The theme around this spring’s Microsoft Ignite 2021 event coalesced around the new way of working, so it makes sense that the event would devote time to Microsoft Viva. Announced in February, the “employee experience platform” is positioned as a launch pad for workers to tap into team communications, habit-forming tools to enhance the workday experience and access to learning resources. Think of it as a turbocharged home page or desktop environment combined with a personal assistant.
In February, Microsoft said Viva would have four modules:
- Connections – This module provides a curated, company-branded experience including news, conversations and other resources for employees.
- Insights – This module will, over time, bring Microsoft Workplace Analytics and Microsoft Analytics into Viva, and give users insights personal wellbeing experiences, including a virtual commute, an integration with Headspace for meditation and mindfulness, and an integration with Microsoft Viva Learning
- Learning – This module is an app in Teams that creates a central hub for learning where people can access training or assign it to others. It will be tied into LinkedIn Learning.
- Topics – This module would surface content and expertise across the workplace to help connect employees and pool information.
This week at Microsoft Ignite 2021, it was Viva Connections' turn in the spotlight, as it has now moved to general availability in Microsoft 365 as part of Microsoft Teams.
According to Microsoft 365 Corporate Vice President Jared Spataro, focusing in on employee experiences is a critical step in a post pandemic business world.
“Today, organizations spend over $300 billion a year on employee experience. That number includes employee development and training, benefits and wellbeing, and a whole host of employee experience technologies. But too often, these technologies are fragmented, hard to find, and disruptive to the flow of work,” he said.
“We believe what’s needed is a new approach and a new category of technology solutions called employee experience platforms (EXP).” Spataro said at Ignite 2021.
EXP is a “digital platform that provides people with the resources and support they need, seamlessly integrated within the same tools they use to do their work, so they can succeed and thrive no matter their location.”
Since it is an integral part of Microsoft 365, information for Viva Connections can be brought into the new portal from Microsoft 365 apps like SharePoint, Yammer and Microsoft Stream. Trusted external sources of news and information can also be added to Viva Connections. All of this content can be customized by the user plus they can directly contribute to the content in the Viva Connections gateway.
Viva Connections is available as an app inside of Microsoft Teams and provides a personalized company-branded, curated portal offering important news, conversations and information from other sources across the company.
Availability: Microsoft Viva Connections is generally available to all Microsoft 365 customers who are licensed to use SharePoint in their tenant. Microsoft 365 tenant admins may need to enable access to the app in Microsoft Teams through the admin portal.