At Microsoft, Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 were built as the organizing layer for people for collaborating, learning, and working. With the onset of the pandemic, businesses pivoted overnight to new realities of how their staff would be working in this new hybrid work environment that combined remote and onsite employees. Even before this pandemic, Microsoft was already laying the foundation for and building a unified system with dynamically growing parts that would support and sustain this system.
Microsoft Teams provides a secure and integrated user experience, a single solution for meetings, chats, content collaboration, calls, and business process workflows. Fun fact – global Microsoft 365 users generated more than 30 billion collaboration minutes in a single day as people collaborated, communicated, and co-authored content. That is a lot of daily collaboration and communication.
Microsoft recognizes this and has created a new category of technology called the employee experience platform (EXP). This platform provides people with the resources and support they need to continue to succeed and thrive in their collaborations and communications. This platform is seamlessly integrated with the tools that they are already using so there is minimal negative impact with maximum gains for their workflow and production, regardless of their physical location.
The tools that are already currently being used and leveraged under Microsoft 365 include Microsoft Teams and other Microsoft 365 apps that are used daily by people. Today, at Ignite 2021, Microsoft announced the first EXP that brings resources, communications, knowledge, insights, and learning together into an integrated experience that empowers its users and teams to the best that they can be from any location. The first EXP is Microsoft Viva which currently consists of four modules:
- Viva Connections;
- Viva Insights;
- Viva Learning; and
- Viva Topics.
As Microsoft Viva evolves, there will be more modules added. In this installment, we will delve into what Viva Connections is all about.
Viva Connections can be thought of as the gateway to your digital workplace. With businesses turning to hybrid models of work for their staff, the comradery once felt with working side by side, town halls, and events have become harder to capture and support. For new hires, this feeling of connectiveness is even more elusive.
Viva Connections addresses the feeling of being less connected to their colleagues, teammates, and peers by providing a single entry point for internal communications and employee engagement with a curated and branded employee destination.
Built with SharePoint capabilities in Microsoft 365, Viva Connections provides leaders the platform to connect with their people with town halls while employees can keep connected to their organization, teams, and individuals by accessing everything they need, whether it is company news or policies to employee benefits or resource groups or by joining communities through Yammer. With Viva Connections’ dashboard, which can be customized with a personalized feed, employees can find resources across Microsoft Viva and from other apps across the organization’s digital workplace. Fully customizable, the content can contain comprehensive and appropriate resources that are needed for specific roles within the organization.
As part of their existing SharePoint and Microsoft 365 licenses, Viva Connections will be made available to all customers. In other words, if your organization has a license for SharePoint, then all your employees in your organization can use Viva Connections at no additional cost.
The rollout for Viva Connections experience on the desktop for Teams will be generally available to all customers by the end of March 2021 with the mobile Teams experience available in the summer of 2021. An update to the desktop experience will be released in conjunction with the mobile release.
The summer 2021 update for the desktop experience will focus on deployment enhancements and improvements for IT administrators. Webparts for the feed and dashboard will be released as part of the update to align with the mobile experience.
Aviva Connections is a great solution that is available for all licensed SharePoint and Microsoft 365 customers. Don’t leave your people feeling like they are alone, working in silos. Instead, prepare for Microsoft Viva Connections by upgrading to SharePoint Online, deploying a SharePoint home site, and launching Yammer communities in Microsoft Teams and then implement this module for the individuals of your organization.
Join me in the next installment, Microsoft Viva Part 2: Viva Insights, as we look at the values that Viva Insights brings to us.
About the Author:
I am a Microsoft Office 365 MVP with 25 years to Information Technology consulting; 20 years working with Microsoft 365, SharePoint and Microsoft Content Management System.
I am an active member in the SharePoint community and have spoken in many SharePoint conferences, local events, and corporate functions.
I am a Cloud Solution Architect and I have been providing Office 365 services surrounding architecture, planning, migration and governance for medium to large-scale organizations. During the past few years, I have designed, architected, and implemented hundreds of SharePoint solutions for ECM, collaborations, Business Processes, and Search. Some of these solutions were winners of Global Awards or top Canadian SharePoint ECM implementations.
This has giving me the opportunity to work with great talented colleagues and
people who I have a lot of respect for their passion and dedication.
Maadarani, M. (2021). Part 1: Viva Connections. Available at: https://www.maadarani.com/microsoft-viva/ [Accessed: 30th August 2021].