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What is Microsoft Viva Engage and does it replace Yammer?

21 July 2022
  

Microsoft Viva Engage is part of the Microsoft Viva employee experience platform and was launched on 19 July 2022 at Microsoft Inspire.

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About Viva Engage

Viva Engage is available via Microsoft Teams and Outlook as part of the Microsoft 365 software suite.
Viva Engage is seen to be the digital equivalent of a conversation in passing or a water cooler moment. While you have regular conversations with your closest colleagues, you’re less likely to chat to people in other teams. Viva Engage is designed to make those interactions easier and more common, even with hybrid working where the water cooler is a virtual concept.

How is Viva Engage different from Viva?

It isn’t. 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.

Learn more about Microsoft Viva in our popular blog. https://www.clearpeople.com/blog/microsoft-viva-explained

Why did Microsoft launch Viva Engage?

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has said that the company plans to take on the likes of Facebook with Viva Engage.

Workplace communication platforms have grown in importance since the pandemic, when millions began using Microsoft Teams. Hybrid work has also made work social networking more important than ever, so Microsoft is updating the way Yammer works inside Teams and Outlook.

Teams has more than 270 million monthly active users as of January 2022 and, as part of Microsoft Office, it contributes almost 23% of the company's $49 billion in quarterly revenue.

But Teams is designed for focused tasks between people who work closely together rather than general social connections. And if you want a single team for everyone in your organisation, there’s a limit of 10,000 people. So, for broader social networking that relies on open conversations rather than tight-knit teamwork, there’s Yammer – and now Viva Engage. And Viva Engage may well inject more life into Teams.

Key features of Viva Engage

Viva Engage has all the features you’d expect of a social media platform including news feeds, profiles, and the ability to post images and videos.

Users get a profile page, similarly to Facebook, where you can post status updates, photos and videos, just as you would on other social networks.

Viva Engage’s key features are storylines and stories that connect colleagues and let them air their thoughts, knowledge, and experiences through conversations, images, and videos.

Viva Engage by Microsoft

There’s a particular emphasis on video in Viva Engage, because videos allow you to express things in your own voice and capture much richer body language and signals.

The app also features community groups where you can join people from across your company with shared interests.

Viva Engage Communities

Viva Engage provides a way to keep up with your colleagues without having to follow each other personally on social media platforms (which can sometimes feel a little awkward).

What are storylines in Viva Engage?

Viva Engage unlocks opportunities for people to connect at work, in a looser, more sociable way than purely through the work we do. For companies it’s a tool to help shape culture and connect their workforce. For employees, Viva Engage offers a new way to feel part of a community, to share their work and perspectives, and to strengthen connections to colleagues.

Watch video about Viva Engage storylines https://youtu.be/r3h7d8QQghI

Does Viva Engage replace Yammer?

While Yammer will be replaced in Microsoft Teams, it will live on in web and native Yammer mobile apps. Viva Engage is intended to enhance the experience of Yammer Communities in Teams and bring new capabilities to connect people and help them find a sense of connection at work.

You could say that Yammer now contributes to employee experience more directly through Viva Engage.

How do Viva Engage and Yammer work together?

Storyline posts, stories and conversations posted to Yammer will be visible in the new Viva Engage platform. Microsoft are continuing to invest in Yammer and bring its capabilities to Microsoft 365 and MS Viva.

Microsoft says it has “much more to share soon” so we're predicting they’ll roll out more Viva Engage branding.

What licenses do you need?

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

When is Microsoft Viva Engage available?

Late August 2022. Rollout of the new Engage tab, which will replace the existing Communities section, will start in late August for all versions of Microsoft Teams, including web apps, desktop clients and mobile apps.

Deploying Viva Engage

The Communities app for Teams will be rebranded 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. Storylines will open for public preview in late August too.

Useful Viva Engage resources

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