Viva Connections: What your intranet wants to be

    Microsoft earlier this month introduced Microsoft Viva, a brand new built-in Employee Experience Platform (EXP) that brings collectively communications, information, studying, sources, and insights inand delivers them by way of Microsoft Teams. There are 4 modules: Viva Topics, Viva Insights, Viva Learning, and Viva Connections. While each group could not use all 4 modules, or each side of every module, Microsoft Viva contains one thing for each group.I’m enthusiastic about all of the elements of Microsoft Viva. I really like how the modules are built-in, safe, people-centric, and designed to be delivered in Microsoft Teams. One of one of the best elements is that the branding and classification of Viva as an EXP facilitates a dialog between IT, HR, and Communications. It helps every of those departments suppose extra holistically concerning the worth they’ll deliver collectively — and strikes the intranet dialog to deal with worker expertise extra comprehensively.Many organizations have finished so for years, however I’ve seen manner too many the place this dialog doesn’t occur — primarily as a result of completely different departments nonetheless work in silos and aren’t targeted on the holistic worker digital expertise. This is a large worth proposition for Microsoft Viva as a result of it concretely demonstrates the worth of “better together” inside each group — not simply with Microsoft expertise. Each aspect alone is nice, and collectively, they’re even higher.Here, I need to deal with why your intranet, if it might have a voice, desires to leverage the capabilities in Viva Connections.Getting prepared for Viva ConnectionsOne of the explanations many intranet initiatives fail is that organizations place an excessive amount of emphasis on communications and never sufficient on work integration. Great intranets should not about constructing web sites that mimic the group chart (who we’re and what we do) and delivering information. A terrific intranet is about creating experiences and providers that assist everybody within the group do their job.Since the providers which are wanted by several types of individuals in a corporation could differ, one of the best intranets ship each providers and information focused to every kind of service shopper – based mostly on our position, our geography, our work group, or our pursuits. Is Viva Connections going to magically do this for you? Unfortunately, no. But you may make it be just right for you for those who prepare by doing the next:Understanding your organizational priorities.
    Understanding the crucial inside providers in your group and the knowledge that helps these providers, together with descriptions, kinds, insurance policies, procedures, functions, contacts, and coaching.
    Understanding your key consumer roles or personas and the knowledge and providers every one must be profitable.
    Defining the knowledge structure (websites, navigation, pages, and metadata) and viewers teams to help the providers.
    Planning governance, together with content material administration and accountability.
    Implementing ongoing studying alternatives to make sure that everybody has the suitable expertise and information to achieve success.
    Building your intranet in SharePoint and making certain that you’ve got a house website.
    What to anticipateViva Connections doesn’t create the clever intranet for you; it offers the infrastructure to ship your intranet to your customers within the context of the place they’re most likely already working — Microsoft Teams — and creates a framework for extending your intranet and making it higher. Is it the “home site app in Teams” promised at Ignite 2020? Yes, however it’s greater than that.To higher perceive Viva Connections, I’ve tried to learn each Microsoft weblog publish, and watch all of the movies and hearken to as many podcasts and interviews as I can. I additionally reached out to Omar Shahine, vp of product, Microsoft 365 — OneDrive and SharePoint, to make clear issues. While Viva Connections will embrace options which are obtainable straight in SharePoint, it additionally contains native Teams apps that can solely work in Microsoft Teams. I anticipate extra particular examples at Microsoft Ignite subsequent week.Here is how I perceive the weather of Viva Connections:The Personalized Feed The feed is designed to ship a curated, customized feed of vital information, conversations, and communities (i.e. Yammer). Curation implies that content material authors want to know tips on how to goal content material — and it means IT should be sure that related audiences can be found. This is a crucial cause why it’s so critically vital to know your key organizational data “audiences” as a part of your intranet planning.You might want to create the required Azure Active Directory Groups prematurely and practice content material authors and curators to make use of focusing on after they create information and different data to attenuate the noise in every individual’s feed. News options introduced at Ignite 2020, corresponding to the power to “boost” information within the feed till it has been considered or for a particular date or variety of impressions, assist be sure that authoritative information is prioritized. I don’t suppose that you just want Viva Connections to expertise “boosted” information, however the customized feed contains way more than simply SharePoint information (what’s already proven within the customized information on the SharePoint begin web page). The feed is completely different from the prevailing My Feed net half in SharePoint, which is pushed by alerts within the Microsoft Graph and your exercise.The feed in Viva Connections is extra targeted on SharePoint News, Yammer Announcements, and different “announcement-style” data.The DashboardThe Dashboard is a brand new expertise that gives a framework for presenting focused apps to customers — for instance, Teams or SharePoint Framework apps, photos and video, or URLs. The dashboard tiles can both hyperlink the consumer to the app expertise or ship the expertise contained in the dashboard itself (corresponding to when submitting a time without work request). The dashboard apps really feel so much like the house display widgets in iOS 14 — and SharePoint net elements, for that matter.The concept of getting “snippets” of utility code delivered within the context of an intranet is hardly new. But many intranet options don’t evolve to the purpose the place these apps are delivered. I’m hoping the dashboard offers a simplified manner of making and delivering these app widgets by non-developers. (Shahine  promised it will likely be “identical to making a SharePoint web page. This has me very excited to see the expertise!) I discover the naming right here a bit of complicated; it could be simpler for me to elucidate the whole expertise as a dashboard and the widgets as Resources within the Dashboard – however that’s simply me.Resources Looking on the screenshots and GIFs offered from Microsoft and Seth Patton’s weblog publish introducing Viva Connections, Resources in Viva Connections embrace (or might embrace) a number of issues:Pinned sources. I don’t know whether or not these are stuff you pin or the group pins in your behalf.
