms, documents with the topic, people related to the topic, files, and pages with the topic). 

  • Topic management 

When the topic is discovered a Topic manager can review it and decide what to do next. The topic can be published, edited, or removed. Topics can also be created by administrators (without any document indexing process). 

Viva Topics - Topic management
Viva Topics – Topic management
  • Displaying topic 

When a topic is mentioned on a SharePoint page, it is highlighted for users. When a user clicks on the topic, Viva displays a window with detailed information about the topic and related resources. If you click on the topic title you will be redirected to the full topic page. 

Viva Topics - View
Viva Topics – View

Viva Insights 

The module is designed to improve employees’ productivity and well-being by finding a balance between work and personal life, discovering unhealthy habits, and providing recommendations. Viva Insights relies on data gathered by Microsoft 365 and analytics models. 

Viva Insights provides dedicated features for every user (personal insights), managers, deep integration with M365 services (Teams, Outlook), advanced queries, Power BI integration, and R language support. 

Viva Insights
Viva Insights

Key features: 

  • Personal insights 

Personal Insights help you to find work habits and how they affect your work and personal life. It displays statistics about how you spent your time, collaboration activities, and other actions. You can use the Virtual commute feature to complete your workday, book slots for focus work, book slots for lunch. 

All those functions are designed to help you work better and healthier (no more skipping lunch because of work). 

  • Insights for managers 

Information about habits, well-being, and productivity of your team (based on Active Directory relations). You can check email overload, after-hours work, get information about long and large meetings, and use of chats. It also shows how your habits affect your team’s work.  

All team members’ data are anonymized, and the manager sees only overall statistics. 

  • Query designer 

This feature gives you advanced insights into employees’ habits and actions. To can prepare a query to get detailed information about specific actions across the entire organization. For example, meeting information, person query, person-to-group query. 

All information is anonymized. 

Viva Insights - Query Designer
Viva Insights – Query Designer
  • Reports 

You can connect Power BI to Viva Insights and get all information in a nice-looking Power BI Dashboard. You can also use the R language to generate reports based on search criteria. 

Ally.io

Microsoft bought Ally.io and will integrate its product into Viva. Ally.io is software based on the OKR framework. OKR (objectives and key results) helps define goals and track progress. It will become the 5th module in the Viva suite. Microsoft will provide more details later this year. 

Summary

Microsoft Viva is a large suite with 4 modules and 5th coming soon. Each module has its configuration options, requirements, licensing, and integration options. Some are quite easy to install and manage (Connections), while others are more complex and require more time to understand and deploy. It’s also important to train your employees how to use it and share information about data privacy (critical for Viva Insights). 

I use Viva modules for quite some time, and it changed how I work. I have more time for my critical tasks, I don’t need to check emails after work, I simply feel better. The key is a good understanding of each module and deploying it properly. 

In the next articles, I will show you how to deploy each module, some nuances in configuration, and best practices. In the meantime, if you want to find out how Microsoft 365 can streamline your staff’s workflow and collaboration, contact a human via call or Email us for assistance.

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