How you can benefit from Microsoft VIVA

18-03-2021 Interview with the IntraActive team about Microsoft VIVA and the options the new modules offer

Microsoft VIVA is the hot topic right now when it comes to collaboration and knowledge sharing solutions. Microsoft VIVA is part of the Microsoft 365 platform. Microsoft says that VIVA is the first product from Microsoft, which was developed during a pandemic with all employees working from home.

I, Peter Gøtterup, have gathered 3 good colleagues, Lasse, Helle and Niels, from the IntraActive team to hear how they view Microsoft VIVA and how it will affect the digital workplace in Microsoft 365, a platform that we in the IntraActive team deliver solutions and products for.

Lasse Skjelmose (Product Owner), Helle Scweers (Product Owner), Niels Brinch (Product Development Manager) and Peter Gøtterup (Product Director)


Peter: Lasse, what does Microsoft VIVA contain here in 2021?

Lasse: VIVA is several things or functional modules, and it can create a bit of confusion. VIVA is not just one thing, so we will probably call the individual modules by name when we mention them, so let me list below.

VIVA is:

  • Connections - For communication and culture
  • Insights - Measuring points in relation to personal productivity and health status
  • Topics - For knowledge, ie. a knowledge solution based on what you already have
  • Learning - There is, yes, a learning solution for Teams.

We anticipate that there will be a lot of new features in these new Teams Apps in the coming months.

Peter: Niels, Microsoft VIVA supports EXP or Employee Experience, but how do you understand this concept?

Niels: This is the way the employee experiences being part of an organization and as fewer of us enter a common office with a logo on the wall, it has become even more important to have other ways of signaling to the employee what company they are part of. It includes both on-boarding and off-boarding and everything in between and a really important part of it is the news that the company regularly shares, where they can tell about their victories and successes as well as other good stories that can make employees happy. Be part of a journey. So it's to do with culture and values ​​and not least loyalty.

Peter: Helle, what areas do you see as the most interesting and how do they affect our Microsoft 365 customers?

Helle: In terms of my own interest in communication and knowledge sharing, I think the most interesting areas are Connections and Topics. Perhaps especially Connections, which does not require an additional license and automatically becomes part of the customer's solution. Connections is referred to as a love child between SharePoint and Yammer and the idea is that the user gets a personal and corporate branded stream of news and information presented in an app in Teams.

Connections is Microsoft's attempt to create a single entrance to the digital workplace, where the user can stay up to date on all communications and tools in one place. Now I have not experienced Connections, so exactly how it affects our Microsoft 365 customers is difficult to say. I'm excited about how the end-user experience will be. Whether it will be an overload of information or whether it is really spot-on relevant. In addition, I am also excited about whether you as an organization feel confident that the important information actually reaches its target, because each dashboard looks different for the individual user. So there will probably be some loss of control.

Peter: If you do not use Yammer, then where is the love?

Helle: An organization needs to use Yammer because they see a value in getting a knowledge sharing platform, but you can use Connections without using Yammer!

Peter: How do Connections affect our IntraActive customers?

Helle: If the customers' users use Teams a lot, it is definitely relevant, but it requires that you have a good Intranet and here a certain amount of news and posts in Yammer! It is important to say that the news feed is a feed that is controlled by some algorithms and an Intranet Manager may lose control here.

Peter: Lasse, who is Microsoft VIVA targeting, is it all types of companies?

Lasse: It is easy to say that VIVA is for large companies, but in reality VIVA is several different things and can easily create great value for all sizes of organizations. But from what we have seen so far, I think that VIVA is obviously for those who are already well on their way to using Microsoft 365, for example have an Intranet on SharePoint Online and have used Yammer, Outlook and Teams. If you are already here, then the VIVA modules can give you more value and new possibilities - and several of the elements do not cost extra; so why not just try it out?

Peter: Niels, what are the new technologies in play with Microsoft VIVA and is there anything particularly interesting?

Niels: VIVA is a new way of packing the same things. As such, VIVA does not include any new technologies, but it does consist of some of the technologies from the Microsoft 365 platform that not many people know about yet.

VIVA Connection is e.g. just a SharePoint Home Site. The latest is probably VIVA Topics, which consists of technology that comes out of Project Cortex. Viva Topics is a knowledge management system that collects information (people, documents and connections) onto topic pages using AI and manual curation. It is thus possible to classify content and I think this is an interesting solution for companies that have a lot of content. We in the IntraActive team focus in our product development on facilitating content creation and maintenance of content and here classification of content will be really exciting and interesting to see in action. However, some organizations probably do not have the problem of having too much content and Viva Topics is also semi-expensive, so it is probably not something all organizations benefit from using.

Peter: Helle, what significance does Microsoft VIVA have for our IntraActive products?

Helle: We have to keep a very close eye on the VIVA modules because of course they are in our half of the ball court. Connections and Learning in particular speak directly into IntraActive Intranet and IntraActive Learning. We must ensure that we play well with VIVA, so that our customers do not have to opt out of IntraActive or VIVA, but that VIVA and IntraActive together create more value. And then we must focus on delivering in the areas where Microsoft still does not deliver: Control, Governance and Content Creation, which is what we focus on in our 3 products, IntraActive Intranet, IntraActive Learning and IntraActive Governance.

Peter: Thank you Lasse, Helle and Niels for your input on Microsoft VIVA. I think we can conclude that the VIVA modules look really interesting and that they give our customers a number of new options that they should explore and try out. Likewise, we in the IntraActive team are already working on joining the journey Microsoft VIVA is embarking on, where the digital workplace is inside Microsoft Teams and this is where we with our IntraActive products must meet the users!