Microsoft Viva: The New Digital Employee Experience Platform

With the launch of Microsoft Viva, the Redmond company is looking to provide an employee experience platform for the digital age that will enhance business performance along the lines of the innovation that was delivered with the advent of Enterprise Resource Planning systems nearly 30 years ago. The platform will focus on collaboration, learning and wellbeing.

Richard Hay, Senior Content Producer

February 9, 2021

5 Min Read
Microsoft Viva: The New Digital Employee Experience Platform
Microsoft CEO Sataya Nadella introducing Microsoft Viva.Microsoft

Microsoft is launching a new employee experience platform named Microsoft Viva that aims to connect remote employees across the areas of collaboration, learning, and wellbeing.

During the virtual launch announcement earlier this week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella explained why the company perceived a need for its new digital employee experience platform, Microsoft Viva.

“We have participated in the largest at-scale remote work experiment the world has seen, and it has had a dramatic impact on the employee experience,” said Nadella. “Every organization will require a unified employee experience from onboarding and collaboration to continuous learning and growth. Viva brings together everything an employee needs to be successful, from day one, in a single, integrated experience directly in Teams.”

Microsoft Viva and its tools will live within Microsoft Teams, further cementing the collaboration and work tool as the center of any workforce using the company’s Microsoft 365 productivity suite.

Viva is initially launching with four modules that all have built-in capabilities. The new employee experience platform will also include integrations from a partner ecosystem, and extensibility which will allow Microsoft 365 customers to bring in tools for improved accessibility and discoverability.

Let’s take a quick look at each of the initial four modules under the Microsoft Viva employee experience platform:

Viva Connections



This customizable portal provides access to internal communications channels, company documentation such as policies, benefits information and other related resources. If the company has employee resource groups and discussion boards, customers can provide access to them on the portal.

Availability: Connections app for Microsoft Teams on the desktop is expected to be in public preview the first half of 2021. A mobile app was promised in calendar year 2021.

Viva Insights



The underpinnings of Viva Insights were actually announced last year at Microsoft Ignite as a collection of productivity and wellbeing features in Microsoft 365. Although we did not know about the Microsoft Viva employee experience platform at that time, some of that development work was already going public for testing and evaluation.

Microsoft had debuted the virtual commute (meant to nudge workers to ramp up or ramp down their day with productive rituals that could affect a mental separation from work, even if a physical commute wasn’t possible), metrics for employee engagement like after-hours collaboration, focus time, meeting effectiveness and cross-company communication, and a productivity score meant to encourage check-ins on collaboration, meetings and other work outputs.

After concerns last year about this data and privacy, Microsoft clarified that the personal experiences and insights are only visible to the employee themselves. They reiterated this in the Viva announcement. Managers and leaders will see de-identified and aggregated data for their entire team and the organization so they can examine overall trends in productivity and wellbeing. This data analysis will provide those managers and leaders with recommendations to help gain better balance in these two areas.

Availability: Viva Insights app for Microsoft Teams is now available in public preview.

Viva Learning



Training and professional development are important attributes for every employee. Viva Learning, like other modules in Microsoft Viva, bring these two learning areas right into the workflow.

Viva Insights brings together all learning resources in an organization into a central repository and includes content from LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn and third-party services such as Skillsoft, Coursera and Pluralsight. If an organization already has an extensive library of training tools and courses, they can also be integrated into Viva Learning.

Later this year integrations with learning management systems from Cornerstone OnDemand, Saba and SAP SuccessFactors will be made available.

Availability: Viva Learning is currently available in private preview.

Viva Topics



Here is another element of Viva that was partially available to the public under Microsoft 365’s enterprise search surface. Viva Topics now consolidates this data dynamically using AI and an employee’s Microsoft 365 data in the Microsoft Graph.

The results of this analysis are then displayed in a single Microsoft Teams channel using the Viva Topics app dashboard to consolidate recommendations for training, associated projects, news and other pertinent subject areas.

Pertinent topics can be saved and managed to create a resource list personalized by each employee.

Availability: Viva Topics is generally available as an add-on for Microsoft 365 commercial plans.


Microsoft is not launching their new Microsoft Viva employee experience platform just as a tool to help customers get through the remainder of the pandemic-induced remote working. It is expected that more employees will continue to work remotely after the pandemic ends than worked from home before it all started.

Tools like Microsoft Viva will be critical to helping companies manage their entire workforce to maintain wellbeing, effective collaboration and overall productivity with more and more of the workforce in remote working situations.

Kara Korte, director of product management at TetraVX, a systems integrator and Microsoft Gold Partner, said,  "Nearly a year ago we shifted from a workforce with occasional remote capabilities to one that now relies heavily, or even exclusively, on the ability to work from anywhere; this shift is responsible for accelerating the need for organizations to have both cloud and collaboration strategies."

Microsoft is taking full advantage of their Microsoft Teams platform by using it as the continued centralized hub for all work-related collaboration. Microsoft Viva is the latest layer to be added to  existing collaboration enhancements and employee metrics.

Read more about:


About the Author(s)

Richard Hay

Senior Content Producer, IT Pro Today (Informa Tech)

I served for 29 plus years in the U.S. Navy and retired as a Master Chief Petty Officer in November 2011. My work background in the Navy was telecommunications related so my hobby of computers fit well with what I did for the Navy. I consider myself a tech geek and enjoy most things in that arena.

My first website – – came online in 1995. Back then I used GeoCities Web Hosting for it and is the result of the work I have done on that site since 1995.

In January 2010 my community contributions were recognized by Microsoft when I received my first Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award for the Windows Operating System. Since then I have been renewed as a Microsoft MVP each subsequent year since that initial award. I am also a member of the inaugural group of Windows Insider MVPs which began in 2016.

I previously hosted the Observed Tech PODCAST for 10 years and 317 episodes and now host a new podcast called Faith, Tech, and Space. 

I began contributing to Penton Technology websites in January 2015 and in April 2017 I was hired as the Senior Content Producer for Penton Technology which is now Informa Tech. In that role, I contribute to ITPro Today and cover operating systems, enterprise technology, and productivity.

Sign up for the ITPro Today newsletter
Stay on top of the IT universe with commentary, news analysis, how-to's, and tips delivered to your inbox daily.

You May Also Like