Paula Darch 25 February 2021 6 min read

Understanding Microsoft Viva and your intranet

Understanding Microsoft Viva and your intranet

The tech world is excited by the recent launch of Microsoft Viva. Phrases such as “new take on an old intranet” “To make working from home easier” can be found in articles reviewing this new platform. Microsoft are coining this the era of the employee experience portal and are offering within Teams 4 new apps:

1. Viva connections: An employee communication platform

2. Viva learning: E-learning platform that includes Linkedin Learning.

3. Viva Topics: Subject cards that summarise content and links to resources.

4. Viva Insight: Behavioural insight and feelings analytics for individuals and Managers.

Being responsible for the marketing of our own Engage intranet software, I’ve been fascinated by the marketing of Viva and everyone’s interpretation of who it’s for and what’s its purpose. In an overcrowded business software world.

Is Viva an intranet?

This is the question many will look to know the answer to. In my opinion I don’t think it is an intranet. Yes, great intranets offer a great employee experience, but also so much more. Intranets are founded on robust contact directories, document management and collaboration areas that help and support employees connect and engage with their workplace and each other, wherever they are. The big difference to me, is that an intranet does this in a very structured, easy to navigate and controlled way.

Microsoft are positioning Viva as an integrated employee experience, but with everything being accessed through Teams, I think the success of this will depend on many factors and it some of the apps won’t appeal to everyone. Accessing everything through Team’s could get confusing and add to the current problem of trying to track projects, conversations, and documents.

Viva, might be useful to some Hybrid workforces, who adopt it as part of their everyday tool box, but I agree with Sam Marshall, that many frontline workers and specialist trades such as architects, designers, healthcare and the legal profession, use industry specific software that wouldn’t be covered by Viva or integrate with it.  

Your intranet employee experience

Our Engage intranet software, integrates with many of the major specialist software systems that our clients use, and this is a major advantage when trying to embed an intranet into the heart of your organisation and making it indispensable.

I like the key words Microsoft are using to promote Viva: Connection, employee experience, connecting, knowledge and well-being. These are all attributes of a great intranet, certainly of our Engage intranet solution.

Out technical director Martin Miles comments “I do like their positioning but, Viva is bringing together a series of (mainly) pre-existing technology and effectively strongly suggesting that people should spend their whole life in MS Teams. Although they have some very interesting technology with “Viva Topics” (possibly a good reason to implement, but with a hefty price tag, the other areas are likely to be already delivered by either their intranet or by other best of breed tools such as an e-learning tool (in place of Viva Learning). It’s great to have everything in one location but does it meet the hype? And, where does this leave Outlook? Engage already brings all that an intranet has to offer along with the best of Office 365 including a quick view of Teams, Inbox, Calendar, SharePoint and OneDrive, so is Viva offering a compelling argument to look anywhere else? I’m not sure it does”.

In summary, I think it’s always good for new platforms to help us think about the role of our own intranet and check its meeting the needs of everyone within the business. It’s not a dedicated employee experience platform, it’s so much more than this but it does prompt us to stop and think how we can improve or enhance our employee experience. Are we doing all we can for Health and wellbeing? can we really improve our engagement and how we help our workforce connect with each other.

If you’d like any help with this, please get in touch as we have 20 years’ experience of creating successful, engaging intranets that have transformed the way our clients work and connect with their workforce.





Paula Darch

Paula is our marketing whizz and is passionate about intranet engagement and getting the most out of your intranet software.