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: 10/08/2022

Register now for a MS Viva Workshop with ClearPeople


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. 

Key Pillars of Microsoft Viva

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 customizable app within Microsoft Teams. The emphasis here is on "customizable" 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.


HubSpot Video


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 

  • 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 Viva Topics here:

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 fueled by data and research.

Insights for managers

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


Pillar 5: Viva Goals

Microsoft Viva Goals is a goal-setting and management solution that aligns teams to your organization’s strategic priorities, driving results and a thriving business. Viva Goals enables individuals and companies to organize and track their goals through “Objectives and Key Results” (OKRs).

Viva Goals aligns teams to your organization’s strategic priorities and unites them around the mission and purpose. It helps provide clarity on employees’ work and how that work makes an impact on the business’s most important priorities. With that alignment in place, teams then can focus on doing the work, making sound decisions, and driving the desired results for the business.

In addition, Viva Goals brings business goals into the flow of everyday work, making it easier to stay up to date with connected data and automated reminders as well as to share OKRs and their progress across the organization with customized dashboards and quick links. Viva Goals integrates with Microsoft Teams, Azure DevOps, and other work management and data tools that customers are already using—as well as more integrations to come with Microsoft Viva, Microsoft Power BI, and other Microsoft 365 apps and services. With Viva Goals, OKRs no longer exist in a silo separate from the employee experience and where people work.

Viva Goals will be included with the current Microsoft Viva suite subscription when it becomes generally available later in Q3 Calendar Year (CY) 2022.

All you need to know about Microsoft Viva Goals


Pillar 6: Viva Engage

Viva Engage is the latest addition to Microsoft’s Viva employee-experience platform. Microsoft is positioning Viva Engage as a social-community app with its roots in the Communities app for Teams.

Viva Engage can be viewed as the digital equivalent of passing conversations or water cooler moments. While you still have regular conversations with your closest colleagues, you are less likely talk frequently to people from other teams.

Viva Engage has all the features you would expect of a modern social media platform including news feeds, profiles, and the ability to post images and videos. Users get a profile page, similar to something like Facebook, where you can post status updates, photos, videos, and essentially anything else you’d find on a social network.

Key to Viva Engage are storylines and stories that connect colleagues and socialize their thoughts, knowledge, and experiences through conversations, images, and videos. 

Does Microsoft Viva Engage replace Yammer?



Why is Microsoft investing in Microsoft Viva?

Workplace communication platforms have grown in importance throughout the pandemic and millions began using Microsoft Teams. Hybrid work has also made digital employee experience more important than ever.

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 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 was available from September 2021.
  • Viva Topics is already available for desktop as well as an app for Teams.
  • Viva Learning has been made available in Teams desktop and mobile as of November 2021. Simply search 'Viva Learning' in the Teams app menu.
  • The Teams Viva Insights app and the full Viva Insights are also available.
  • Viva Goals is available in private preview and available later in Q3 Calendar Year (CY) 2022.
  • Rollout of the new Viva Engage tab, which will replace the existing Communities section, will start late August for all versions of Microsoft Teams, including web apps, desktop clients and mobile apps.

Demo of Microsoft Viva Suite

If you are looking for a short, but informative Microsoft Viva demo that includes the Microsoft Viva Suite, then click on Watch Now. This demo covers Microsoft Viva Connections, Viva Topics, Viva Learning, Viva Insights and SharePoint Syntex, and how organisations are benefitting from Microsoft Viva.



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: Depending on the location, the price is £3/$4 per user per month and £6.80/$8 per user per month when bought as part of Microsoft Viva Suite. More details on pricing and how to sign-up for a free trial is available on Microsoft's website

Microsoft Viva Learning: Viva Learning is available as an app within Teams and organisations and their users can access its features either through a ‘seeded’ or ‘premium’ license. A ‘seeded’ license means you have access to a range of Viva Learning capabilities as part of your Microsoft 365/ Office 365 F1, F3, E4, A3 and E5 to A5 subscription.

The premium version provides access to additional features through license options of $4 or £3 per user/per month. Find more information about pricing here.

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. 

Microsoft Viva Goals is part of the Viva Suite pricing. 

To use Microsoft Viva Engage, an organization must be licensed for Yammer. Viva Engage is therefore available at no additional cost to most Microsoft 365 customers.


How can I set up 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.


HubSpot Video



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.

Deploying Viva Engage
The Communities app for Teams will be rebranded as Viva Engage, deployable immediately into the Teams desktop, web, and mobile apps. For existing users of the Communities app for Teams, no change will be needed from admins. Current Yammer customers will be able to deploy and pin Viva Engage on the left rail of Teams through the Teams Admin Center. Also in late August, Storyline will open for public preview.


What is the roadmap for Microsoft Viva?

The mobile experience for Viva Connections was made available in Teams in the summer of 2021, and in conjunction with the mobile experience, Microsoft also released an update to the desktop experience that focused on improvements for IT administrators and deployment enhancements. 

Latest updates include:

  • Multilingual dashboard support
  • Sample card gallery
  • Further integration with 3rd party vendors


Viva Topics was released in December 2021 and included extended language support and further improvements such as questions on topics will receive automated answers or get referred to subject matter experts.

More recently, the following has been added:

Viva Topics in Outlook for the web - You can manually use hashtags to attach topic cards to any message. Viva Topics can then display those to your readers with suggested additional topics in the message pane.

Viva Topics insight analytics

As soon as Viva Topics is activated for your Microsoft 365 tenant, you will see a count of the files processed and topics that are discovered from those files. As more topics are discovered, and your knowledge managers and users are engaged, you will see a visible topics count and a breakdown of the topics discovered, created by users, hidden by settings and removed.


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.

How does Atlas complement Microsoft Viva?




This short, but informative, Microsoft Viva demo covers:

  • Viva Connections
  • Viva Topics and SharePoint Syntex
  • Viva Learning and Viva Insights 
  • and how organisations can benefit from using Microsoft Viva.

Watch this Microsoft Viva demo if you’re looking to:

  • improve the overall employee experience,
  • dramatically improve real-time access to critical information and knowledge, and
  • make it easier for employees to learn while working.

Author bio

Gabriel Karawani

Gabriel Karawani

Gabriel is Co-Founder of ClearPeople, responsible for the overall technical and Atlas product vision. He works closely with colleagues at Microsoft on roadmap alignment and innovative Content Services programs such as Project Cortex / Microsoft Viva and SharePoint Syntex.

View all articles by this author