Viva Elevator Discussion



I created this short 4 minute video for my colleagues and partners. It’s a high level overview of the Employee Experience Platform (EXP) and a description of the four pillars of Microsoft Viva, which are: Connections, Insights, Topics and Learning.

For more details check of some of my other Viva posts.

Viva Connections Dashboard Public Preview



The Viva Connections Dashboard is now in public preview. This new experience lets you create “out of the box” or fully customised Adaptive Cards and surface these in SharePoint and in Microsoft Teams. Different groups of users can be configured to see different card views. The idea behind the Connections Dashboard is to allow employees to easily access the information and Apps they need to better engage with their organisation, or do their day jobs.

In the video you will see an example of a “demo” SharePoint Framework 1.13 created card, the public preview Viva Connections Dashboard in SharePoint and the associated Microsoft Teams App. At the end of the video you’ll see an example of the Dashboard’s Teams mobile experience.

Note: At the time of posting (October 2021) this content is in Public Preview so could be subject to change up to General Availability.

Viva Insights Ways of Working Assessment



Viva Insights is a powerful workplace analytics tool that provides organisations the ability to better understand their collaboration culture and employee engagement. The service provides different levels of reporting including personal, manager, leader and analyst views. The personal, manager and leader dashboards are surfaced in Microsoft Teams as an App experience.

One key point to note is that at all times an individual’s identity is protected and any insights provided are designed to ensure the anonymity of employees. The details of how this is achieved can be found in the privacy and data protection section of the product documentation.

From an analyst’s perspective a good place to start looking at the general collaboration “health” of the company is via the Ways of Working Power BI template. This is one of the 8 predefined dashboards that ships with Viva Insights. An analyst can also generate custom queries, review business processes and create remedial plans.

The short video below shows how to create a Ways of Working Assessment and begin using it to drill down into the organisation’s collaboration behaviour.

Viva Connections Dashboard Introduction



The Viva Connections Dashboard feature, which at the time of writing has just gone into public preview, allows you to present adaptive cards to groups of end users within SharePoint and Microsoft Teams.

The video below provides a quick introduction to the new Dashboard and highlights some of the “out of the box” cards an admin can easily create. Fully customised cards can be coded using SharePoint Framework 1.13, which supports ACE (Adaptive Card Extensions).

Note: ACE is not covered in the video.

Note: For a deeper dive in to Viva Connections Adaptive cards check out this excellent video presented by Microsoft engineering.

Microsoft Teams 1:1 PSTN Recording



Microsoft Teams 1:1 PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) recording does what it says on the tin!

At the time of testing the recordings are placed in the user’s OneDrive “Recordings” folder as a MP4 file. As I mention in the video below this allows the recording to be easily shared, marked for retention or even be linked to a Power Automate flow.

This feature is is intended to support user initiated On Demand use cases, for Compliance recording Teams provides robust Policy Based Recording functionality.

Check out this 90 second video that shows 1:1 PSTN recording in action:

Note: 1:1 PSTN Recording is not on by default and has to be enabled via the Microsoft Teams PowerShell module. The command I used to enable recording for my demo tenant’s Global calling policy was:

Set-CsTeamsCallingPolicy -Identity Global -AllowCloudRecordingForCalls $True

Viva Topics 101



Viva Topics leverages AI services from the Microsoft Cloud to pull together and surface knowledge for users to quickly and easily consume. More details on how Topics are discovered and curated can be found in the Microsoft Documentation. When a user navigates through Modern SharePoint pages or types a relevant query into Microsoft Search they are presented with a Topic Card that provides a summary for the specific subject the Topic covers. The end users simply view the details to dive deeper.

So what about security? The key point to know is that Viva Topics complies with an organisation’s Microsoft 365 security settings so that end users will only ever see content they already have permission to access. More details can be found in the Security and Privacy chapter of the docs.

Clear as mud? To help, I’ve created this 4 minute video to provide a concise overview of some of the main components of Topics and highlight where the cards are currently presented. Over time Topic Cards will start to appear across Microsoft 365 services such as Teams. There are also plans to link Topics to 3rd party content using Graph Connectors and future APIs will allow for new custom use cases.

If you want to access some free training on Viva Topics check out the modules on Microsoft Learn.

Viva Connections for Microsoft Teams Desktop



Viva Connections provides a company branded home page experience that can be surfaced directly within Microsoft Teams as a personal App. Some of the aims of Viva Connections are to keep an organisation connected, provide an easy way to allow people to contribute and allow the company to come together. In its current iteration Viva Connections is available for Microsoft Teams Desktops, although the mobile experience has been announced and should be available in the near future.

If you review the Viva Connections Resource Centre you can get a glimpse of the mobile version of Connections as well as the custom dashboard experience that’s planned.

I created the following 4 minute video to demonstrate the “nuts and bolts” of Viva Connection as it exists today (May 2021). I’ll reference this blog as a starting point in future posts as Connections evolves.

Note: You can learn more about Viva Connections from the Microsoft Documentation.