Microsoft Viva Topics helps unleash collective knowledge with new features at Ignite
Published Nov 02 2021 07:58 AM 10K Views

Microsoft Viva Topics applies AI to empower people with knowledge and expertise in the apps they use every day. Viva Topics automatically organizes content and expertise across your systems and teams into related topics like projects, products, processes, and customers. Topic pages and a topic center—discovered and updated by AI—enable to cultivate and share knowledge with wiki-like simplicity. And topic cards deliver knowledge just-in-time across Microsoft 365.


We released Viva Topics in February 2021, and since then we’ve been working with our Early Adopter Program customers to help them put knowledge to work in their organizations – and help learn how to enhance and extend Topics to deliver great experiences for our customers.

We’ve collected the most common knowledge sharing scenarios and applications from our early adopter customers, and included them in the Viva Topics Use Case Catalog as a quick way to get started applying Viva Topics and driving value from knowledge in your organization.

This week, at Microsoft Ignite, we’re excited to share our latest updates on Microsoft Viva, examples of customer success from Avanade, and resources to learn more.


Our product updates have three goals:

  • Improving the quality and availability of knowledge experiences for employees throughout Microsoft 365
  • Accelerating adoption by helping knowledge managers with powerful tools to manage and deliver knowledge to their stakeholders
  • Enhancing our knowledge platform capabilities for embracing more sources of information – across multiple languages and clouds.

You can learn more about Viva Topics at these Ignite sessions:

Now, let’s look at what’s new and next in Viva Topics.


New user experiences

Finding knowledge in the flow of work is a great way to enhance employee experiences.  We’re happy to introduce Viva Topics to more apps across Microsoft 365 with richer experiences for interacting with knowledge and expertise.


Delivering Viva Topics through Teams has been one of the most awaited capabilities since our launch earlier this year. In July, we released an update to enable you to pin your Topic Center as a left rail app in Microsoft Teams. In our next update, you’ll be able to add topics to your chats and link to topic cards from highlighted topics in Teams. This feature will start rolling out to our Early Adopter Program customers in early 2022 and will reach general availability by March 31, 2022. You can track this update on the Microsoft 365 public roadmap under item 72189


You’ll also soon be able to use Viva Topics inside Outlook. When you’re reading messages, you’ll see a simple indicator to show you all the topics referenced in an email. And when you’re composing email, you can use a hashtag to add a topic highlight or have Viva Topics suggest topics based on the content you type. Outlook integration will preview for Outlook Web Access users by December 31, 2021, and you can track this update on the Microsoft 365 public roadmap under item 88693.


Viva Topics in OutlookViva Topics in Outlook

We’ll also integrate Topics into people profile cards, Yammer, and Microsoft Search in Bing – all coming to preview by year end.


User opt-in as suggested associations a topic page - To meet some customer governance and privacy standards, we now allow users to control being displayed as potentially associated with the topic. For these circumstances, you’ll be able to empower users to opt-in to be added to a specific topic page and card. This feature is scheduled to rollout by December 2021 and is being tracked under roadmap ID 82103.


Viva AI will suggest related topics, and a topic page web part and topic card can soon display those relationships. This feature is scheduled to rollout by December 2021 and is being tracked under roadmap ID 88695.


Knowledge managers

Viva Topics was built to scale. Recently we’ve accelerated publishing times so that changes to new or manually edited topics will be visible to information workers in minutes.


We’ve listened to you and added tools to help knowledge managers oversee large knowledge domains, including support for topic center search and automatic grouping of related topics into segments. We’re adding new workflows for feedback and updates and supplying new telemetry and analytics to help managers understand how people use knowledge. We’ll automatically build live visual maps of related topics, and let you group or merge those topics as needed.


Topic segment configuration in the topic centerTopic segment configuration in the topic center



Initial configuration and indexing topics can take a few days. We’ve introduced new analytics to the Microsoft 365 Admin Center to let you monitor the scope of document indexing and topic discovery (Roadmap ID 88696, December 2021).


Topic analytics in the Microsoft 365 Admin CenterTopic analytics in the Microsoft 365 Admin Center




And soon, you’ll be able to manage topics in the Topic Center more easily. We’ll start with improved metadata to help you sort and filter on additional usage data in the topic center, including metrics, usage, quality, and more (Roadmap ID 88700). We’re also integrating all stages of topic lifecycles into a unified list with filtering and sorting by lifecycle stage and other data.  Combined with a new topic search function, you’ll be able to find selected topics even when the volume of topics in the system is large (Roadmap ID 88701). These features will ship by March 31, 2022.


Updated topic center with metadata and filteringUpdated topic center with metadata and filtering



And Topics users will be able to automatically create topics built by the automated taxonomy services of Syntex. Knowledge managers will be able to select terms and term sets from the taxonomy service to initiate creation of topics, using the term definitions and tagged files. This feature will roll out by December and is being tracked under roadmap ID 82049.

