top of page

Microsoft Viva the Future of Learning? 5 Steps to Success

Updated: Aug 20, 2021

Microsoft Viva - 5 Steps to Success

So, what will Microsoft Viva do for us?

Well, a great question, I wrote back in 2018 The future is a Learning Ecosystem ( discussing a Learning Ecosystem, asserting that the answer needed for Corporate Learning was, not one bloated solution, 'over-developed and extended to meet all needs’, but an integrated Platform, that operated as a Learning Ecosystem. One that was Learner & Employee centric, allowing access to all content, sharing & Collaboration.

And the answer is this, if Microsoft Viva is and does what Microsoft say’s it will on release later this year, – then that’s what we will have a Fully integrated Platform - Learning Ecosystem ++!

Microsoft will create a new and rapid growth sector EXP – Employee EXperience Platform

Welcome to the Future!

After working for nearly a decade with Microsoft as State Director in South Australia, I can definitely say, Microsoft are never ‘Bleeding-Edge’ never the first movers. However, when they eventually do something like this, they do it right – this EXP I think, will be a cohesive Employee/HR/HCM/Learning/MS Teams/Collaboration Platform offering full integration across a whole range of Microsoft technologies and Microsoft Partner Applications, Services, Learning Content & Course Providers. This is exciting news from the MS Team in Seattle.

I want to expand what I mean by “integration across a range of Microsoft technologies” – it’s not in doubt, but a caveat & and a clear warning – don’t buy Viva Licences for your business needs, open the virtual box, then just expect success.

Success will not be, ‘Open the box, and trust to hope and your good judgement, that it will all work as expected’.

I promise without the right Microsoft Partner, Business Planning, Project Preparation work being done, accurately and well, it won’t.

As always with all these technologies, there is some considerable preparation and readiness, as well as some thought provoking Business planning needed to be undertaken for the project to gain full business value.

It does sound great, however, what exactly do you want to the outcomes to be?

Take the 5 Step Approach:

Step One: Choose your Technology Partner with great care. Really, for example, just because they know SharePoint, you’ve worked with them before – that is not a tick in the right box, this is a much bigger project than that.

Do they need to understand SharePoint – absolutely, but on this occasion, not SharePoint Version Migration Planning and Execution (which is where most focus), but on SharePoint access to Corporate Content – its use, modification and re-use as learning content (include conversion of MS Word documents SP Content to HTML for access, use and content sharing of all SP Word documents.

A Classy, user friendly intuitive Intranet design and access – not just a Logo & Company name on a SharePoint site, which so many do….

Step 2: Decide what you really want to achieve with the Viva Platform Solution. Have a clear Plan.

A Viva Project Plan - with Steps/actions – Timelines. Ownership. Planned outcomes. Budget and associated Licences - Microsoft and Others – LMS, Course Content Suppliers, LXP, HR Solution, HCM Application ++

Negotiate early, and get agreements in place – Late to the party here = Urgency on your Part & increased profit on theirs….

Step 3: Engage your Partner(s) – draw-up a Project Plan – Critically, with Executive Leadership Sponsorship & Support, along with Strategic Buy-in across the C-Suite team – if you don’ t get this, look for something else to do, sadly it’s not going to work out…

Step 4: Is where you can have some real fun. Business Outcome Measurements. Results, Deviations from the norm, anticipated versus real, Upcoming Skills Gaps, Gaps to Qualifications required to deliver Plans. Resource Gaps to Planning – your imagination is the limit – Use and gather all that real-time, accurate data into MS Power BI and analyse the Business to your hearts content – real data makes a real difference. Strategy to win

Discuss and decide as 'a cross business team', how real results will be utilised to fine tune business inputs – this a live situation, make sure you know which levers to adjust in real-time.

Your LMS and other applications may already be a ‘Partner Plug-in to Viva’ - all well and good – many Partners and key LMS’s like Cornerstone are on-board already, others are working hard to be on-board – before you tick the box, check carefully how that plug-in operates, integrates and links content, data, learning completion, ongoing professional development points etc.

Some will have done simple un-imaginative Plug-Ins others will have been innovative – stay on the Innovative side of the equation. Know how all this data gets stored in your LMS or HR System, or whatever you select as the System of record, maybe in MS Viva? Know where and when course, learning, results, outcomes get transferred to Microsoft Teams & Viva for collaboration, searching, sharing etc.

You need to ask your team Open Questions.
Is this a development project too, to get the adjustments your business needs? Don’t compromise this opportunity....

Step 5: Don’t assume anything, ask, test, prove and match to plan before taking the leap.

I won’t add a Microsoft Viva verified Partner list to this article as this will rapidly change, and be upgraded on a near daily basis – check back here, I'll keep this updated or add a link as soon as MS publish one Announcing Viva Partners

Next find a new internal Business Partner, Executive friend, in your own IT team.

Start with the CIO (go-on, I know you’ve always wondered who lived on that floor…ask about Microsoft - Active Directory (AD) – are you already using that in the business – yes?

Not just have it, but use it, and use it well?

Why – well AD will underpin all that integration and potential value you can gain from Microsoft Viva modules and Microsoft Teams. Can you add new/modify/remove employees, identify each user by role, function, location, with access to systems, and control that access to all your internal systems. Do you use it for Single Sign-on – I’m not technical so won’t go deeper, but I can tell you, if you want to add a new user to an external LMS Plugged-in, you will need to have that same user(s) joined to AD, AD Groups and control that access, then you can use Groups to auto join a user or a new user to relevant Cohorts or Groups. So they have immediate access to the right courses, collaborate with the right team and can share that teams content. Which will include access to the revitalised SharePoint Content we discussed a little earlier. Use your LXP data to Add a Skills Type x location x skill level map to AD – Think Integration.

This will all play into Microsoft Teams at the Core of Viva – add someone to a MS Team – access all that team has and uses, enrolled into courses, access to right content +++ – fixed. Add a whole Team or create a new Team or Cohort as an AD Group, it just gets better…

Get all that rich AI data into Microsoft Power BI, so you can visualise emerging issues create a real-time Dashboard. See roadblocks, resource issues, existing or emerging skill-gaps, areas and locations where you have all right skills you need - design what you want to see and learn about the business - to help define the inputs you need.

Get this all done well, done right, and the journey will be fun and all you expected plus more…This is possibly the most exciting technology announcement of the last decade – bringing the Employee to the centre of the picture, accessing all they need, wherever they are, ready to participate, be productive, educated, have access to HR Systems and solutions, Corporate knowledge bases and Subject Matter Experts, Courses and Content.

I co-wrote a consulting education & training course ‘Realising Platform Value’ for platform solutions sales/consulting for Microsoft some years ago. The basis of that, was a simple truth, that still exists in 2021. "The Value of true Integration, vastly exceeds the value that can be achieved with Best of Breed applications".

Much is made of the current crisis forcing us all to be remote workers – I agree to an extent, however this was all going to play-out in time, what has changed is the time-line – the time we have to play hard, to get this done.
The urgency and critical aspects of gaining and increasing production capability, with remote access to knowledge, systems, and processes at any time for anyone in the business has become an imperative.

I won’t repeat what was so eloquently put By Josh Bersin and his Team here The Massive Market Impact of Microsoft Viva – JOSH BERSIN

See the public preview of Viva site here:

Announcing Viva Learning public preview coming in April - Microsoft Tech Community

Can’t think of a time when this kind of Employee access to information & learning wasn’t needed – But I can definitely think of many times when it couldn’t be achieved, last year for example…. Bring on Microsoft Viva

John Driscoll

Future Business Skills |

5 March 2021

107 views0 comments
bottom of page