Exploring Microsoft Viva (and what differentiates Involv from Viva connections)

Since its announcement in February, Microsoft Viva has become a hot topic for organizations everywhere. Introduced as an employee experience platform (EXP), Viva draws a lot of attention and interest of HR profs, internal communicators and executives.

So what is Microsoft Viva and what are its benefits for your organization?

This blog post is to give you a brief overview of the 4 modules Microsoft Viva offers and the roles of Involv in it. We’re also discussing Viva connections vs Involv intranet as they have some overlapping features.

What is Microsoft Viva?

Microsoft Viva is defined by Microsoft as an employee experience platform (EXP) that brings together communications, knowledge, learning, resources, and insights.

The goal of Viva is to give employees a centralized point of access for everything they need across 4 key employee experience areas – which are covered under 4 modules of Microsoft Viva respectively. All four Viva applications will be integrated with Microsoft Teams.

  • Connection – Viva connections

  • Wellbeing – Viva Insights

  • Knowledge – Viva Topics

  • Learning – Viva Learning

Microsoft introduced Viva as a new solution, but many experts have soon realized that Viva isn’t an entirely new product from Microsoft.

It appears to be a bundling of some existing tools and features that already exist in Microsoft 365. They are now repackaged under the name “Viva”. I’ll briefly explain each Viva module’s benefits and its pricing.

Viva connections

Viva connections appears to provide the most similar capabilities that an intranet offers for internal communication. Living inside Microsoft Teams, Viva connections gives employees quick access to a standard SharePoint page that can be filled with company news, important updates and documents like policies, benefits or resources.

In terms of licensing, Viva connections will be available for every organization with a Microsoft 365 and SharePoint license.

Viva Insights

This module gives users automatic insights into their time use and productivity with various standard metrics and recommended actions. Viva Insights leverages “My Analytics” and “Workplace Analytics” which are part of Microsoft 365 for a few years already.

My analytics was free and is still free today. Workplace analytics requires an extra payment per month.

Viva Topics

Using AI, Viva Topics automatically organizes content across the apps and teams and displays relevant content to users. This application existed as an internal research project called “project cortex” for a couple of years.

To use Viva topics, you need to pay an additional subscription per month per user.

Viva Learning

With Viva Learning, you can set up a learning management system inside of Teams which aggregates a variety of different learning resources including LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn, popular third-party providers like Coursera, Skillsoft, Pluralsight as well as your company’s custom content stored on SharePoint.

At the moment, Viva Learning has not been launched yet, and its roadmap is still unclear. But one thing is for sure, it will require extra paying.

Involv works well with Microsoft Viva

Since Involv is built in the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, it integrates perfectly with all Microsoft 365 solutions. Our goal is to help organizations to get the most out of the Microsoft 365 solutions by leveraging the developments and technology from Microsoft.

This means you definitely can use Involv in combination with Microsoft Viva to create a great digital workplace experience for employees.

Viva connections or an intranet?

As mentioned above, Viva connections and an intranet have overlapping capabilities. Both tools help organizations to deliver news and information to employees.

But it’s important to know that although there is a lot of value in Viva connections, especially for internal communications, it also has some limitations. And that’s where an intranet, such as Involv, can help.

1. Involv focuses on improving collaboration, not only communication.

Viva connections is about bringing together all the company news, information and business resources inside of Teams. It puts much emphasis on communication.

Involv, on the other hand, enhances both communication and collaboration among employees. It’s designed not only to be a centralized communication hub for organizations, but also help foster employee connection and collaboration with many essential intranet features like a people directory, org chart, rich employee profiles, document management and ideation.

2. Involv allows integrating multiple apps/SharePoint sites into Teams

Viva connections lets you bring only 1 Home Site and integrate 1 app per tenant, whereas Involv enables you to bring multiple apps and SharePoint sites into Teams.

This is especially important for large organizations with multiple (regional) intranets as they can integrate different intranet sites into Teams based on the users’ location.

3. Involv delivers a more personalized experience for users.

As Involv allows to deploy multiple SharePoint intranet sites into Teams based on the users’ location, it provides users with more personal experience, rather than just one intranet for everyone.

In addition to that, Involv has the feature ‘My Page which’ is a well-designed and comprehensive overview page containing a wealth of personalized information of users. It provides users with comprehensive overviews for news, links to their recent documents, collaboration sites and productivity apps, an overview of tasks, and more.

4. Involv offers more possibilities for intranet branding.

With Viva connections, you have a communication platform with a quite generic “look and feel”. Its branding possibilities are still very limited.

This is why many organizations choose Involv; because they have more freedom to brand the intranet. In fact, we put a lot of effort into the design to give you a nice, modern and intuitive intranet. You can easily customize the look and feel of the intranet to match your corporate house style. Take a look at our Involv look book for intranet design inspiration.

Summing up:

In addition to all above mentioned, you get all the support from our team of intranet experts with tons of expertise, best practices and checklists. This can help to eliminate unnecessary stress and loss of productivity for your IT team and/or HR, communication team.

With Involv, what you’ll get is a fully developed platform (whether you call it an intranet or a communication platform) to reach and engage all your employees via different channels (desktop, mobile, Teams, etc). Also, the intranet has been proven invaluable as a collaboration tool for employees, in a number of ways.

We want to emphasize that this setup, philosophy and our best-in-class features are definitely not included in Viva Connections.

Hopefully, this blog post has provided you some more information about Microsoft Viva, in addition to answer the question about the role of Involv in all this.

Want to learn more about Involv? Schedule a free demonstration with one of our intranet experts!

(Photo: Freepik)


Tim Bogemans

Tim is Collaboration Expert at Involv/Cognit. He builds leading solutions to help people collaborate easier, faster and happier. Connect on LinkedIn.

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