In this article, I’m going to introduce to you & explain the benefits of using Viva Connections - one of Microsoft’s newest additions. Viva Connections is the perfect companion to Percy Intranet as it enables you to pull your intranet through to Microsoft Teams. For more information on Percy Intranet – take a look at our website
Microsoft Viva Connections is part of a new series of services available through Microsoft 365. Viva Connections is part of your Microsoft licensing and sits alongside other applications such as SharePoint Online as part of your M365 subscription.
Other products that are packaged under the “Microsoft Viva” umbrella include Insights, Topics, and Learning however these products may require additional licenses to use them.
For today, we’re just going to focus on Viva Connections. However for more information on the other products, please read our article - What Is Microsoft Viva and Why Do We Love It?. Anyway, let’s get back on track with Viva Connections.
What is Microsoft Viva Connections?
Viva Connections is a fully customisable app that sits in Microsoft Teams and is designed to bring Microsoft applications together, in a modern work experience, allowing your colleagues to be fully engaged and informed with quick access to the required tools, news and conversations that your intranet brings.
Microsoft have added the Viva Connections app (which is currently in preview) to the Teams Administration Centre, so please note – that to allow Viva Connections, a Teams Administrator (or higher) is required to setup the Viva Connections app first. The Viva Connections app will be blocked by default and the main pre-requisite for setting up the app, is that you need to have a Home Site & Global Navigation configured.
The Home site would typically be set up as your intranet, but it’s worth checking this before getting set up with the Viva Connections app, as the app will automatically pull through your “home site” to Microsoft Teams.
Why Would I Add Viva Connections to Teams?
Before we go into all the features of Viva Connections, the main benefit that we discuss with our customers and want to bring front and centre is quite simple – it gives you the ability to bring your intranet into Microsoft Teams.
An intranet is a powerful communication tool where you share news, communications and signpost key resources and information – so bringing this into Teams just makes all that information more accessible for your colleagues.
We all know that everyone spends most of their working day in Microsoft Teams now so with this ability, you are providing another entry point without forcing them to a browser or the intranet directly.
In addition to that quick win - Viva Connections also offers added functionality through three primary components - the Dashboard, the Feed, and Resources. All three components will display differently on desktop and mobile devices.
The Dashboard is a series of interactive dynamic cards that your colleagues can use to quickly access the tools and information required whether they are in the office, on the road or working from home. Dashboards enable quick and easy access to complete tasks, update documents or review information.
The dashboard can be fully customised allowing colleagues to access what they want quickly via a mobile phone or desktop. The dashboard is what you are seeing in the right-hand column in the screenshot below.
Each of the elements on a dashboard is made up of digital cards. Cards are dynamic and contain information or tasks to view or interact with so your colleagues can select cards to perform tasks such as the following examples:
- Approval items assigned through Microsoft Approvals
- Update and Complete Assigned Tasks
- Consume the Latest News articles
- Quickly Navigate to a frequently accessed SharePoint Page
A card will update based on the interaction. For example, a daily health check is required for site workers. The form can be accessed via the dashboard and the end user can complete it which then updates the daily log to show that the employee has completed the daily health check for that day.
The are several cards that are available for you to create your dashboard with including:
- Assigned Tasks
- Card Designer
- Teams App
- Third Party Cards
- Top News Card
- Web Link
As well as the default Microsoft cards above, you can customise the card experience for your colleagues by creating your own Adaptive Card Extensions. Adaptive Cards allows your colleagues to interact and quickly complete tasks such as filling out a Microsoft form or submit an entry to a Microsoft List without having to launch each application separately.
Here are some examples below:
Adaptive Cards help you increase efficiency by adding key tasks into the card which integrates with your Intranet and now Microsoft Teams. By hovering over the cards, you will get a “quick view” glance but also the ability to display further options if required.
The view of the adaptive card is unique to each user, and you will only see the information and documents you have access to.
Viva Connections Feed
The Viva Connections Feed is another component you can add to your Intranet Homepage which will automatically populate with conversations, news and videos that has been tailored to your colleagues based on the communities and sites they follow.
This feed is personal, so it's key to understand that it will only show you what you have access to. It’s not going to display something confidential in that feed unless you have access to it. Your view will be different to your colleagues.
As the feed relies on fresh content being created across your Yammer Communities and SharePoint sites, it’s important to make sure that content doesn’t become stale as it will make this feed less useful over time.
You can also use Audience Targeting to ensure content is relevant to specific groups or individuals. For example, you could target specific departments or regions with news applicable to them. Publishers can promote critical messages in the Feed which tags it as ‘this content is important’. As a result, the content will be pushed to the top of the feed.
Within Yammer, moderators can ‘Feature’ a post so the Feed will then treat it as ‘this content is important’, similar to Audience Targeting above.
Viva Connections Resources
Resources are the navigational links that are set up and made available in the SharePoint app bar from the home site. These resources will get displayed on both the desktop and mobile instances of Viva Connections and it’s to help users get quick access to:
- Global Navigation (other links and resources from your intranet)
- My Sites
- My News
- My Files
- My Lists
In the mobile app, users can view resources by selecting the Resources tab. This type of functioning provides users with a familiar navigation structure and allows them to open sites, pages, news, and more — right from their mobile devices.
With the Viva Connections app and the additional components (Dashboard, Feed, Resources), you can create that additional entry point to your intranet in Teams but also curate and provide a tailored experience for your colleagues.
To read more about the Microsoft Viva suite, check out our insight here.
If you would like more information or details on how you can get started and surface your intranet in Microsoft Teams, please contact Perspicuity.