Introducing Microsoft Viva Topics
Published Feb 04 2021 06:01 AM 84.3K Views
By Seth Patton, General Manager, Microsoft 365 Next Gen Productivity & Employee Experience


Microsoft Viva Topics uses artificial intelligence (AI) to empower people with knowledge and expertise in the apps they use every day and to connect, manage, and protect content across systems and teams.


Viva Topics connects people with knowledge and expertise in the apps they use every day.


Viva Topics is one of the four modules of Microsoft Viva, the employee experience platform built on Microsoft 365 that empowers people and teams to be their best from wherever they work. Viva brings together communications, knowledge, learning, resources, and insights into an employee experience that integrates seamlessly into the apps you use every day, such as Microsoft Teams. Learn more about Microsoft Viva.


We’re pleased to announce that today, Viva Topics has reached general availability for our commercial customers - one of four modules announced today as part of Microsoft Viva.

Microsoft Viva, the employee experience platform built on Microsoft 365, is introduced by Satya Nadella, Jared Spataro, thought leaders, and customers.


A growing sea of information

Each day, our pool of shared information grows, and the complexity of gaining knowledge grows with it. Today, the average employee spends more than an hour a day searching or recreating information that already exists in their organization—more than triple the time they spent just five years ago. Onboarding, skill development, and knowledge drain are paramount issues for leadership and information workers alike.
(source: Spiceworks/Ziff Davis. Knowledge Sharing in a Changing World. February 2021. [Commissioned by Microsoft].)


Wasted time is frustrating and unproductive, but solutions are available. Based on an analysis by Forrester Research, a typical organization can see benefits of US $42 million to $127 million by adopting Viva Topics as part of Microsoft 365 solutions for Knowledge and Content Services.

(source: Forrester Research commissioned by Microsoft. New Technology: The Projected Total Economic Impact™ of Microsoft 365 Knowledge & Content Services. February 2021.)


Our commitment

Preserving knowledge, reducing disruptions, optimizing people’s time, and improving decision-making are goals that leaders and employees share. We recognized that combining the capacity of the Microsoft Cloud with the AI power of the Microsoft Graph created an opportunity to help our customers transform content into knowledge.


Almost two years ago, we launched the Project Cortex Preview Program. We were humbled at how many customers were eager to help shape the product. For more than a year, dozens of companies, such as Arla Foods, Mott MacDonald, Unilever, and Siemens Healthineers, have been using Viva Topics to put knowledge to work across their organizations.


Viva Topics

Starting today, we’re making this powerful solution available for all Microsoft 365 customers to try or purchase. Let’s look at how Viva Topics works.


Topic highlights connect you to knowledge in Microsoft 365Topic highlights connect you to knowledge in Microsoft 365


Turn content into knowledge that works

Viva Topics builds on the Microsoft 365 apps and content you already use every day and the connections you have with people across your organization. Viva Topics uses AI to reason over your organization’s data and automatically organizes content and expertise across your systems and teams into related topics, such as projects, products, processes, and customers.


Soon, Viva Topics will integrate information from outside the Microsoft 365 cloud using our Graph–based content connectors—available from both Microsoft and our partners—which integrate knowledge from more than 130 data sources, including Salesforce, ServiceNow, MediaWiki, file shares , and Microsoft Azure services. Connectors also include a robust set of APIs to facilitate development of your own connectors.


“In an increasingly distributed and hybrid workforce, companies need to create consistent and frictionless experiences that make it easy for employees to get work done, regardless of where they are working,” said Melanie Lougee, Head of Employee Workflow Strategy at ServiceNow. “Our integrations with Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Viva provide one-stop-shop access to information and services for employees across IT, HR, Facilities, Legal and Finance. ServiceNow Employee Workflows provide unified experiences for employees across the enterprise, and we’re thrilled to continue to partner with Microsoft to enhance engagement, collaboration and productivity for the future of work.”


Topic connections on a topic pageTopic connections on a topic page


When Microsoft Viva discovers topics, they appear as suggestions in the topic center. In the future, the topic center can be accessed from Microsoft Teams or SharePoint. You will be able to use the topic center to discover recommended content based on the topics you follow or manage, personalized by the Microsoft Graph. You can also manage your connections to shared topics.    


Suggested content and topics are governed by privacy controls, security and the Microsoft Graph. Users can only see the content where they already have access. Relevance and suggested people are based on open signals from the Graph – activities such as authoring a document. People can control which topics they wish to be associated with. Passive activities like reading a document are excluded from relevance calculations.


