We’re in the midst of our Microsoft Mechanics series on Microsoft Viva, the first employee experience platform (EXP) built for the digital era. In our last video, we dove into Viva Topics, which delivers company knowledge and expertise in the context of your work. Today, we’re taking a look at Viva Connections. I’ve joined Jeremy Chapman, the host of Microsoft Mechanics, to walk through the user experience as well as the steps for IT admins to setup and implement the module, including options for personalizing information sharing by role.
User experience. If you’re a Microsoft SharePoint user, you’ll recognize the experience immediately. Viva Connections expands upon your SharePoint home site and news feed to give you a curated, company-branded experience that brings together relevant news, conversations, and other resources in the context of the apps you use every day, like Microsoft Teams. The experience looks, feels, and functions the same as the SharePoint home site. Some of the integrations are the same too: Microsoft Yammer and Microsoft Stream bring conversations and videos to life in Viva Connections, while the intranet search experience is available from the Teams search experience. The module is currently available on Teams desktop and web as a pinned app in your left sidebar, with mobile coming later this year.
IT admin experience to set up. You might be asking yourself, “Do I need to create a separate SharePoint site to use Viva Connections?” Not at all. The module leverages your existing SharePoint home site and requires just a few steps to integrate it with Teams. You’ll actually start the process in SharePoint by enabling and setting up global navigation. Global navigation brings your SharePoint app bar—home, sites, news, and files—into Teams. Go to aka.ms/SetupGlobalNav for setup details. You’ll also want to add a Yammer Conversations web part to your home site to keep important conversations front and center in Viva Connections.
For now, the last step to create and add a Viva Connections app to your Teams environment happens in PowerShell, but we’ll be adding another option through the Teams admin center soon. To get started, download the viva-connections-desktop PowerShell script from aka.ms/VivaConnectionsPSBlog. Then, find a pair of .png images of your organization’s logo to associate with Viva Connections: one for the app catalog and one for the Teams app navigation bar. You can now run the PowerShell script, which will prompt you for a URL to your home site, a name for the app in Teams, a short and long description of the app, your company name and the URL for your public website, and the icons you selected. Finally, navigate to your Teams admin center, select Manage apps, and upload the PowerShell package you just created. Viva Connections is now available all your users in Teams.
This is a very brief overview of the PowerShell step, and while it’s easy to complete, you’ll want to watch the Microsoft Mechanics video above for exact instructions. The video has additional guidance for pinning the app by default to your users’ Teams app navigation bar.
IT admin experience to personalize. In addition to what comes straight from your SharePoint home site, like company news, Viva Connections uses adaptive cards to bring even more curated and customized resources to your users in a new dashboard view coming later this summer, like time off submission and expense reporting. The adaptive cards are quick informational bites that link out to more details, like a full webpage or Teams app, when tapped.
To add adaptive cards to the dashboard view, you can choose premade cards from Microsoft or Microsoft partners, or create your own. Building your own is an intuitive, visual experience in SharePoint that looks a lot creating a page. In the new Viva Connections Dashboard authoring experience that we’re building into SharePoint, you can choose a template or start from scratch, set card display options, and move the card into different positions on the dashboard. Once your card is ready, you can determine which groups in your organization will see it using the Audience targeting field in the card display options.
You can start using Viva Connections now on Teams desktop as we continue to work on delivering the mobile experience and Dashboard capabilities later this year. Get started by building your SharePoint home site with global navigation enabled, adding Yammer Communities and modern pages, and connect Viva Connections to your Teams environment. This is Part Three of our Microsoft Mechanics video series about Microsoft Viva. Keep visiting this site or aka.ms/VivaMechanics for the rest of the series. If you’d like more information on Viva in the meantime, head over to aka.ms/Viva.
As always, we want to hear from you! If you have any suggestions, questions, or comments, please visit us on our Microsoft Viva Tech Community page. We will also be hosting our first Microsoft Viva Ask Microsoft Anything (AMA) event on June 23, 2021. Post your questions about Microsoft Viva and Viva Connections, where members of the Viva team will be available to respond.