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Microsoft Viva

Using AI and experts to curate a better informed workforce with Microsoft Viva Topics

At Konsolute, we think Viva is a gamechanger, that’s why we’re developing consultancy kickstart packages to get your journey off to a great start.

In this new blog series we’re going to be taking a deeper dive into the world of Microsoft Viva, addressing and sharing knowledge around each of its four core modules - Connections, Insights, Learning and Topics. This week is the turn of Topics, the module using AI to inform your workforce.


A quick overview

So, by this point in the year you’ve probably heard quite a lot about Viva Topics. If not, we’ve put together a condensed overview of this module before we take a deeper dive into the the real reasons behind why Topics should be a serious consideration for those implementing remote working. It’s fair to say that when we’re reading company literature, we regularly come across ideas and words that we need to research further. We go away and use google to help us out, sometimes we get distracted by unrelated articles- you get the idea. This is the concept that underpins Topics, with Microsoft recognising that traditional methods of self-learning take time and hinder productivity.

Topics uses Microsoft Graph and AI to identify your organisation’s internal themes. A topic can be defined as a phrase or term that has a specific meaning to your company and has resources based around that topic. The following are the current types of topics listed by Microsoft:

  • Project
  • Event
  • Organization
  • Location
  • Product
  • Creative work
  • Field of study

AI connects people with relevant topics which can lead to this becoming a suggested topic should it prove to be useful.

Not every identified topic will be useful to your business. The system for identifying suggestions is based on labels so the ability to add topics that aren’t identified and curate topics is still key in making sure your organisation is getting the most out of its topics- working with AI not relying on it.

Topics feature in your SharePoint site in accessible summary cards which provide an quick overview- should you be interested in the suggestion topic details are available.

Working with AI

So that’s the high level overview of Topics, a great new feature designed to push contextual knowledge and learning out to your workforce. Now let’s dive a little deeper into the benefits of curating an organisation of Topics that makes your employees feel supported and educated no matter the location.

It’s important to add here that for businesses, Viva Topics is a brilliant onboarding feature for new hires, helping to upskill and inform efficiently. According to Microsoft, “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.” Topics aims to reduce that significant waste by bringing relevant information directly to individuals in Teams.

Back to working alongside AI, it’s essential to view your suggested topics as a foundation or starting point. Human contribution such as editing, adding topics, confirmation from users for AI discovered properties and manual feedback on the relevance of topics are all vital for making the most out of your Viva experience.

Although topics can be overviewed by knowledge managers, even ‘read-only’ users will be asked to confirm the usefulness of specific topics. This is gained through feedback questions in the topics summary section. Overall, creating a rich and insightful range of topics is dependant on all facets of your organisation and not just AI. Curating relevant information is best done through human feedback working alongside Microsoft graphs doing all of that labour behind the scenes.

Another great tool to personalise the employee experience

Microsoft is encouraging experts to step forward and help curate topic cards and share their knowledge. The world of remote working means we can no longer grab someone in the office for sound boarding advice and this is something our intranets need to try and make up for.

Having a really useful directory of knowledge residing in your SharePoint is one of the biggest use cases for a good intranet. Microsoft has expanded on this idea with another useful “ask a question” feature. When users have a question about a particular Topic, they can pose that question to the Topic.

If Topics can gain the answer from the resources it has identified already, it will provide the answer. If a human answer is needed, an expert can respond and the answer becomes part of that Topic’s scope of knowledge. In this way, topic cards are constantly growing and improving.

The key reasons to get started on your Topics journey

Contextual Learning

New knowledge is now contextual, with information being delivered efficiently at the time of need. Studies have been done to suggest this way of contextualised microlearning leads to better information retention. The accessibility of topics also means users are less likely to guess their answers.

Bring knowledge to your User

As part of the Viva as a UXP, topics is being bought to employees. Gone are the days of searching through documents and the web, Topics is here to save time and boost productivity.

Gain expert knowledge

Cultivate knowledge using your experts and AI to refine topic pages. If a topic card is missing information, help to build that out and grow your organisational knowledge.

Consultancy and making the most of Viva Topics

We’re launching a series of assessments and workshops designed to help you embrace all of Viva’s four modules, if you’re interested in gaining consultancy at any stage of your Viva Topics journey from set-up to onboarding we’re here to empower you with the tools to harness Microsoft 365. Why not get in touch?

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