Microsoft announces Viva, a group of tools to help improve remote work

Viva will exist within Teams and Microsoft 365, where it offers access to personal insights and company resources

Microsoft has announced its new employee experience platform, called Viva, at an online news event on February 4th. The news event was the first of many focused, virtual events Microsoft reportedly has planned for this year.

The Redmond, Washington-based company touted Viva as a way to help employees learn, grow and thrive through experiences that integrate across the Microsoft 365 suite and Teams. Plus, the company positioned Viva as a new method for helping employees connect as organizations continue to work remotely.

As part of the announcement, Microsoft unveiled four initial Viva ‘modules,’ with plans to expand on these in the future. The four modules are ‘Connections,’ ‘Insights,’ ‘Learning’ and ‘Topics.’

Viva modules aim to increase connectivity and access to resources

Microsoft says that Viva Connections will provide a “personalized gateway to your digital workplace.” In other words, the Viva Connections module pulls internal communications, company resources and more into a customizable app within Microsoft Teams.

The Viva Connections modules will be available in Teams on desktop in public preview within the first half of 2021, with a mobile app coming later this year.

Viva Insights will offer individual employees, managers and leaders access to personalized and actionable insights. For example, employees can view personal experiences and insights (which are only visible to that individual) to help block out time for breaks, focused work or learning. The insights could also help build relationships with colleagues.

On the other hand, managers and team leaders can see trends at a team and organization level. Further, Viva Insights can provide recommendations to help balance productivity and wellbeing.

Microsoft says that Viva Insights pulls from aggregated and de-identified data by default to maintain privacy. Considering the company previously received criticism over a ‘productivity score’ tool that essentially acted as workplace surveillance. Hopefully, Microsoft takes more care with its Viva Insights tool to protect people’s privacy.

The Viva Learning module will aggregate company learning resources into one place so they’re easier to access.

Microsoft says Learning can pull from available resources on LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn and third-party providers like Skillsoft, Coursera, Pluralsight and more. Users can discover, share, assign and track learning content. The app is available now in private preview.

Finally, Viva Topics aims to improve knowledge discovery to connect people to information and experts from across a company. Topics uses artificial intelligence (AI) to surface topic cards within conversations and documents throughout Microsoft 365 and Teams.

Users can click cards to view the topic page and related documents, conversations, videos and people. Topics is generally available now as an add-on to Microsoft 365 commercial plans.

Those interested can learn more about Microsoft Viva here.