Microsoft Viva Suite Adding Amplify and Skills Apps

Microsoft announced new Viva apps and enhancements this month.

Microsoft this week announced Viva product enhancements, including the general availability (GA) of Viva Amplify, the debut of a new Skills product, plus Copilot artificial intelligence (AI) perks and more.

Viva is Microsoft's "employee experience" product line that has rapidly grown since its debut a couple years ago. The flagship suite product offering consists of about nine different applications focused on HR, communications, goals and learning aspects within organizations.

Viva apps get accessed within Microsoft Teams. The apps are typically sold as part of Viva product bundles, as shown at Microsoft's pricing page.

Viva Amplify GA
The new Viva Amplify addition, which is part of the broad flagship Viva suite, aims to help organizations with internal communications publishing.

With Viva Amplify, organizations can set up a review process before sending messages. They can preview and schedule content. Viva Amplify helps organizations create "consistent and effective messages across platforms." It'll let organizations track "who has read" a message. Also, organizations get "robust reporting and analytics" on message campaigns, which works with HCR systems down to the level of job roles, according to this Viva Amplify announcement.

Debut of Skills in Viva
Skills in Viva is a new AI-enhanced product for assessing employee skills that "will be included in the Microsoft Viva Suite license at no additional cost and will enter into private preview by the end of 2023," according to this Microsoft announcement on Skills.

Skills in Viva leverages Microsoft Graph data that's associated with the use of Microsoft 365 applications (such as "emails, documents, meetings, chats, top contacts," etc.). It also uses the Skills Graph data from the LinkedIn careers site (Microsoft owns LinkedIn). Microsoft described the LinkedIn Skill Graph as "a dynamic model that leverages real-time signals from 148 industries and over 200 countries to map the global skills landscape, including how 39,000 unique skills relate to each other, to jobs, and to learning content."

Graph data are used by the AI capability in Skills in Viva to "intelligently infer an employee's skills profile." HR can get a dashboard view of "skill strengths and weaknesses across the organization."

Skills in Viva works with Viva Learning to show "AI-based skill recommendations" to employees. It has a "user-confirmed skills" capability for employees. These user-confirmed skills show up in the employee's Microsoft 365 profile card in "Outlook, Teams, and other Microsoft 365 apps and services."

Copilot in Viva Goals Private Preview
Microsoft is putting Copilot AI into most of its Viva applications, and its integration into Viva Goals is now at the limited private preview stage, per this Viva Goals announcement.

Viva Goals is Microsoft's objectives and key results (OKR) service for organization-wide goal setting that reached the GA stage last year. The Copilot AI addition to Viva Goals is an augmentation that promises the following capabilities:

  • Generate OKR recommendations from strategy documents
  • Make suggestions via conversational AI, and
  • Publish progress summaries.

Also in private preview is the ability to customize goals in Viva Goals, which offers organizations more flexibility than Microsoft's OKR methodology. For instance, the labels that Viva Goals uses can be changed ("OKR" can be changed to "Goal," etc.). Microsoft also suggested that a future product enhancement will let organizations "create metrics and projects without a direct alignment to a goal."

Microsoft additionally touted Viva Goals' integration with Azure DevOps for tracking projects, which is currently available. It published a "Viva Goals x ADO Playbook" (PDF), which illustrates how the two solutions work together.

Viva October Additions
Microsoft also described Viva product additions arriving this month in this "What's New" post.

One highlight is a new version of Viva Connections, which is the general landing page for Viva suite users. Microsoft is also introducing Viva Home, which is just an Web page with navigation to Viva apps. Viva Home is static and can't be customized, unlike Viva Connections.

The new version of Viva Connections permits organizational branding and showcases organizational news. It has a new space for announcements, a new dashboard, plus "curated" resources get organized using icons.

Viva Connections also has an Announcements capability that permits sending messages via Microsoft Teams using push notifications. Organizations also can create "News cards" to send to different employee groups. There are custom layouts for cards, plus card support for "Microsoft Sway, Microsoft Forms and Power Apps." The Analytics capability of Viva Connections will chart how users have interacted with "components of the Viva Connections experience."

Viva Engage is getting a long-form article posting capability that Microsoft calls "Articles." It lets organizations create newsletters with "images, GIFs, videos and quotes." Viva Engage's Network Analytics capability will let organizations view content response information by exporting the data into "reports or Power BI." Organizations can also use Viva Engage with Microsoft Purview to track communication compliance.

Microsoft also plans to release an "Organizational Data in Microsoft 365" feature in "late October." It's a new capability that "allows you to upload organizational data from HR information systems to unlock premium capabilities and features across M365 and Viva in apps such as Viva Amplify and Insights, as well as in augmenting the Profile Card." Organizational Data in Microsoft 365 is expected to reach the GA stage in "early November."

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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