Microsoft Viva was launched on February 4, 2021 and has been constantly evolving ever since. In this article, I discussed configuration of the first 4 Viva apps (Connections, Insights, Learning, and Topics) from a Microsoft 365 admin perspective. Since that time, Microsoft has launched 3 new ones: Engage, Goals, and Sales, which I’m going to present to you this time.
- Microsoft Viva explained… once again
- Licensing and prices
- How to configure Microsoft Viva
- Other ways to enhance your employee experience
Microsoft Viva explained… once again
Viva is a set of modules (apps, add-ins) available in Microsoft 365 that you can install and use within different Microsoft apps such as Outlook, Teams, or SharePoint. The general purpose of Viva is to improve employee experience, strengthen employee engagement, and boost productivity in the age of hybrid work culture. Refer to the bullet points below to learn what the 3 new Viva modules can do:
- Viva Engage – a Facebook-style feed (a Storyline) browsable through Microsoft Teams where your users can socialize and strengthen relationships by posting announcements, commenting, asking questions, sharing stories, forming communities, etc.
- Viva Goals – an add-on for Microsoft Teams that lets you create teams inside organization, set up goals for the organization, teams & team members, align the goals with each other, as well as track and update the progress of each goal.
- Viva Sales – an Outlook and Teams add-on for salespeople that uses contextual information and AI to automatically generate and suggest best responses to customers they interact with, create automated sales meetings summaries, as well as automatically update a customer relationship management (CRM) system with the data from these interactions.
Licensing and prices for Microsoft Viva
Just like with the first 4 Viva apps, licensing varies from app to app. To get the most out of Microsoft Viva, you need to pay extra in addition to your Microsoft 365 license. Only non-premium features of Viva Engage are available with no additional payment. For details, refer to the table below:
|Viva app||License required||Cost per user*|
|Viva Engage||Microsoft 365 E3, E5, and F3 plans. Learn more + Microsoft Viva Suite license to access all features||Free (premium features available only in the Microsoft Viva Suite offering)|
|Viva Goals||Separate app license||$6.00 user/month|
|Separate app license||$40.00 user/month|
*Costs were taken from Microsoft’s website at the time of writing. There is no guarantee the cost or requirements will stay the same later on. It’s a good idea to double-check pricing pages before buying Viva licenses.
The prices above apply to the annual subscription. If you want to use all the Viva apps in your tenant (except for Viva Sales), you might be interested in choosing a more cost-effective offering called Microsoft Viva Suite, which costs $9.00 user/month. To use Viva Sales, you always need to buy a separate license for it.
To learn more about Viva pricing, visit this website.
How to configure Microsoft Viva
Like in the first article, I’m going to focus on configuring Microsoft Viva apps from a Microsoft 365 administrator perspective. The guides below presume you have already purchased a given Viva offering. To complete all the configurations, the Global Administrator role is required. Still, you can delegate administration in case of each app – read on for details.
Depending on which Viva Engage features you want to use in your organization, you can choose the Core version which is bundled with your Microsoft 365 Enterprise/Frontline (F3) license or additionally buy the full version (standalone or within the Microsoft Viva Suite offering). To assign a license to a user, sign in to the Microsoft 365 admin center, go to Users > Active users, select a user, and click the Licenses and apps tab. For a Viva Engage Core license, select the checkbox next to Viva Engage Core in the Apps section (the left-hand image below). For a complete Viva Engage experience license, select the checkbox next to Microsoft Viva Suite (or Viva Engage) in the Licenses section (the right-hand image below). Finally, click Save changes.
Staying in the Microsoft 365 admin center, go to Setup in the left-hand navigation menu, click the Microsoft Viva tile, and select Viva Engage – you’ll see the following three options on the list:
Using the first one, you, as the Global Administrator, can delegate all the Viva Engage-related tasks to somebody else, appointing that person an Engage Administrator. At the same time, you can control Viva Engage permissions in a much more granular way – for details refer to this article.
Clicking the second option, Pin Engage in Teams, you’ll get detailed instructions on how to add the Viva Engage app to your users’ Microsoft Teams.
Skip the third option (Manage additional settings in Viva Engage) for now and open your Microsoft Teams app – here I assume that you have already pinned the Viva Engage app (using the second option above) and you can access it by clicking its icon on the left.
Viva Engage communities
Any interactions in Viva Engage are based on communities. A community is a group of users organized by topic or interest who can interact with one another. You can, for example, create communities corresponding to departments. To do it, click the Communities tab and Create a community. In the pop-up that opens, fill in the necessary information, choose members, decide if your community should be public or private, and finally click Create. The members will receive email notifications about joining the community.
