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Ask Dux: What Is Microsoft Viva?

Today, we’re talking about the new employee experience platform known as Microsoft Viva. Everyone’s buzzing about it since the solution was announced in February.  

There’s a lot to unpack in this new employee experience platform. Get a breakdown of all four Microsoft Viva components designed to support a smarter workplace — as as well as Dux’s insights on how each one could benefit your users.

Ready to learn why everyone’s so excited about it? Let’s go and Ask Dux!  

In this episode: 

Microsoft Viva: An employee experience platform 

When we think about employee experience, it’s really about empowering people and teams to be their best from anywhere, connecting different pieces of information and people within the organization.  

There are four different components of Viva:  

  1. Viva Connections 

Viva Connections is essentially a company branded app that’s available and can be accessed on the browser and in Teams. Think of it as a gateway to your employee experience. Oftentimes, the gateway we think about is an intranet, which certainly is very important, but in our day-to-day work, the intranet alone doesn’t fill all the needs we have.  

With the intranet included through Viva, it provides personalized news and communication. Let’s say you want to bring in your PTO system or how many outstanding tasks you have—all of that could be surfaced through Connection.  

It’s a curated way to show you the information that you need depending on who you are in the organization, but it also interacts with the information and people as well.  

2. Viva Learning 

Viva Learning allows everybody in the organization to easily discover and look for knowledge. More importantly, it also taps into key learning applications that may be out there—things like LinkedIn Learning or free learning modules from Microsoft or Plural Sight.  

Think of this as your gateway to learning, be it what you’re doing day-today or new knowledge you want to gain as part of your role in the organization. And the other part with Learning is that managers can assign and track trainings as well and report on how the team is doing based on their learning goals.  

3. Viva Topics 

Viva Topics focuses on knowledge and expertise. Topics is something available throughout Microsoft 365 and takes advantage of AI so that relevant knowledge and experts can be surfaced.  

For example, let’s say Kevin is looking for information about our new product, Confide. ‘Confide’ could be a topic. Through Viva Topics, not only documents related to Confide may show up, conversations around Confide that may be coming through Yammer or emails specifically from our product managers pertaining to Confide can also be surfaced through Viva Topics as well.  

These topic pages are surfaced as topic cards in Viva Topics, and it really enables you to maximize the flow of your work without context switching. You don’t have to check your email or SharePoint or Yammer for particular stuff, Topics could intelligently bring it up to you and surface it through Viva Topics.  

4. Viva Insights  

Viva Insights is nothing really new. It brings together workplace analytics, My Analytics, into a unified insights app.  

I’ve been using My Analytics for a while now. Essentially, what My Analytics can show you is how you’re spending your time and who you’re spending it with throughout your work week. It tells you, “You spent this much time on meetings” or “You collaborate with Kevin the most”. It also provides recommendations and says, “Hey, you may want to allocate some focused time so we could do focused work.”  

Moreover, it provides guidance on how you can have self-care. Lastly, you can save time for breaks and learning, and promote better well-being and productivity within your day-to-day work.  

Viva as a more holistic tool 

Viva is really a great mix of collaboration, accountability, and learning. It’s a little bit of a different flavor from some prior Microsoft offerings, so maybe people were concerned, “It’s tracking me. It’s going to tell my boss I’m not working.” But this is a much different viewpoint. It’s more of a holistic thing.  

And the good news is, Viva takes advantage of all the existing Microsoft 365 technologies already from Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive, My Analytics, Topics. And Topics is through Project Cortex. What Microsoft has done is connected all the dots and surfaced it in a meaningful way so that we can get work done better, faster, sooner, and more efficiently.  

One of the things I love about Viva is how it breaks down all the silos and minimizes context switching. It just brings things into this one-stop shop and provides a better experience for every single employee for their day-to-day work.  

Lastly, if for some reason you love to use the browser, you can work with Connections directly on the browser or mobile device. It’s anywhere through any device that people are comfortable with.  

When is it available? 

A lot of this—at least the first phases of it—are already available. Viva Learning’s available, as well as Viva Insights. Topics is already out. Most of Connections is out.  

One of the things that’s not quite out yet is the easy integration with Teams. Today, you can integrate Connections with Teams, but you need IT to run PowerShell script to integrate it. But certainly, it’s out there already.  

What about the pricing? 

Viva Connections comes with your E3 and E5 licenses, whereas Topics, Insights and Learning have different licensing. You can look it up on Microsoft. They can tell you what extra you have to pay for or optional licenses you need to get Learning, Topics, and Insights.  

A new, empowered workplace with Viva 

We’ve learned so much in the last 18 months where the world really will move to what’s called a hybrid workplace. The ability to access relevant information at the right time, regardless of what device or where you are, is critical.  

I think Viva will be front and center to facilitate an improved flow of work. This will reduce a lot of the context switching. It will take time for adoption to happen, but I’m pretty confident in the next two to three years that Viva will be a centerpiece of the Microsoft modern workplace story.  

Episode resources 

Microsoft Viva: Employee Experience and Engagement | Microsoft Viva 

Viva plans and pricing: Employee Experience Platform Plans and Pricing | Microsoft Viva 

What’s more? 

Check out Forrester’s New Wave SaaS Application Data Protection Q4 2021 report where only AvePoint received the highest possible score for multi-cloud SaaS backup criteria. Get free access to the report at avepoint.com/report. 

Get involved! 

Don’t forget to send us your questions on Twitter with a hashtag #AskDux or send us an email at askdux@avepoint.com. 

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Dux Raymond Sy
Dux Raymond Syhttp://linktr.ee/meetdux
With over 20 years of business and technology experience, Dux has driven organizational transformations worldwide with his ability to simplify complex ideas and deliver relevant solutions. He serves as the Chief Brand Officer of AvePoint who has authored the LinkedIn Learning course How to Build Your Personal Brand, the book SharePoint for Project Management, as well as numerous whitepapers and articles. Connect with him @ http://dux.sy

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