Microsoft at the moment unveiled its employee-experience platform, Viva, which the corporate calls a digital “gateway” for staff to entry related information, studying, analytics and data inside their group.
4 Viva “modules” — Connections, Insights, Studying and Matters — will turn out to be out there in Teams on a staggered foundation over the subsequent few months, Microsoft mentioned, leveraging present capabilities throughout the Microsoft 365 portfolio, together with SharePoint and analytics instruments.
The platform can be designed to offer managers and leaders higher perceptions into the well-being and efficiency of staff, the corporate mentioned.
“Right this moment we’re bringing collectively collaboration, studying and well-being, with a purpose to create an entire new product class: [the] worker expertise platform or EXP,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella mentioned in a pre-recorded briefing forward of the announcement.
Simply as enterprise useful resource planning (ERP) functions related accounting and finance to core enterprise operations three many years in the past, companies at the moment are looking for comparable alignment with worker going through methods, Nadella mentioned.
“We consider the identical paradigm shift that occurred with ERP then will occur with EXP at the moment,” he mentioned. “Individuals operations will not be restricted to HR, however shall be built-in throughout each side of the enterprise with a purpose to enhance the general well being and resilience of the group.
“Each group would require a unified worker expertise, from onboarding and collaboration to steady studying and progress,” Nadella mentioned. “These can not be siloed capabilities.”
The launch of Viva comes as an enterprise focus distant staff continues to develop, significantly throughout the pandemic and rise of distributed workforces. Microsoft argues that the “fragmented” market for worker expertise instruments, which incorporates from worker coaching to advantages, analytics and different wellness points, is already value a staggering $300 billion globally.
“However too typically, these applied sciences are fragmented, arduous to seek out and disruptive to the movement of labor,” Jared Spataro, company vp for Microsoft 365, mentioned in a weblog publish on Thursday.
As firms put together to assist a big distant workforce post-pandemic, curiosity in instruments that monitor and handle worker expertise is on the rise. SAP’s profitable Qualtrics IPO and HR software program vendor Workday’s $700 million acquisition of worker engagement analytics supplier Peakon are two latest examples. And Salesforce in 2020 launched its worker expertise platform Work.com.
“Certainly, the pandemic has [placed a] greater give attention to worker expertise due to the situations many needed to adapt to,” mentioned Carolina Milanesi, a principal analyst at Inventive Methods. “This, in flip, has highlighted the gaps many organizations had in terms of assist, prepare[ing] and handle expertise. …Individuals realized that the best way they labored doesn’t replicate the best way we must be working. This, coupled with larger visibility given to working situations, societal points and upskilling creates an excellent second for Microsoft to ship an holistic platform.”
Microsoft’s present strengths round office productiveness — and the increase in Teams use, which now has 115 million day by day energetic customers — put the seller in an excellent place to introduce worker expertise capabilities, mentioned David Johnson, a principal analyst at Forrester.
“Microsoft understands how vital know-how is in individuals’s day by day working lives, that it’s a large a part of their total worker expertise,” mentioned Johnson. “Drawing consciousness to this and creating options to assist firms create a greater expertise for their staff is an effective transfer.”
Milanesi additionally famous that Microsoft has a wider attain than most firms targeted on worker expertise. “The most important benefit that Microsoft has is that it builds on options which might be already current in lots of organizations like Yammer and leans into a robust cloud- and AI-enabled platform. Different options are extra restricted in scope and don’t essentially get the benefit of plugging into as many sources and shall be judged on a a lot narrower return, which could convey extra scrutiny to their price.”
For Microsoft 365 prospects, the launch of Viva may enable IT to play a extra energetic position in managing and coordinating worker expertise for their group.
“Until we work in HR, most of us do not use HRIS [HR information system] software program each single day; we use Microsoft or different productiveness software program to get our jobs executed,” mentioned Johnson. “What [the Viva launch] is doing is to make the CIO’s position in worker expertise a lot extra distinguished, one thing that we have been predicting for a number of years.
“By integrating capabilities into Teams it places them extra within the movement of individuals’s work and most significantly, it raises consciousness.”
The shift to distant work has affected staff’ sense of neighborhood and belonging inside their group, particularly for new hires, with 60% of staff feeling disconnected since going distant, based on Microsoft analysis.
Viva Connections is a personalised digital office constructed on SharePoint. From right here, staff can entry a variety of content material, together with inside firm information, insurance policies and advantages, and work together with varied teams and communities, because of integration with Microsoft apps together with Yammer, SharePoint and Stream.
Each employee gets a personalized news feed, which internal communications teams can use to highlight important information — it’s accessed in the dashboard that serves as the Viva homepage.
The Connections app can be customized with corporate branding and curated content to target groups of employees with focused information and tools.
Connections is slated to be available on Teams desktop in the first half of 2021, with the mobile app following in the summer.
An analytics tools, Viva Insights, is aimed at both individual employees and managers and can track productivity and well-being at a personal and business-wide level.
Viva Insights, which replaces two existing Microsoft 365 tools — MyAnalytics and Workplace Analytics — will offer an overview of productivity levels, said Microsoft. The goal is to ensure employee well-being and avoid burnout by, for example, detecting when an employee has too many meetings and not enough focus time.
Additional features such as virtual commutes and integration with the Headspace meditation and mindfulness app will be available in the “coming months,” along with an integration with Viva Learning.
In addition to tapping into data from Microsoft’s own products such as Teams and Outlook, Viva Insights will incorporate data from third-party applications, including video tools like Zoom and HR platforms from Workday and SAP SuccessFactors.
Microsoft has drawn criticism for its Productivity Score tool in recent months, which can allow managers to monitor individual productivity levels. The company said that personal data derived from Viva Insights is only be viewable by the individual employee, while higher-level info is accessible by business leaders and managers only after being aggregated and anonymized, with privacy set by default.
Viva Insights can be downloaded for Teams today, with personal insights available for Microsoft Exchange Online users in public preview, and manager insights available to existing Workplace Analytics customers.
The Viva Learning app for Teams, now in private preview, is a central repository for learning materials. The aim is to help employees easily hunt down information needed to do their job, from training videos to PowerPoint presentations.
Teams users can search and share learning content in chat and create their own “tab” within the collaboration platform to organize their content.
Learning content is available from a range of sources, from Microsoft Learn and LinkedIn Learning to third-party providers such as Coursera and PluralSight. Viva Learning will also integrate with learning management systems from Cornerstone OnDemand, SAP SuccessFactors and others.
Viva Learning is currently being piloted with select Microsoft customersl a general release is pegged for “later this year.”
Finally, Viva Topics is a knowledge management platform that helps an employee access the information that relates to their job role.
Topics uses AI to collect content across an organization into topic areas such as projects, products, or customers, collating information from within the Microsoft 365 ecosystem as well as third-party providers such as Salesforce and ServiceNow. These topic pages are automatically collated by Microsoft’s AI, with an organization’s “experts” able to add and edit the wiki-style pages.
Topic “cards” are also available within Microsoft 365 apps, highlighting topics when they appear in certain messages or other content within apps, providing quick context around unfamiliar acronyms or terms, for example.
Topics are arranged around a “topic center” which will eventually be viewable from Teams and SharePoint, allowing workers to discover content recommended to them based on topics they follow, and personalized by the Microsoft Graph.
Viva Topics is generally available as of today for all Microsoft 365 customers.
Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.