Viva Engage admin center
Next, let’s explore the Viva Engage admin center for more settings and customizations. The admin center is available in Microsoft Teams for admin user(s) only and can be accessed from the Viva Engage app by clicking the ellipsis (three dots) icon in the top right corner of the screen and choosing Admin.
There are three main tabs to organize settings. The number of tiles displayed after clicking each tab depends on your Viva Engage license.
The Setup and configuration tab lets you configure the following settings:
- Manage corporate communicators – here you can add people from your organization who will be able to manage campaigns in Viva Engage. Social campaigns are hashtag-based initiatives with a separate landing page aimed at engaging employees through discussion. Once a campaign is finished, you can get all the analytics regarding user comments, reactions, posts, etc.
- Configure tenant – lets you configure basic settings for your tenant like name and logo, language, etc. To see more configuration options, click a link below those basic settings to go to the Engage (Yammer) admin center where you can manage your Engage social network, network users, as well as apply content and security controls. Most of the settings are self-explanatory. For example, you can prepare and publish a usage policy, remove a user together with their content to execute a GDPR request, or allow users to report conversations.
- Manage analytics – lets you decide which analytical data should be collected for content published in Viva Engage.
Using the Governance and compliance tab, you can export Viva Engage data and remove users.
The Feature management tab’s name speaks for itself. Depending on your license, you can enable and set up features available in Viva Engage:
- Answers – with this feature, people in your organization can easily ask questions, answer them, and search for questions of their interest.
- Leadership identification and audiences and Leadership corner – you can add company leaders, define their audience, and enable a place (a corner) for them to share their thoughts and insights with others.
- Campaigns – here you can manage campaigns, defining their name, hashtag, description, type, and theme color.
- Storyline – here you can enable the basic Viva Engage functionality, which is a Facebook-like newsfeed called storyline, enable stories, configure notifications for storyline posts or opt in for features that are in preview.
- Rewards and recognition – this setting lets you enable and customize badges that are awarded to users in recognition for asking and answering questions (the Answers feature).
Once you’ve set up everything as intended, you can inform your end users about the Viva Engage app’s availability in Teams and encourage them to start publishing on their storylines. Apart from publishing Storyline posts, they will be able to use various features, depending on your configuration (Rewards, Answers, Leadership corner, etc.) and permissions you assigned (e.g. Campaigns).
Viva Goals isn’t a free app, but you can trial it for free for 60 days, adding up to 50 users. Once you’ve decided to deploy it, you need to first assign Viva Goals licenses to end users. Like with Viva Engage, use the Microsoft 365 admin center to do that (see the previous section) , but this time you need to select the Microsoft Viva Suite (or Viva Engage) checkbox in the Licenses section. Remember to assign the license also for yourself, so that you can access the app.
Before configuring Viva Goals, it’s a good idea to pre-install and pin the app in Microsoft Teams for your end users and yourself, as the process might take some time to propagate. You can find the well documented description on how to do it here.
After pinning Viva Goals in Microsoft Teams, you can sign in at the Viva Goals admin portal to start configuring the app.
On the General tab, you can decide who can create organizations in Viva Goals. Essentially, you should assign this permission carefully, as creating organization(s) has a great impact on Viva Goals experience.
On the same tab, you can also decide what end users can link to in Viva Goals. By default, users can insert links to all (whitelisted) domains supported by Viva Goals. These domains are usually related to popular business tools like SharePoint, Asana, GitHub, etc. You can restrict linking to a set of chosen domains, customizing the list according to your organization’s needs and tools you use.
Viva Goals can be integrated with external services like Azure DevOps, Jira, Excel, Dynamics 365, etc. to automatically fetch values from them and update the progress of goals. On the Integrations tab, you can decide which integrations you want to use.
Finally, the Organizations tab lets you create and manage Viva Goals organization(s) for your company. A Viva Goals organization is a topmost unit that works towards a common purpose. You can create just one organization which will correspond to your entire company, create multiple organizations that stand for each department, etc. You can further divide an organization into teams and subteams whose objectives/goals will add up to the whole organization’s goal(s). When creating an organization, you can decide if anyone can join it or if its membership will be restricted.
Keep in mind that Viva Goals structure consisting of organization(s), teams, and subteams cannot be easily modified later on. That’s why it’s a good idea to plan the structure well before creating anything. Learn more about the limitations
Viva Goals membership management
When your organization is set up, you can add members (if you haven’t added them in the organization creation wizard yet) and create teams (and subteams). To do it, browse back to goals.microsoft.com, and go to Admin > Manage [your organization name]. Use the Members and Teams tabs to add members and teams. The members will get relevant email notifications.
