New Microsoft Viva products – Pulse and Amplify


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The Microsoft Viva family continues to grow – they have announced new apps as well as a host of new features…let’s take a look.

Microsoft Viva Pulse

This allows managers to gather feedback from their team members, in a regular and confidential manner via Teams. It comes with templates and suggested questions which help ensure the right questions are being asked in the best way – something which can be difficult for a manager to get right on their own.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2022/09/22/empower-and-energize-employees-with-microsoft-viva/

Microsoft also mention that Glint, currently a separate but related product, will be “coming to Viva” in 2023.

Apply for the Microsoft Viva Pulse Customer Advisory Board here.

Microsoft Viva Amplify

This is aimed at supporting “effective communication at scale” and will help leaders write effective messages to their teams and organisations, and then publish it across multiple channels and receive analytics to understand how well they were received etc. It sounds quite useful as internal corporate messaging can often be disjointed with little insight into effectiveness…but I know some will be concerned about whether the analytics allows for invasive tracking of employees.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2022/09/22/empower-and-energize-employees-with-microsoft-viva/

Apply for the Viva Amplify preview program here.

New features across Viva

Viva Engage Leadership Corner

This, as the name suggests, has been developed to help leaders better communicate and connect with people across the organisation. It enables Ask Me Anything (AMA) events, surveys, and news to be published and, again, tracked with metrics and sentiment analysis.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2022/09/22/empower-and-energize-employees-with-microsoft-viva/

Answers in Microsoft Viva

This will be available within the Viva Engage app, to users licensed for Viva Suite, and will work with Viva Topics and Viva Engage. It uses AI to match user questions to existing answers and highlights relevant topics and experts. It also uses gamification to to encourage people to add content to the knowledge base.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2022/09/22/empower-and-energize-employees-with-microsoft-viva/

The continued growth of Viva through 2022 shows that Microsoft are betting big on this area an also shows it’s likely to reach Dynamics 365 levels of confusion pretty quickly 😊 Some things are apps, some are features, some are in the suite, some are standalone, some are inside one thing but work with another and so on…it’s definitely going to be its own ecosystem!

Check out the Microsoft post here which has even more new features and info.

Microsoft Viva Sales – another new member


Hot on the heels of Viva Goals, Microsoft have introduced Viva Sales. This latest family member is a “new seller experience” that brings Microsoft 365 & Teams together with “any” CRM system to streamline processes for salespeople…it also adds a hint of AI into the mix.

Areas it helps with include:

  • AI organised data and tasks
  • Inbuilt sentiment analysis
  • Surfacing unstructured data from Office documents
  • Automated data capture
  • Reminders

and more, with Microsoft describing it as a sales coach that helps move deals along. It will also surface “business context” data within Outlook and Teams and allow salespeople to update their CRM from those platforms too.

Much of this is, as with many other products, about keeping people within Teams as much as possible – making it the “collaboration hub” for users across organisations.

A feature called Sales Conversation Intelligence (SCI) will help sellers byl:

  • Generating meeting summaries
  • Tracking customer sentiment
  • Suggesting action items

all to keep deals on track and moving along.

Licensing and pricing

Viva Sales is free for users already licensed with Dynamics 365 Enterprise and Premium – for everyone else it will be $40 per user per month. It hits General Availability on October 3rd, 2022 and is NOT part of the Viva Suite.

I like the sound of what Viva Sales can do and am keen to check it out further – as anything that makes sales and customer management easier is a good thing. No matter the CRM you use, it’s never as intuitive and easy to use as users would like…perhaps Viva Sales will go some way to alleviating that. Or perhaps it will just be one more thing to add to the mix?!

Further Reading

Microsoft Announcement

Microsoft Viva Sales page

More info on features and pricing

Microsoft Viva Goals


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The Microsoft Viva family has been around for a little while now and I really think it will become a big product for Microsoft – eventually. There doesn’t seem to be much focus on it at the moment but I’m sure that will change…and Viva Goals will help that. It is built on Ally.io which Microsoft acquired back in October 2021 and really aligns to the need for businesses to be more streamlined and focused than ever.

What is it?

