Microsoft readies more modules for its Viva employee-experience suite

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Today Microsoft took the wraps off new apps that it plans to add to its Viva employee-experience platform in the coming year. The company also announced that its Viva Sales CRM companion app will be generally available on October 3. Officials made these announcements during a virtual event on September 22.

Viva is meant to help companies onboard and interact with employees, whether those employees are on site, working remotely or in some kind of hybrid-work mode. Microsoft first went public with Viva, which runs on Teams, in February 2021. The suite included a combination of already available and new Microsoft technologies, including Yammer, SharePoint, and pieces of its “Project Cortex” knowledge management work.

Viva includes a growing family of modules: Viva Connections for broadcasting internal communications and company resources; Viva Insights, personal well-being services like Virtual Commute, Headspace integration and recommended actions based on analytics; Viva Topics, which is meant to help people connect with experts discovered through People Cards; and Viva Learning, a hub for users to access company-provided and third-party learning materials. Since the initial launch of Viva, Microsoft has added other modules to it, including Viva Goals, Viva Engage and Viva Sales, the first of a number of role-based apps coming to the suite.

Microsoft is revising the Viva Connections home page so that users will be able to see all the Viva apps in one place. Viva Pulse is a new feedback app coming to the suite in 2023 that builds on and extends the Microsoft Forms poll capabilities. Viva Amplify, another new app in the suite, is designed for “communications teams and leaders” so they can broadcast their messages and campaigns more consistently and broadly.

Microsoft also is adding new integration points in Viva Goals, including an enhanced Teams app that allows users to check in and collaborate on Objectives and Key Results (OKRs); an integration with Azure DevOps for automatically updating work items; a link to Power BI datasets for tracking Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and results; and integrations with Microsoft Planner and Project. More integrations between Viva Learning and LinkedIn Learning are on the roadmap as well, allowing users to see all their LinkedIn Learning Hub content synced inside Teams.

Viva Engage, its rebranded Teams Communities app, is getting a new “Leadership Corner” where employees can interact directly with management and host Ask Me Anything (AMA) events. And while the concept of profile cards already exists in Microsoft 365, Microsoft is adding a new People capability in Microsoft Viva capability to these cards to add more information to them, such as interests, areas of knowledge and goals.

Officials reiterated today that the company is still planning to add the Glint HR tools that Microsoft bought in 2018 to the VIva suite sometime in 2023.  

Viva Sales, which will be generally available October 3, is a CRM “companion” app that is meant to integrate with Teams, Outlook and Office apps including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Officials said that it would work with Microsoft’s own Dynamics 365 Sales CRM app/service and CRM systems from other companies, starting with Salesforce’s CRM system. While officials wouldn’t disclose future plans, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Viva-branded apps for users in marketing, finance and IT at some point.

Microsoft also published today  its latest Work Trend Index findings, based on interviews by Edelman Data & Intelligence with 20,000 full-time or self-employed knowledge workers in 11 markets this summer. Highlights included ways to address ongoing distrust by many in management about how productive remote workers can be and the need to “re-recruit and re-energize” employees.

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