Microsoft Viva explained. All you need to know about Microsoft Viva.

2 August 2021

Microsoft Viva explained. The blog that provides a summary of all the information you need to know about Microsoft Viva as well as videos, useful links and much more.

Last updated on: 13/09/2021


What is Microsoft Viva?

Microsoft describes Microsoft Viva as "the first employee experience platform to bring tools for employee engagement, learning, wellbeing and knowledge discovery, directly into the flow of people’s work. Viva is designed to help employees learn, grow and thrive, with new experiences that integrate with the productivity and collaboration capabilities in Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams."

Microsoft Viva builds on the power of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 to unify the employee experience across four key areas — Engagement, Wellbeing, Learning and Knowledge — in an integrated experience that empowers people to be their best. 

4 Key Pillars of Microsoft Viva

Microsoft Viva Overview - four key pillar logos

Pillar 1: Microsoft Viva Connections

Viva Connections is a framework through which you can deliver your intranet within Microsoft Teams. Effectively this is the "Home App" in Teams.

Employees can access internal communications and company resources like policies and benefits and participate in communities like employee resource groups, all from a single customisable app within Microsoft Teams. The emphasis here is on "customisable" as it will obviously still require you to deliver and communicate content effectively through an experience that aligns with purpose, objectives and culture of your organisation.

The key is though that today more and more employees are using Microsoft Teams as their primary place to communicate and collaborate with colleagues. Viva Connections is a way of delivering content even if employees don't log into SharePoint daily.


Microsoft Viva Connections - Discover news and conversations2


How much does Viva Connections cost? Well, there is further good news here. Viva Connections is free! Viva Connections is available to all Microsoft 365 customers as part of any existing Microsoft 365 and SharePoint Online license. If a user has access to SharePoint Online, then Viva Connections will be accessible at no additional costs.


Why use Microsoft Viva Connections?


  • Get the most from your SharePoint intranet. If people are spending more time in Teams, it might mean they could miss important company news or updates. By bringing the content from your SharePoint intranet into Viva Connections, you create a rich, personalised employee experience.
  • Employee Engagement. By bringing company communications and news into Teams, Microsoft is aiming to address engagement challenges.
  • More mobile friendly. No matter what your role is in the company - a frontline worker or an information worker - Microsoft Viva Connections will offer a streamlined experience for tackling important tasks from your mobile.

What are some of the limitations of Viva Connections?

  • Only modern SharePoint sites and pages can be viewed in Teams. All other content will open in a browser.
  • Some functionality is not available yet for SharePoint pages viewed in Microsoft Teams.


Pillar 2: Microsoft Viva Topics

Microsoft Viva Topics helps people put knowledge to work, using AI to surface expertise in the apps they use every day. Viva Topics automatically organizes content across apps and teams with built-in security and compliance features.

Key features of Microsoft Viva Topics 

(Note that some of these are still on the Microsoft roadmap and not fully delivered)

  • Automatically identify topics. Recognise common topics across content and conversations, organise information, and generate topic pages.
  • Find related topics. Discover and display complementary topics and expertise from across sources.
  • Automatically build topic pages. Create topic pages and topic cards using suggested definitions, related content, relevant conversations, and expertise.
  • Curate topics. Cultivate knowledge using your experts and AI to refine topic pages.
  • Topic highlights. Show topic highlights and display Topic Cards in any Microsoft 365 app.
  • Find topics anywhere. Give people the knowledge they need anytime, anywhere by using Search to discover topics.

Our team has done extensive work with Microsoft Viva Topics, and we share much more information about it on the this page dedicated to Viva Topics:

More about Viva Topics


Pillar 3: Microsoft Viva Learning

Microsoft Viva Learning empowers people to better themselves with employee training—naturally and without disruption. it encourages a culture of growth that helps people reach their potential.

Microsoft Viva Learning is a personalised learning app within Microsoft Teams that can be fully integrated with an existing Learning Management Systems.

A user will open Microsoft Viva Learning inside Teams and see a selection of courses curated (in other words, automatically selected and organised courses based on the user’s profile and learning history) for them from a range of different providers. Viva Learning can be compared to Spotify in that it is focused on self-discovery and recommendations based on the individual’s profile and learning history.