Syntex taxonomy integrationSyntex taxonomy integration


And there’s plenty more coming, including:

  • Sensitivity Label Support - Use MIP sensitivity labels to control which files should not be included in topic discovery (Roadmap 82047, shipping by January 2022)
  • Simple topic segmentation - Create automatic segments of related topics based on site collection and information architecture (Roadmap 88694, shipping by December 2021)
  • Disambiguation - Allow users to select a topic among several when they share similar or matching names (Roadmap 72183, shipping by January 2022)
  • Topic types - Support to automatically identify a topic with a category or type, such as projects, products, or organizations, and ability to edit that type (Roadmap 72181, shipping by March 2022)
  • Get early feedback from specific users - This feature in the Admin Center delivers a control to let you select specific users to see preview features for customers enrolled in our Early Adopter Program (Available now)


Clouds and languages

We’re opening more sources for generating topics.  We're adding preview support to crawl knowledge from content written in French, German, and Spanish by year end (Roadmap ID 72186). We’re also shipping Viva Topics to the US Government Community Cloud (GCC) this winter (Roadmap ID 72185). Finally, in 2022 we’ll rollout indexing remote content using the Graph content connectors, starting with preview access to sources such as ServiceNow by March 31, 2022 (Roadmap ID 72187).


Working with managed content and integrations to Syntex

SharePoint Syntex enriches content with metadata, making it easier to turn that content into knowledge for Microsoft Search and for Viva Topics. Here’s how:

Automatic topic access control

Syntex automatically adds Microsoft Information Protection labels to content based on your models. Then, Viva Topics uses those sensitivity labels to exclude content from topic discovery, even if it is shared with overly broad permissions. This improves multi-level security.

Accelerating knowledge capture

Now, you can automatically add Syntex based taxonomy terms to term sets and content. In Viva Topics, knowledge managers can select terms from MMS to be topics and pull in related content.

For example, if a contract is scanned from a new customer, the customer’s name can be added to the term set and tagged in the doc. Knowledge managers can use the term to create a new topic page with tagged content automatically included.

Improving employee experience

In the future, you’ll be able to use knowledge in Viva Topics automatically when you generate new content in Syntex content assembly. Accelerating content creation improves the quality of employee experience by minimizing hunting, reading, summarizing, and pasting efforts, allowing employees to focus on what’s important.


Learn more at Microsoft Ignite



In addition, we’re sharing updates during Ignite all week.  Here are some of the most relevant sessions to learn more:


Keynotes and core themes

Hear from Microsoft leadership revealing the latest innovations shaping the flexible, innovative, and secure business environments of the future.

Breakout sessions

Take the opportunity to select the sessions best suited for your role and interests. All breakouts are packed with news, demos, customer stories, and insights into product and solution strategy.

On-demand sessions

The learning and skilling continue, on your own time. On-demand sessions are the double-click into soaking up more knowledge, seeing more of the ‘what’s next’ – in context.

Microsoft Ignite post-event, ½-day AMA

Microsoft Tech Community Live: Microsoft Viva Edition” [final event link coming soon]

  • When: November 16 from 8am – 12pm PDT

Join us for a half-day, interactive Q&A session designed to help you plan and prepare for what’s new and next for Microsoft Viva. This is your chance to connect with our product teams and engineers, get answers to your questions, gain valuable insights, and hear best practices. We’ll host four Ask Microsoft Anything (AMA) Viva sessions, each one-hour long, on the following topics:

  • Microsoft Viva: Product scenario and overview [8-9am]
  • Microsoft Viva: Preparing your environment [9-10am]
  • Microsoft Viva: Deployment and adoption [10-11am]
  • Microsoft Viva: Platform and extensibility [11am-12pm]


Learn from our customers

Avanade is a leading provider of innovative digital and cloud-enabled services, business solutions, and design-led experiences, and it relies heavily on the power of people. Sharing expertise, project or deliverable examples, templates, and other knowledge among one another is key to the company’s success and the success of the businesses it serves.



As an organization whose services are built on and around Microsoft technologies, Avanade’s workforce of 50,000 professionals are experienced, heavy users of collaboration solutions like Yammer and Microsoft Teams. But even with top-notch approaches to collaboration, finding the right people, the best examples of deliverables, or the best templates often required some digging and building what some employees refer to as a “chain of experts.” Many knowledge experts are familiar with this concept, in which an employee starts a conversation with one expert and is then handed off down a chain of people until the correct team member is identified.


Unlike most organizations where new technologies are gradually rolled out from one department to another, Avanade chose to offer Viva Topics to the entire company, enabling all employees to contribute to the curation around topics. “The power of Viva Topics is in bringing together AI and the smartness and experience of our people,” says Marci Jenkins, Workplace IT Executive at Avanade. Crawling the documents in SharePoint, Viva Topics has begun identifying thousands of topics across the company’s Microsoft tenant, including Avanade offerings, Microsoft solutions, industries, customers, and even strategic initiatives. 


Learn more in today’s customer story, “Connecting content and expertise at a people-centric company: Viva Topics simplifies knowledge shari...


Do more with the Viva Topics Hackathon

This week, we’re also releasing the Microsoft Viva Topics Hackathon.



Microsoft Viva Topics Hackathons are designed to jumpstart Viva Topics adoption in your organization by creating a fun, collaborative environment for employees to try out the new technology and begin contributing to the shared knowledge base. A hackathon is a fun way to collaborate with your colleagues.  It doesn’t require coding, all are welcome.  And you can get started by downloading our free hackathon toolkit, with invitations, presenter decks and instructions to run your own event.


We look forward to hearing from you as you use our latest innovations and put knowledge to work in your organization. Please stay connected through the Microsoft Tech Community.  Thank you.

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