Additionally, the Topics web part is available for all licensed users to view suggested and personalized topics and manage their connections to topics.  You’ll be able to add this web part to any pages in SharePoint or Microsoft Teams, so you can build knowledge into your existing employee experiences, such as intranet sites.


Personalized knowledge in the topic centerPersonalized knowledge in the topic center

Organize knowledge into topic pages

When Microsoft Viva identifies topics, it collects and curates related information in topic pages. Topic pages are built automatically by AI and augmented by experts. Topic pages enable your organization’s experts to share and refine knowledge about the topic by adding and editing pages with wiki-like simplicity.


Topic pages provide a comprehensive view of related information, including:

  • Alternate names.
  • Definitions.
  • Recommended and suggested people.
  • Recommended and suggested content.
  • Related sites and teams.
  • Map of related topics.
  • Optional web part integration, such as Yammer communities.

Over time, human expertise and AI combine to improve the quality of shared knowledge.


Topic pages combine the best of AI and human curationTopic pages combine the best of AI and human curation


Make knowledge easy to discover and use

While working in Microsoft 365 apps, you’ll see topics highlighted when they appear in pages, messages, and content. These highlights reveal topic cards. Topic cards provide knowledge in context without searching or changing apps. Cards summarize the topic with alternate names, definitions, experts, and recommended resources.


If you’ve ever joined a new company or project and encountered unfamiliar acronyms or terms, topic cards provide a quick way to connect to shared knowledge. They also connect you to topic pages for more detail.


Topic cards in Microsoft TeamsTopic cards in Microsoft Teams


And Viva Topics is integrated into other Microsoft applications, such as SharePoint and Microsoft Search. Topic highlights will be integrated into Microsoft Teams, Outlook, and other Microsoft 365 apps throughout 2021, creating a personalized experience and putting knowledge right at your fingertips.



Viva Topics also makes Microsoft Search better. When your search query relates to a topic, the topic card is returned as the primary answer.



Viva Topics connects people to recommended experts as well. Expertise is added to user profiles and extended to people cards throughout Microsoft 365—another way for knowledge to find you as you work.


Topic cards attached to people cards in Microsoft OutlookTopic cards attached to people cards in Microsoft Outlook


Soon, you’ll also be able to use Viva Topics to find answers to common questions. If Viva knows the answer, you’ll get it immediately. If not, Viva can ask known experts for their response. Over time, their accepted answers are added to everyone’s shared knowledge, so everyone benefits.


Microsoft Viva Topics automatically connects your questions to expert answersMicrosoft Viva Topics automatically connects your questions to expert answers


Security, compliance, and administration

Viva Topics delivers the security, privacy, and compliance you expect from Microsoft 365 and the Microsoft Graph. Users have access to only those topics to which they’ve been granted access.


In addition, the topic center enables knowledge managers to shape the knowledge life cycle. They can review suggested topics and decide whether to approve or remove them. They can also review interactions and feedback to find the topics that are the most helpful—and those that require refinement.


Trending and management in the topic centerTrending and management in the topic center



As an administrator, you’re in control of knowledge discovery. You can control which content is included in Viva Topics based on selected sites, teams, or labels. Only licensed users have access to topic cards, topic pages, and topic centers.


Microsoft Viva Topics works with our other content management tools, including Microsoft 365 E5 Compliance and SharePoint Syntex, to apply security and compliance policies to content automatically. Licensed users see topics based on the content they can access. You can also shape the visibility of the topics themselves to further shape knowledge with appropriate security.


Next steps

We invite you to learn more about Microsoft Viva, Viva Topics, and Microsoft’s solutions for knowledge and content services. Want to see more? Just visit the Viva Topics Resource Center for an interactive demo.


Tune in to this special #MSFTViva episode of #TheIntrazone podcast with Jared Spataro: "Viva Las Microsoft." Hear from Jared about the design of Microsoft Viva and its four main components: Connections, Insights, Learnings and Topics.



In addition, we’re proud to introduce the Preferred and Charter members of the Microsoft 365 Content Services Partner Program. These members have been trained to envision and deliver solutions based on Viva Topics and other Microsoft 365 capabilities for knowledge and content services. Microsoft Viva will provide an open and extensible platform as well as a strong and growing ecosystem of partners so that it works seamlessly with your existing systems and tools.  Partners can sign up today for more information.


If you’re ready to try Viva Topics, trials and purchases are available today.


Please join our community on the Microsoft Tech Community, or visit our Viva Topics Resource Center for demos, white papers, analyst research, videos, and more. We look forward to hearing from you as we put knowledge to work, together. Thanks.


- Seth Patton, General Manager, Microsoft 365 Next Gen Productivity & Employee Experience

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‎Feb 17 2021 09:33 AM
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