Microsoft Viva Learning preview

Microsoft has announced integration with a variety of training content providers and learning management system (LMS) companies.

Content that will be immediately available comes from a variety of sources including:

  • Your company’s own learning resources
  • Microsoft Learning
  • LinkedIn Learning
  • Skillsoft
  • Coursera
  • Pluralsight
  • edX


Pillar 4: Microsoft Viva Insights

Encourage personal wellbeing and build organisational resilience with insights and actions in the apps people use every day.

Microsoft Viva Insights provides:

Insights for business leaders

Address critical questions about resilience and work culture, and build better work habits with insights and recommendations fuelled by data and research.

Insights for managers

Understand patterns that lead to burnout and stress like collaboration overload and too little focus time.


Why is Microsoft investing into Microsoft Viva?

Viva is Microsoft’s entry into the increasingly crowded category of employee experience technology, competing against companies including Qualtrics and Limeade.

It’s part of a larger effort by Microsoft to make Teams a central hub for work, attempting to give its communication and collaboration software an edge over rivals such as Zoom, Slack and Google, while expanding its productivity technologies further beyond the core Microsoft Office suite.

Microsoft also believes that businesses will need to make major investments in employee experience technology, whether they choose Microsoft Viva or not and are encouraging the development of an ecosystem built around the Viva platform. 


Is Microsoft Viva already available?

The Viva Connections Teams app was released in April 2021 for general availability worldwide. Public preview of the Microsoft Viva Connections mobile app is available later this month (September 2021).

Viva Topics is already available for desktop and an app for Teams will be available later this year.

Viva Learning is currently in public preview. No dates have been announced yet for general availability but it is likely to launch late 2021.

The Teams Viva Insights app is already available and the full Viva Insights will be available later this year.


What is the pricing for Microsoft Viva?

Microsoft Viva Connections: There is no additional cost for Viva Connections. However, it does require access to Microsoft Teams and SharePoint Online licenses.

Microsoft Viva Topics: An add-on license is required to an existing Microsoft 365 SKU. More details on pricing and how to sign-up for a free trial is available on Microsoft's website. Please note the pricing changed July 2021. 

Microsoft Viva Learning: There is no available pricing at the moment. Subscription costs are likely to be announced towards the end of 2021.

Microsoft Viva Insights: There is a free option if you have Exchange Online. This includes the Viva Insight app which is similar to MyAnalytics. There is add-on tier for the organisational view but you will need a Workplace Analytics license. Please note the pricing changed July 2021.


How can I setup Microsoft Viva?

The Microsoft Viva Connections template can be downloaded directly from Microsoft's website.  However. before you download the package, we recommend that you review the step-by-step guide to setting up Viva Connections.

Microsoft Viva Topics - see our series of videos and tips on how to setup Microsoft Viva Topics.





How do I add Viva Insights to Microsoft Teams? Open Microsoft Teams and then go to Apps (the icon is on the bottom left hand side of Teams). Search for Insights (Microsoft Corporation) and then click on Add.


What is the roadmap for Microsoft Viva?

The mobile experience for Viva Connections will be available in Teams in the summer of 2021, and in conjunction with the mobile experience, Microsoft will also release an update to the desktop experience. The summer update for the desktop experience will focus on improvements for IT administrators and deployment enhancements. 

The release for Viva Topics due this coming December, includes extended language support and further improvements such as questions on topics will receive automated answers or get referred to subject matter experts.



Microsoft Partner of the Year Award

ClearPeople has been named a finalist of the Employee Experience 2021 Microsoft Partner of the Year Award. ClearPeople was recognized for providing outstanding solutions and services in employee experience.

Why does Atlas complement Microsoft Viva?


Author bio

Gabriel Karawani

Gabriel Karawani

My focus is the vision and evolution of our Atlas Digital Workspace for Microsoft Office 365. As one of two co-founders, my role is a wonderful mix of technology and business. I have had the privilege of working with most of our awesome colleagues, clients and partners from day one. I get excited about new technology and helping our clients find ways of doing what they do even better. The Microsoft stack with Office 365, Azure and related services is a key enabler in my world of delivering the best possible digital workspace solution on the planet. Together with our customers and our partners we are driving innovation to take advantage of AI, ML, Cognitive Services, to enable our users to participate, know and achieve more.

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