In the last blog of his ten-part series on internal communications and digital collaboration trends, our associate partner, Rik shares his thoughts on Microsoft’s new platform, Viva.
All together now
In my previous blogs in this series, I described various new ways of working, such as hybrid and asynchronous working, virtual leadership, and Working Out Loud and In the Narrative. All these require proper digital tools as well as an organisation-wide agreement on a suitable toolset. After all, digital collaboration doesn’t really work when everyone is using a different platform.
For many organisations, this platform may well soon become Microsoft Viva. Of course, this is largely because Microsoft is their preferred supplier, but the Redmond giant may also be on to something.
Viva the experience
Microsoft calls Viva its new ‘Employee Experience Platform’, but in effect, it brings together existing tools such as Teams, SharePoint, and Yammer. It adds an engagement layer to these apps, though, and makes them all accessible in one place: Teams.
Viva, for now, consists of four parts*. With Connections, you create a visually appealing starting point for your employees, a major step forward from dull SharePoint intranets. Viva Learning brings together all learning options in an organisation, including courses from external e-learning providers such as LinkedIn Learning (part of Microsoft since 2016).
While formal learning is covered by Viva Learning, the informal learning and knowledge sharing I talked about in an earlier post is the domain of Viva Topics. This categorises content from all kinds of Microsoft apps, including Teams and SharePoint, and makes it available under automatically generated topics. Combined with Working Out Loud, this could be very powerful, although the categorisation seems to require quite some manual tweaking. Topics is built on Cortex, Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence engine. (Check! A trends blog series wouldn’t be complete without mentioning AI!)
The last part of Viva is Insights, which, as the name suggests, provides insights into employee engagement. It looks at this on three levels: personal, team, and organisation. There’s a whiff of the monitoring software I discussed earlier, which plays a part in destroying trust and the Great Resignation. Insights kicked up quite a media storm when it was announced, but Microsoft guarantees it is fully anonymous and customisable to organisational and cultural tastes.
From what we hear, Microsoft has big plans for Viva. The Viva product team will be sharing more about these plans in a webinar we are organising on 12 September at 4 pm CET. You can register your interest in joining this webinar here.
In this blog series, I outlined ten trends that are all part of the future of work. By this, I mean the new, more hybrid and digital ways of working which received a boost from the big pandemic-induced home-working experiment.
The last trend, described in this blog, is about the organisation-wide digital toolset needed to facilitate all the trends covered before. I think Microsoft’s Viva will play an important role here, with its focus on employee experience.
But whatever digital tools you use, I hope I have helped you realise that the future of work is here and that it offers many benefits both to organisations and to their employees.
* From September, Yammer will also become part of Viva, as Viva Engage. This was still under wraps as I published this article, but has since been publicly announced by Microsoft. They will explain further in the webinar on 12 September.