Microsoft Viva Goals is all about OKRs – Objectives & Key Results – and helping organisations keep them visible in order to achieve what the business aims to do. An OKR is defined as:

a proven goal-setting framework for creating alignment, focus and building a highly productive and engaged work culture to drive your business outcomes.

Enabling everyone in a business to see what they, and everyone else, are working towards helps create more efficient, united organisations.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-viva/goals

Microsoft have some great resources on OKRs as a concept here.

Features

Although currently only available in Private Preview (and only in English), the product features within Viva Goals include:

Which gives a good overview of what can be done with the product. Of course, Viva Goals will have strong integration with Teams to help make OKR usage an integral part of internal communication.

I think understanding and successfully using OKRs will be a key skill sought after by many organisations – I’ll be completing the OKR Champion program on Microsoft Learn to get up to speed!

Further Reading

Intro to Viva Goals

Microsoft Viva Insights: What is it?


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Microsoft Viva is the new range of Employee Experience tools from Microsoft and is made up of a range of Viva products:

  • Insights
  • Topics
  • Learning
  • Connections

A brief overview of the four components is here but I want to dive deeper into Viva Insights.

What is it?

Initially it looked like it would build upon the Workplace Analytics product but Viva Insights is now listed as “formerly Workplace Analytics” so it appears to be a rebrand as well as adding new features. Tbh, that makes sense as it helps to keep everything in the “Viva” bucket.

Viva Insights aims to improve employee wellbeing and productivity through using data to highlight people’s work habits such as answering emails outside of work hours and spending too much time in meetings for example. It will also provide reminders to block out time for “focus tasks” and help managers ensure they schedule regular 1-1 meetings with team members. The personal insights also include mindfulness sessions, reminders to take breaks, and a check-in to gauge a user’s mood.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-viva/buy-insights?activetab=pivot%3aoverviewtab

It aims to provide insights at a team level and also an organisation wide level, enabling action to be taken wherever potential issues may arise. Given the impact of COVID-19 and the long-term increase in flexible working, anything that can help organisations better look after their employees – and enable employees to better look after themselves – is well timed and has the potential to be very useful.

I speak to a lot of people who find themselves on constant back to back video meetings and calls, with little time to process any of that information and even less to simply sit back and think and plan. More work = less productivity in many cases and Viva Insights may help with this…if used properly.

Pricing & Licensing

Viva Insights is an add-on license to:

  • Office 365 E1/E3/E5 (plus the A and G versions)
  • Microsoft 365 E3/E5 (plus the A and G versions)
  • Microsoft 365 365 Business Basic/Standard/Premium
  • Exchange Online Plan 1/2

and costs $4 per user per month.

Certain “personal insights” are available to all users with a license that includes Exchange Online, while others require the above add-on. There is also the extra consideration of Viva Insights Capacity.

Viva Insights Capacity

There are a range of additional things that an organisation can do with the data generated by Viva Insights – and this is where we get into the realm of capacity credits.

These additional capabilities include:

  • Analysis templates to quickly generate interactive Power BI reports tailored to common business scenarios
  • Advanced tools to help users query and customize metrics and combine Viva Insights data with external data, such as customer relationship management (CRM) and survey data
  • Analysis accelerators including an R-script library to help analyze organizational data trends, processes and networks
  • Built-in safeguards to help protect personal privacy
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-viva/buy-insights?activetab=pivot%3aoverviewtab

Pricing & licensing

Each Viva Insights license includes 1 capacity credit per month, pooled across the tenant. If an organisation requires additional capacity credits, they are licensed in increments of 5,000 credits and costs $5,000 per month.

Unused credits expire monthly.

Conclusion

Viva Insights represents two growing trends for Microsoft:

  • Software that is sold to parts of the business other than IT
  • Licensing which involves ongoing usage “credits” that can, potentially, be consumed in huge amounts across an organisation…and run up big bills

Organisations are definitely going to be looking for products that help them in this area and, within organisations already using Microsoft 365, Microsoft are well placed to be among the options.

If you’re responsible for Microsoft spend within your organisation, this is certainly something to keep an eye on in the future!

Further Reading

Microsoft Viva Insights

Microsoft Viva Insights Capacity

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