As we continue our blog series about using Microsoft Teams as a platform, we discuss how Microsoft Viva can provide you with a knowledge management solution.
This is Part 2 of a four-part series
No matter what your industry, every organization benefits from a solid foundation. In part one of our blog series about Microsoft Teams as a platform, we explain how and why your company should make Teams its digital work hub. Now we’ll discuss how adding Microsoft Viva to your Teams environment can help your company build a solid knowledge management (KM) solution and expand use cases within the platform.
A Brief Introduction to Knowledge Management
Knowledge management, which has been around for several decades, is the act of identifying, organizing, storing and disseminating information within an organization. KM also includes the people, process, culture and enabling technologies used to manage this information.
Key needs of nearly every organization, from small to large-scale include:
- Connection to information and knowledge
- An understanding of how well your organization is working as individuals or as teams
- Access to information to learn and train
- Information critical to the organization for operations.
Many of these needs are included in KM. When knowledge is not easily accessible within an organization, employees spend valuable time seeking out relevant information, which impacts your company in terms of time and money.
KM Can Benefit Organizations When Implemented Properly
While I was a Chief Knowledge Officer and Chief Information Officer for several years in the US Army, I recognized the benefits KM could bring to large organizations, but I was always disappointed at the limited KM enabling technologies at our disposal.
While the concepts were great, we could never achieve the significant benefits of having KM programs. And we weren’t alone – a lack of simple, easily implemented and quality knowledge management technologies resulted in many organizations reducing or eliminating investments in KM over time.
While the concept of KM has been around for many years, implementing a good KM system can be a struggle. In the past, this was especially true within the Microsoft stack. While Microsoft offered many individual components related to managing information, it lacked a way to bring all the information, processes and technologies together. Without a unified platform, users can’t make use of the information needed to develop a KM system that brings increased business value to the organization.
There is good news, though. The Microsoft stack has changed significantly over the past several years, primarily with two significant fundamental developments: the maturity of Microsoft Teams in support of knowledge management and the introduction of Microsoft Viva.
Adding KM Solutions to Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is the technology that brings information and knowledge together under one umbrella. It connects the end user to the most relevant information and knowledge across multiple information flows within the end user’s “flow of work.”
When combined with well-designed teams (such as channels, tabs, bots, connectors, and so on), automation of business processes surfaced within Teams, easily accessed communications (chats, calls, meetings and voice over IP), and integrated with key enterprise applications (both Microsoft and third parties), an organization gains significant efficiencies. You gain a significant advantage over competitors when you save time and resources.
Feature Improvements Make Teams Even More Valuable
Enhancements in Microsoft Teams over the past three years have been astonishing. Microsoft continues to roll out new and improved features, and thousands of companies have built integrations between Microsoft Teams and third-party applications.
While these developments have resulted in efficiency gains and cost savings to numerous organizations, there were still some technological gaps associated with KM within the Microsoft stack.
Enter Microsoft Viva. Microsoft Viva has four primary components that empower people and teams to be their best:
- Culture and communications
- Productivity and wellbeing
- People and expertise
- Skilling and growth.
July 2022 Update – Microsoft has announced three new Viva modules to help:
- Enhance and build the company’s social community and culture (Viva Engage)
- Organizational goal setting and progress monitoring (Viva Goals)
- Manage and enhance the company’s Sales Process (Viva Sales).
More details on each of these are provided below.
Microsoft Viva Bridges Technological KM Gaps
Microsoft Viva is a suite of applications that enhances overall KM within an organization. The real value comes when you combine or integrate apps with Microsoft Teams. As noted in my recent “Teams as a Platform” article part one, bringing the key applications and information to the end user “in the flow” of their day-to-day work can provide a significant return on investment (ROI) and cost savings across the organization.
Here are specific improvements in KM these tools bring to an organization:
Viva Connections is a curated, company-branded experience that brings together relevant news, conversations and resources in the apps and devices you use every day, including Microsoft Teams.
Connections is included in all Microsoft 365 plans with SharePoint Online. With Viva Connections, employees can find news, conversations and resources — everything they need to do their jobs well — all in one place.
Viva Connections can increase employee retention by encouraging meaningful connections across the entire organization in a remote or hybrid workplace. Connections keeps everyone linked so they feel like they belong. Viva Connections can also help foster a culture of inclusion by empowering every employee to contribute ideas and share feedback about any topic.
