Microsoft Commercially Releases Viva Goals and Previews Viva Sales
Microsoft on Monday announced the "general availability" commercial released of Viva Goals, plus a preview release of Viva Sales.
The two products are new "modules" (or Web applications) in the Microsoft Viva suite, which Microsoft bills as its "employee experience platform." Viva modules get accessed within the Microsoft Teams collaboration service, and there are currently about seven of them, namely:
- Viva Connections, which provides a news feed and permits content sharing.
- Viva Insights, which is designed for employee time management.
- Viva Learning, giving employees access to learning libraries.
- Viva Topics, used to surface information within organizations.
- Viva Goals, the Viva Sales Preview and the LinkedIn Glint add-on for getting employee feedback.
Viva Goals General Availability
Viva Goals is an objectives and key results (OKRs) service aiming to align worker efforts with company goals. It's a software implementation of a concept that's been credited to Intel CEO Andy Grove, dating back to the 1970s, according to Chris McNulty, director of product marketing for Microsoft 365, in this Microsoft podcast on the topic.
Microsoft produced its Viva Goals product after acquiring Seattle, Wash.-based startup Ally.io late last year. The transition from acquisition to Microsoft general availability product release was a relatively quick one with Viva Goals, according to Mark Kashman, a senior product manager at Microsoft, in the podcast.
Back in May, Viva Goals had been at the private preview stage, so it's had a quick progression.
Viva Goals carries out a so-called "OKR framework" by stating objectives and measuring how those objectives are met. It also has "initiatives," which represent the activities for achieving those objectives, according to a description by Vetri Vellore, Viva Goals lead at Microsoft, in this Microsoft Mechanics blog post.
Microsoft is integrating Viva Goals with other tools besides Teams to make it part of the 'flow of work," Vellore explained:
If you're a developer, it [Viva Goals] integrates with Azure DevOps. Additionally, it works with other work management and data tools, and you can expect to see even more integrations with other Viva modules, Power BI, GitHub, and more Microsoft 365 apps over time.
There are about 24 integrations of Viva Goals with other products, which range from Amazon Redshift to Zendesk, per Microsoft's announcement.
The setup of Viva Goals is somewhat nuanced. For instance, it can be set up to address different cultural styles at organizations. Details can be found in this "Introduction to Microsoft Viva Goals" document.
Microsoft is selling Viva Goals as an individual product at $6.00 per user per month, or as part of the Microsoft Viva suite of applications, as described at the pricing page. Organizations also will need a Microsoft Teams product license to use Viva Goals.
Viva Sales Preview
Viva Sales is now available as a public preview, after its initial announcement in June. Microsoft calls Viva Sales its "smart CRM companion."
Viva Sales promises to take away the drudgery of having to manually enter sales information using Microsoft 365 Office applications, and is designed to work with customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
The drudgery work is taken away, in part, by artificial intelligence that works to find sales information. Specifically, Microsoft's Context IQ solution is used for that purpose. Context IQ is associated with Office 365, Teams and Dynamics 365 services.
Currently, the Viva Sales preview works with "Dynamics 365 Sales and Salesforce CRMs," according to this Microsoft FAQ document. The use of a CRM is required with using Viva Sales, according to the FAQ.
Microsoft already has a Dynamics 365 Sales product. Microsoft had explained back in June, though, that Viva Sales will be included in that product, which has broader capabilities.
The Viva Sales preview currently can work with CRM data in Outlook and Teams. It lets sellers capture customer information in Microsoft Outlook with "a few clicks." It can produce "call summaries, track customer sentiment and suggest action items for customer follow-ups post calls," per Microsoft's announcement. Sales conversations can be shared in Teams and Outlook using Viva Sales. Microsoft also suggested that Viva Sales will respect an organization's "security and privacy policies" when sharing customer information.
Microsoft isn't charging organizations to use the Viva Sales at its preview stage, but they will need to have "Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams" licensing, plus a supported CRM, to try it, per the FAQ. Organizations can set up the preview using the Microsoft 365 Admin Center portal, Microsoft indicated.
Microsoft plans to announce pricing for Viva Sales when the product reaches the "general availability" stage, although the timing wasn't indicated.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.