    Recently opened SharePoint websites.
    Global navigation hyperlinks from the house website.
    Links to your high Yammer communities and a method to see all communities.
    Links to your high video playlists and a method to see all video playlists.
    This is the place I would like extra clarification, as a result of you probably have sources that workers want on a regular basis and also you haven’t already focused them in your world intranet navigation, you most likely want to return and re-think your world nav. That stated, it seems like Resources offers a manner of “boosting” these things within the Teams expertise from an app perspective. Exploring the worldwide navigation can imply a variety of scrolling to get to key sources you want day-after-day — like submitting an expense report — or that the group desires to make extra seen, corresponding to the newest COVID-19 coverage replace.What it appears likeI grabbed this screenshot from a video on the Microsoft Viva Connections for leaders web page and added my very own annotations. This is the one screenshot the place I used to be in a position to see all the weather of Microsoft Viva in a single place, and it exhibits the desktop expertise in Teams. Microsoft
    Viva Connections in Microsoft Teams.
    This is basically the hyperlink to the “home site app in Teams” branded with your individual title and emblem. You might name the app the title of your organization or the title of your intranet. This is the way you expertise Viva Connections; it isn’t branded “Viva Connections,” it’s branded with a reputation and colours you select. When you click on the app hyperlink, you see the house web page of your intranet. The instance exhibits a house web page with what appears like a vertical part. I’m unsure whether or not it is a particular part solely seen in Teams or whether or not these identical components are curated in SharePoint within the browser and simply delivered in Teams.
    This is the navigation on the house website of your intranet, which is probably going offering the supply to your world navigation. Notice the “My SharePoint” hyperlink to the SharePoint begin web page that you just get while you allow the house website. You don’t get any “automatic” navigation while you deploy the house website. This is one thing that your data architect ought to design based mostly on understanding your group and examined together with your customers earlier than deploying. I design intranet world navigation experiences as a part of my work — and till you check your proposed navigation with actual customers, you received’t notice what’s lacking or must be adjusted.
    These are the Dashboard apps that your group has created and focused for the logged-in consumer.
    This is the place the customized feed may be added to your house website. This can be obtainable within the browser along with Teams.
    This exhibits the opposite Teams apps which are a part of Microsoft Viva: Insights, Learning, and Topics.
    This appears just like the News net half in SharePoint, proven utilizing the Tiles structure with the 4 most-recent tales featured. The News net half and this structure should not new — and you’ll select to make use of this structure in your intranet (or any) dwelling web page at this time.
    What will it price?It’s not clear how Viva Connections can be priced, however from what I’ve learn and heard, it’s not going to be 100% free. Here’s what I do know to date:Viva Topics is an add-on to current Microsoft 365 licenses and pricing is listed at $5 consumer/month and requires an annual dedication.
    Insights is on the market as a free private app in Microsoft Teams at this time. The superior instruments and integrations described on the launch announcement for Viva Insights require a license for Microsoft Workplace Analytics.
    Viva Learning contains integration with third-party providers like Pluralsight, Skillsoft, and SAP SuccessFactors, which have their very own licensing mannequin; it’s not clear whether or not there can be free elements of Viva Learning (for instance, the combination with Microsoft Learn content material).
    Viva Connections pricing (if any) is a thriller. There could also be pricing for components within the Dashboard that leverage premium connectors much like the pricing for Power Automate, however I’m hoping that the power to ship a house website in Teams isn’t going to require a further charge. Beyond that, we should wait till Ignite to study extra.
    More to come back at IgniteHopefully, you are satisfied that you might want to plan to reap the benefits of Viva Connections, if solely to make your intranet (and all of its customers) glad! Microsoft is tweeting simply sufficient teases to make it clear you’re going to need to take part in Microsoft Ignite. I’ll publish extra as I study extra, and I’m certain the dialogue will proceed as we get to check out the connective tissue in Viva Connections.

    Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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