This application is perhaps the easiest to implement and may be one of the best ways to bring key information to the end user. An added benefit is it is free. Implementing Connections requires the organization to have a modern intranet based in SharePoint Online that is well-managed, governed and updated with critical organizational information.
Viva Topics helps connect people with knowledge and experts across the organization, enabling faster learning, better connections and innovation by making information and knowledge easier to find.
Topics applies Artificial Intelligence (AI) to identify knowledge and experts, then organizes data into shared topics. AI automatically creates a page for each topic, similar to a Wikipedia page for an enterprise in which AI creates the first draft. Topic pages are surfaced as Topic Cards right in the flow of work in Office and Teams.
- Viva Topics uses AI to connect, manage, and help protect your organization’s knowledge and expertise, delivering it across Microsoft 365 apps, such as Microsoft Teams, SharePoint Online and Search.
- Topics uses AI to reason over your organization’s data and identify, process, and organize content. Viva Topics automatically builds topic pages. These topic pages and topic cards use suggested definitions, related content, relevant conversations and expertise. Topics then curates and refines pages using your knowledge experts.
Viva Learning helps employees make learning a natural part of the day by bringing it into the flow of work with tools they already use.
You can easily find learning content across Microsoft, LinkedIn Learning, partner providers, learning management systems and your organization, all from within Microsoft Teams. And, you can set notifications for new learning activity. Other benefits include the following:
- Viva Learning allows end users to send and access learning content in a Teams message, meeting chat or email and develop new skills with personalized content recommendations.
- Managers can curate selections of learning content for their teams by adding a learning tab to any Teams channel from within Viva Learning. You can also track progress.
- Learning provides easy access to bookmarked learning items, recently viewed courses, content assigned from your learning management system and recommendations in the “My Learning” view.
Improve productivity and wellbeing with data-driven, privacy-protected insights and recommendations. Insights brings together Workplace Analytics and MyAnalytics, plus new productivity and wellbeing experiences, into a unified Viva Insights app in Teams.
Insights provides data-driven and privacy-protected data for individuals, managers and leaders. For example, employees get personalized insights (only they can see) that help them protect their time for breaks, focused work and learning in order to promote improved productivity and wellbeing.
Use this app to:
- Get personal insights in the flow of work – Explore ways to build better work habits. Track and improve the effectiveness of your meetings. Prioritize wellbeing with actionable recommendations, such as reserving time for focused work.
- Help teams balance productivity and wellbeing – Foster productivity and wellbeing for teams large or small with manager and leader insights. Help managers explore and build personal habits that impact team culture, for example, by scheduling “no-meeting” days.
- Address unique business challenges – Generate valuable insights and flexible reports for business leaders. Address complex challenges using advanced tools and a library of prebuilt analysis accelerators, visualizations, and interactive reports.
- Help keep your data safe and private – Only you can view personal data and insights based on work patterns. Trusted cloud security and privacy safeguards help enable organizations to maintain compliance with industry and regional requirements.
Microsoft’s Newest Viva Modules:
Recently, Microsoft announced three new modules that will continue to help organizations engage with their employees and bring even more knowledge directly to employees, all through Microsoft Teams.
- Viva Engage allows the company’s culture to shine with “Storylines,” allowing a more traditional social media communications method where employees can share photos, video and commentary that are more personal in nature. This will become even more valuable for organizations that have become more remote or hybrid, giving people a virtual water cooler experience that is hard to replicate in the hybrid work environment.
- Viva Goals allows organizations to implement an “Objectives and Key Results (OKR)” methodology where organizations, teams and individuals can set meaningful goals and measure progress towards meeting them. You can align these OKRs with projects and tasks and directly embedded in Teams conversations. You can also monitor progress through customized dashboards.
- Viva Sales helps people involved in the company’s sales process by leveraging artificial intelligence to provide context within Teams for communications and conversations related to customers. This module provides insights and suggestions related to sales conversations and activities, helps analyze sales calls and meetings by providing actionable reminders and performance analysis and makes recommendations to accelerate and close more sales.
Microsoft Viva is Part of a Comprehensive Success Strategy for Organizations
Gaining a competitive advantage is key in today’s modern world. Microsoft Viva can be a key part of your overall success as you look to leverage Teams to its full advantage and become a true knowledge-based organization.