After completing all the major administrative tasks, you can delegate the administrative and daily tasks, like creating objectives and key results (OKRs), updating OKRs progress & time periods, etc., to managers, for example. It’s possible to delegate the management either at the organization or team level.
To delegate organization-wide administration, you can use the features available on the Members tab. Simply click the three dots in a row corresponding to a given user, and choose either Make Admin or Transfer Ownership. Both the roles (admin, owner) share similar set of permissions, but owner is more suitable for a CEO for example, as there can be only one owner of an organization. Admin and owner can manage all the settings on the Admin Dashboard.
The team level admins can be assigned on the Teams tab. Click a three dots in a row corresponding to a given team and choose Manage Members. Next, use the Actions dropdown menu and choose Promote to Team Admin to make a user a team-level administrator.
Finally, you can optionally assign any Azure AD user a Viva Goals Administrator in the Microsoft 365 admin center. The administrator will be able to manage settings both in the Viva Goals admin portal and on Admin Dashboard. To assign the admin, go to Roles > Role Assignments in the left-hand menu, use the search box to find the Viva Goals Administrator role, click it, and choose a user on the Assigned tab.
For detailed description and comparison of roles and permissions in Viva Goals, refer to this Microsoft article.
Viva Sales end-user interface encompasses two apps (add-ins) – one for Microsoft Outlook and the other for Microsoft Teams. As an admin, you’re mainly responsible for deploying the add-ins for your end-users with the Sales Manager or Salesperson security role in Power Platform and configuring a couple of add-in settings. The solution is compatible with Dynamics 365 and Salesforce CRM systems.
First, assign Viva Sales licenses to your salespeople. The solution isn’t free but you can trial it first for free for a month (25 licenses). The license assignment is similar to other Viva apps in the Microsoft 365 admin center – you just need to select the Microsoft Viva Sales checkbox in the Licenses section for a user you want to assign the license to and save the changes.
If you’re going to integrate Viva Sales with Salesforce: Make sure that the Microsoft Power Platform connector used to connect to Salesforce CRM is enabled for the salespeople who are going to use Viva Sales. To learn how to do it in Salesforce, have a look at those steps.
Next, it’s time to deploy the add-ins to the licensed users. Using the add-ins, they will be able to ingest email data in Outlook and call data in Teams into a CRM system (Dynamics 365 or Salesforce), interact with the data stored in the CRM, and use AI to generate data sets, summaries, out-of-the-box email replies, etc. You should also deploy the add-ins for yourself for testing purposes and to be able to fully customize Viva Sales for your organization, as described later on.
To install the Viva Sales add-in for Outlook for selected users, follow the simple steps presented here.
Additionally, if your Viva Sales users use the web-based Outlook app (Outlook on the web, OWA), they might be required to enable the add-in once it’s available for them. To do it, they need to access the settings in the top right corner, go to Mail > Customize actions, select the checkbox next to Viva Sales, and click Save.
Next, you need to install and pin the Viva Sales app in Teams. The app is pinned according to a setup policy. For an easy deployment, first create a dedicated group (e.g. a Microsoft 365 group) and add all your salespeople to it. Then, sign in to the Teams admin center and follow these instructions, assigning the policy to the group you created.
If you want to let your salespeople get automatically generated meeting summaries from Viva Sales, make sure the transcription is enabled for the Global (Org-wide default) meeting policy. Staying in the Teams admin center, go to Meetings > Meeting Policies > Global (Org-wide default), scroll down to Recording & transcription section, and make sure the Transcription option is enabled.
Finally, you can customize Viva Sales to your organization’s needs. This step is optional and requires you to first sign in to your CRM system in the Viva Sales add-in for Outlook. Next, open the Viva Sales app in Teams and click the Settings tab – there you’ll find two items: Forms and Email.
Using Forms, you can decide how your salespeople can interact with each record type (Contact, Opportunity, Account) in the Outlook add-in, i.e. whether they can create new contacts, edit each record type, which fields they see and which they can edit, what’s the order of the fields, etc. For a sample settings screen, have a look below:
The second menu item, Email, currently includes just two options:
- You can enable suggested email replies for salespeople in Outlook which are generated based on data in Outlook, your CRM, and AI.
- Let your salespeople automatically generate email summaries for sales meetings recorded in Microsoft Teams. This option is currently in preview.
Other ways to enhance your employee experience
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