The platform is its big bet that this new way of life will become the norm, as Microsoft designed Viva as a portal for employees and businesses to navigate the complexities of working from home.
Microsoft Viva is not an application or service, but rather a platform for improving remote work and helping companies adapt to it.
As companies collectively spend billions of dollars each year on employee welfare, Microsoft believes its new platform helps in this new digital age of work.
Designed specifically for the new flexible digital work era, the platform integrates into Microsoft Teams and instead operates like a legacy intranet by bundling the essential parts of the business in a central location.
Microsoft divides Viva into four specific modules: Communications, Insights, Themes, and Learning.
Communications includes internal communications, or resources, and is also designed to be your gateway if you just start working for a company and have never met coworkers due to pandemic shutdowns.
Communications in Viva is built on the basis of Microsoft’s SharePoint technology, and includes things like company news, or even employee resource groups and communities.
The insights appear to be the next step in Microsoft’s controversial productivity score feature, as the company has been widely criticized for allowing managers to search individual employee data through metadata gathered from its software and services.
The company has had to make changes to its productivity score, and the insights are building on those similar privacy-focused visions of managers and employees.
Microsoft says: Insights include data for managers and leaders to monitor patterns and trends in work, but this privacy is protected, meaning that personal insights are visible to the employee only, while insights for managers and leaders are collected and de-identified by default to protect individual privacy.
This unit relates to employee learning and development, and is where employers include training materials, courses, and other employee education content.
This includes content from LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn and even business content, as well as training materials from third parties.
Microsoft says: Think of Topics as an organization’s Wikipedia, where artificial intelligence is used to organize content and it automatically shows topic cards within documents, videos, and related people.
Topics create topic cards from apps like: Office, Teams, and SharePoint.
The platform is partially launched today, the themes are now available to Microsoft 365 customers, and the company plans to announce more additions to Microsoft Viva throughout 2021.
Microsoft says it is just starting with Microsoft Viva and is designed as an open and scalable platform for partners.
The platform also reinforces Microsoft’s ambition to put Teams at the center of its business strategy and serve as the hub for everything the company does.
And while there is still debate about how to drastically change office functions once the pandemic is over, Microsoft is betting a lot that the way we work now is the new, natural way.