Soundbite Brings Microsoft Viva to Life

Microsoft introduced Viva in February 2021, Microsoft Viva currently consists of four individual employee experience apps that all live within Microsoft Teams.

Viva Connections and Learning is the most interesting in the context of Soundbite. The other two, Viva Topics, and Viva Insights, certainly have related touchpoints, but Topics and Insights lack a broad communications focus.

What Is Microsoft Viva Connections?

Viva Connections aggregates content from Microsoft 365 and other tools, such as news in the form of a highly curated feed. It then displays it within Microsoft Teams. The news can come from Soundbite, SharePoint as well as Yammer. 

Platforms like Soundbite can publish to the Viva feed to help enable Connections as part of Teams and is therefore available as a mobile app as well as on desktop. In addition, Soundbites can be heard and created directly to and from channels and chats making it a preferred way of both creating as well as listening to content. When you look at Viva Connections, one quickly realizes that technically, Viva is a Syntex-enabled SharePoint home site embedded in Teams. This is where Soundbite helps bring Viva to life!

The question is: What exactly does this mean for communications teams in organizations using Microsoft 365 today?

We have discussed this question in depth with independent experts, partners, and Microsoft itself. I’ve been a guest at various events and webinars and have spoken about the Soundbites view of Viva. And I will say, the promises made by Viva have me very excited!

The Potential of Viva Connections for Internal Communication

A channel where users spend a lot of time

Covid-19’s impact on the world of work has turned many of us into permanent Microsoft Teams users. We spend hours in online conferences or chatting within Teams. The number of active Teams users has grown to more than 145 million worldwide. Teams is the most important platform in the Microsoft 365 universe.

Communications cannot and should not ignore this fact. Microsoft Teams is an important channel in the communications mix. Viva Connections displays content within Teams and doesn’t require much configuration or development effort to do so.

Clarity about the center of the Microsoft 365 platform

This second point fits with the previous one and re-emphasizes the importance of the decision to make Teams the “home” of the Viva Connections app. A few years ago, that home would likely have been in SharePoint or even Yammer. With this move, Microsoft removes any ambiguity as to where the future heart within Microsoft 365 will beat.

SharePoint is technically the basis of the Connections app, but Viva Connections only runs within Teams. However, this clear decision in favor of Teams helps us understand the future direction of SharePoint as a mission-critical employee engagement application. 

Advancements in mobile use

The Viva Connections mobile app isn’t ready yet, but at least the focus on a dedicated mobile app with a modern design is a good sign for all Microsoft users. Communications departments will wonder to what extent the Connections app can be easily accessed and used within the Teams app. For instance, can it permanently reach target groups who spend a few minutes a week, rather than hours per day, in Teams?

How Soundbite Brings Viva Connections to Life!

Soundbite solves challenges for many employees and frontline people who use Teams little, rarely, or never.

As mentioned, Viva Connections only works for employees who are already actively using Teams. The high level of information complexity with many Team rooms, as well as updates, becomes problematic when people are on Teams less frequently; e.g., weekly. This is one of the reasons why we have made Soundbite simple, exclusive, and actionable. 

Employees often have limited opportunities for training and therefore should be able to completely use the platform without support. Soundbite provides options that help employees engage however they want and where they work without needing to use to learn to use Viva Connections. 

To help all people, Soundbite makes a deep understanding of Microsoft Teams not necessary making Viva plus Soundbite a perfect combination for employee communications.

For communication teams and editors – Soundbite brings Short-Form and Microcontent to Teams and Viva

As a technology, Viva Connections brings information together on the end-user side. Content from Soundbite, Yammer, and SharePoint. This means that classic communication, in particular, remains in SharePoint, a platform that is adopted by many editorial departments.

The Viva Connections news concept doesn’t seem very innovative but makes Microsoft Teams better than Staffbase and Social Chorus

The current images of Viva Connections suggest that there will be a single feed that somehow brings together all news. You can now have feed social network (Yammer) content, Soundbite Microcontent, and Short-Form Audio, along with all of your corporate communications is reminiscent of the approach companies like Staffbase and SocialChorus take today.

With Soundbite and Microsoft Teams, we have invested a great deal of time and effort to ensure that our platform makes important updates sustainably visible and reliably distributed to all employees no matter where they work. This makes Soundbite and Viva Connections poised to solve this challenge.

Viva Connections automatically makes SharePoint a better intranet

SharePoint is central to the Microsoft Viva strategy. SharePoint is both the repository behind Teams and with Viva Connections, the editorial system for news in Teams. Microsoft Viva now brings this together and is Microsoft’s vision of what an intranet in a box made for employee communications and experience should be.

Viva Connections will enable more companies to use SharePoint directly as an intranet without making massive investments in stand-alone apps that require their separate projects for information architecture, navigation. and the training of editors.

The Soundbite Take

Our goal with Soundbite is to develop the best internal communications platform for Microsoft and users all over the globe. Today, over 90% of our customers already rely on Microsoft technology in their digital workplace. Soundbite brings microcontent to SharePoint, Yammer, Teams, and now Viva, giving Microsoft and Soundbite 2 key advantages:

  1. Effective internal communication channels for all target groups

Within these channels, communication is the focus. The most important strategic topics get the attention of employees.

Soundbite makes this happen by separating general communication from more specific departmental content on the one hand, and operational newsfeeds from collaborative content on the other.

Particularly important here is that these channels adapt to the specific working conditions of your respective target groups based on where they work. This is highly unique to Soundbite. Communication channels look very different for desk-bound employees than they do for frontline employees like nurses, bus drivers, or assembly line workers.

In addition to the employee apps, Soundbite extends and enables the Viva intranet on mobile and private devices for which many of our customers use as “front-doors”.

Viva and Soundbite give companies a modern platform for internal communications that works great amongst all other key business tools.

  1. A platform for the internal communications team where everything comes together

Robust digital process support has been available to marketing, sales, and finance teams for a long time. Modern communications want and need to become more data-driven to optimize its channels, content, and results. Soundbites comprehensive analytics alongside Viva Workplace Analytics make this happen.

Modern communications teams can now plan campaigns, coordinate with distributed editorial teams, distribute content across multiple channels (including Soundbite, Yammer, SharePoint, MS Teams, and then Viva Connections), collect feedback, and measure their results across all channels.

With the aid of Soundbite and Microsoft, today’s internal communicators can manage their complex work and demands with greater efficiency and in a more networked manner.

The strategy model for internal communication. The four areas — strategy, communication, interaction, and optimization — are fully supported by Soundbite and Microsoft.