Microsoft Viva: A New Step For Employee Apps

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Microsoft Viva: A New Step For Employee Apps
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Microsoft announced Microsoft Viva's launch on Feb. 4 in a new chapter in the company's employee applications strategy. Building on its position in employee productivity and collaboration with Teams, Microsoft Viva expands its reach even further into the burgeoning field of employee experience. 

Viva integrates support for employee engagement, well-being, knowledge management, and experience analytics through Microsoft Teams. Until now, the functionality offered on disparate applications, but the reorganization into a single platform places them in a new light geared toward business users. Some of the previous acquisitions are also coming into their own. 

Viva is tapping a broader employee experience trend, thanks in part to people's increasingly demanding expectations regarding how they want their business tools to function, and exacerbated by existing tools becoming increasingly complex. According to a CCS Insight report, 76% of employees think workplace technology is a deciding factor in employment decisions. 

Because of the widespread impacts of remote working over the past few months, the employee experience is even more under scrutiny, revealing weaknesses in businesses' abilities to sustain corporate culture when people are away from the office. 

While flexible working will remain popular — 56% of employees want to work from home once a week. Research from CCS Insight indicates that businesses are now more conscious of the need to address these weaknesses. Businesses must make investments that make employees feel connected to the organization. 

Ultimately, the employee must feel a sense of belonging to the culture in order to feel valued and supported, allowing them to grow, and ultimately inspire them to contribute to the organization's overall success. 

Read more: How the CIO and CHRO Will Rethink Employee Experience Together 

Employee experience is the focus of employee activity 

Unsurprisingly, employee experience is also a hot topic for software providers, with various approaches to these challenges. Some software focuses on employee enabling, for example, through L&D or employee onboarding. There's a clear overlap with employee engagement, and this kind of software obviously targets HR buyers. 

Another category focuses on analyzing the employee experience and leverages the tools employees use to assess and improve their experience. There are three categories of solutions: 

  • IT teams track and resolve potential problems as they occur with employees' IT applications, devices, and services. Examples include network connectivity issues, device startup problems, or errors while they are using an application.

  • The way employees and business leaders use their tools to identify behavior concerns and then work to resolve these.

  • Using natural language processing and artificial intelligence, employee sentiment derived from responses to questionnaires and conversations in workplace collaboration applications.

An Employee Experience Platform 

Microsoft Viva boasts a few of these features, although not all. Positioned as a unified employee experience solution that spans all four of these areas, Viva is currently comprised of four components: Connections, Topics, Learning, and Insights. 

This is delivered in four new "apps" for Microsoft Teams, utilizing existing and previously announced Microsoft products capabilities, including SharePoint, LinkedIn Learning, and Glint. Viva Topics, Viva Connections and Viva Learning focus on employee enablement, while Viva Insights tackles some experience analytics. 

Related Article: Find out more about Viva here. 

The Final Word: 

Microsoft's Viva is an important launch for the company, but it will continue to evolve and get better in the coming months. 

In fact, it's fascinating to see LinkedIn's assets, which Microsoft acquired nearly five years ago, play a more central role in Microsoft's employee apps story and feed more through the Microsoft flywheel. 

Microsoft Productivity Score from the Microsoft portfolio isn't yet counted in Viva Insights. Microsoft will launch productivity Score in late 2020. It will combine data about how employees use collaboration tools with data about their technology experiences, whether they are running the latest versions of Microsoft 365 apps. 

Although this tool is positioned more as an IT tool than a business tool, some overlap with the Viva Insights capabilities. Microsoft may be able to combine these tools. Microsoft Viva Marks Next Step in Employee Apps.

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