Virtual collaboration can be difficult in the age of remote work and hybrid work. A new Microsoft platform could assist employees, managers, and organizations collectively.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many organizations around the globe have transitioned to remote work. Some organizations have made long-term commitments to remote work and new Microsoft modules could enhance team workflows, information sharing, learning opportunities, and more. On Thursday, Microsoft announced Microsoft Viva as part of a "new approach and a new category of technology solutions" the company is calling Employee Experience Platforms (EXP).
As our sister site ZDNet reported, Microsoft Viva brings together existing Microsoft offerings and new capabilities in one platform. Overall, Microsoft Viva consists of four modules including Viva Connections, Viva Learning, Viva Insights, and Viva Topics. Together, these features are intended to streamline communication and collaboration among remote and hybrid workforces. Microsoft 365 apps and Microsoft Teams grant access to these Viva offerings, according to Microsoft.
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"Viva marks Microsoft's entry into the category of tools for employee onboarding, ongoing work-related education, and knowledge discovery. Providing these kinds of employee resources virtually/remotely has become especially challenging during the ongoing COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic," said ZDNet contributor Mary Jo Foley in a post.
People can access Viva Connections via Microsoft Teams and the company likens this engagement and communication "single-entry point" as "a gateway to your digital workplace." Viva Connections exists as a one-stop-shop of sorts for organizational news, benefits, company communities, policy information, and more.
Viva Connections touts a customizable dashboard offering personalized control over the individual employee user experience, according to Microsoft, and this level of control extends to curated company content.
"The content can also be customized for specific roles within the company--including frontline workers--so that they have a comprehensive view of just the resources they need," said Jared Spataro, corporate vice president for Microsoft 365 in a blog post.
Viva Insights can be accessed in Teams and provides MyAnalytics and Workplace Analytics recommendations for managers and executives to enhance employee experiences. On a managerial level, Microsoft said that Viva Insights can be used to offer suggestions focused on team success and health and offered a use case to detail these capabilities.
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"Viva Insights can help a manager see if their team is at risk of burnout and provide recommendations like encouraging your team to turn off notifications, set boundaries in their calendar, and set daily priorities to focus on what matters most," Spataro said.
Microsoft said these capabilities "will start rolling out in the coming months."
The ability to upskill and retool is a popular perk for employees and the Viva platform offers these benefits via the Viva Learning module. Viva Learning allows organizations to provide employees with learning opportunities using artificial intelligence to suggest "the right content at the right time," according to Microsoft, and managers can access tools to monitor employee courseloads and progress.
"[Viva Learning] aggregates content from LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn, your organization's own custom content, and trainings from leading content providers like Skillsoft, Coursera, Pluralsight, and edX. Viva Learning also works with leading learning-management systems," Spataro said.
As part of Thursday's news, Microsoft also announced partnerships with Saba, Cornerstone OnDemand, and SAP SuccessFactors.
Telecommuting adds a layer of complexity to traditional information sharing across a company. To assist, Viva Topics connects employees with sources of knowledge within the organization.
"Think of Viva Topics as a Wikipedia with AI superpowers for your organization. It uses AI to automatically organize company-wide content and expertise into relevant categories like 'projects,' 'products,' 'processes,' and 'customers,'" Spataro said.
Viva Topics is generally available beginning Thursday with a public preview available for Viva Insights and a private preview for Viva Learning, according to Microsoft.
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