Why Microsoft Viva could be an opportunity for ‘cutting-edge’ partners

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Why Microsoft Viva could be an opportunity for ‘cutting-edge’ partners
Satya Nadella (Microsoft)

The new Microsoft Viva “employee experience platform” is targeted as a major opportunity for solution providers that can help customers to implement both the tool and the organizational changes that follow it.

Microsoft Viva will be integrated within the Teams collaboration app and aims to improve the employee experience through capabilities such as surfacing insight about well-being and productivity.

For instance, Viva will help employees “protect time for regular breaks, focused work and learning,” while also providing trend data to managers that is aggregated to ensure employee privacy, Microsoft said.

“Viva brings together everything an employee needs to be successful, from day one, in a single, integrated experience directly in Teams,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a news release unveiling Viva.

Initially, Viva will consist of four modules—Viva Connections (for accessing employers’ internal communications and resources); Viva Insights (which surfaces work data for employees and managers as in the example above); Viva Learning (to make it easier to discover training and professional development opportunities); and Viva Topics (which “delivers a knowledge discovery experience that helps people connect to information and experts across the company.”)

Viva Insights is available now in public preview, Viva Learning is in private preview and Viva Connections will go into public preview during the first half of the year. Viva Topics is available now for Microsoft 365 commercial customers.

Reed Wiedower, global alliances leader for the Cognizant Microsoft Business Group, told CRN that he expects Microsoft Viva will aid both employee well-being and productivity.

“I’m incredibly excited about Viva. It looks like it’s going to help folks get more productive. And I think in this pandemic time right now, folks are hitting a wall. I’ve had days where it’s been 10 or 12 back-to-back 30-minute meetings. And that’s just brutal,” Wiedower said. “The fact that Viva can help with that—can identify when that’s going to occur—is a huge benefit.”

Through Viva’s dashboards and insight, and with tools such as workplace analytics, it should be able to inform managers and business leaders “if people are doing things correctly or not,” he said. “If people aren’t taking a lunch break for a week, [managers] need to know that.”

Along with providing new tools, Viva has the potential to prompt organizational change, he said.

“I think it remains to be seen how long after deploying Viva an organization would start to change their behavior,” Wiedower said. “But Viva is going to give people the information they need to do that. … I think people are going to have an expectation that after one, two or three months [with Viva], they will see meetings start to shorten in length or people taking their lunch again.”

There’s also a major opportunity for solution providers in helping implement Viva for customers, particularly when it comes to driving changes within the organizations, he said. “I think there really is a good partner opportunity there,” Wiedower said.

Primarily, the opportunity will be for partners that are “at the cutting edge,” he said. “I imagine there’s not going to be an infinite number of them that help sell these engagements. But the ones that do get it, I think there’s a lot of money to be made out of there. Because there’s a lot of customers who really want to get this right and want to figure out how to do it.”

This article originally appeared at crn.com

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