Microsoft Viva: Here’s what we know about the new platform

4 Feb 2021

Satya Nadella announcing the launch of Microsoft Viva. Image: Microsoft

Microsoft is betting on a remote work future with new platform Viva, which aims to be a one-stop-shop for employee experience and engagement.

Microsoft products have been invaluable in many virtual workplaces over the past year. Today (4 February), the tech giant has launched its latest offering, Microsoft Viva, which is an employee experience platform incorporating communications, wellbeing, learning and more. Users will be able to align these with daily workflows through integrations with Microsoft 365 and Teams.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that the last year has brought “the largest at-scale remote work experiment the world has seen” and now his company is looking to reimagine how dispersed teams can work.

“Every organisation will require a unified employee experience, from onboarding and collaboration to continuous learning and growth,” he said. “Viva brings together everything an employee needs to be successful from day one in a single, integrated experience directly in Teams.”

What to expect from Microsoft Viva

Microsoft Viva aims to unite Microsoft 365 and Teams across four key pillars: engagement, wellbeing, learning and knowledge. Here’s what the company has announced so far.

A hub called Viva Connections will bring you to your shared digital workplace. It will allow users to store and access company resources and employee resource groups. The desktop version will be launched in the first half of 2021, Microsoft said, with a mobile app planned for roll-out later this year.

Screenshot of Microsoft Viva Connections.

Microsoft Viva Connections. Image: Microsoft

Through Viva Insights, users will get access to personalised insights and information. Only the user in question will be able to see their own Insights, which Microsoft hopes will help them “protect time for regular breaks, focused work and learning, as well as strengthen relationships with their colleagues”.

Managers and leaders will be able to view wider trends and patterns aggregated from the individual insights, but Microsoft said these will be de-identified by default to protect personal privacy.

They’ll also have access to a new dashboard that combines employee feedback through other platforms – such as LinkedIn Glint, Zoom, Workday and SAP SuccessFactors – with collaboration data from Viva.

Screenshot of Viva Insights.

Microsoft Viva Insights. Image: Microsoft

Training and professional development are another focus. Viva Learning will gather all the learning resources available to a company in one place. It will collate in-house content with resources from LinkedIn Learning and Microsoft Learn, as well as third-party providers like Skillsoft, Coursera, Pluralsight and EdX.

Later this year, users will be able to integrate their Viva Learning app with other learning management systems, such as Cornerstone OnDemand and Saba.

Screenshot of Viva Learning.

Microsoft Viva Learning. Image: Microsoft

Finally, Viva Topics will deliver a “knowledge discovery experience”, according to Microsoft, linking people with information and experts throughout the organisation. This feature will use AI to automatically suggest topic cards within conversations and documents in 365 and Teams, which users can then click into. Topics is available now as an add-on for commercial 365 users.

Screenshot of Viva Topics.

Microsoft Viva Topics. Image: Microsoft

‘The next horizon of innovation’

A number of international partners, such as Accenture, EY and PwC, will provide consulting and advisory services to help customers bring their existing employee experience investments together with Microsoft Viva.

“As the world of work changes, the next horizon of innovation will come from a focus on creativity, engagement and wellbeing so organisations can build cultures of resilience and ingenuity,” said Jared Spataro, corporate vice-president of Microsoft 365.

“Our vision is to deliver a platform for the employee experience that helps organisations create a thriving culture with engaged employees and inspiring leaders.”

Lisa Ardill was careers editor at Silicon Republic until June 2021