9 Steps to Prepare Your SharePoint Intranet for Microsoft Viva

If you’re excited about Microsoft’s new Employee Experience Platform (EXP), Microsoft Viva, but aren’t sure what it means for your current intranet, then this post is for you. The announcement of Viva instilled fear in the future of SharePoint for some. You can rest assured, SharePoint is not going anywhere. Since Dec 2019 (check out prediction #4), we’ve been arguing that Teams was positioning itself to be the single pane into your digital workspace, and we believe Viva only further validated that prediction. 

Does that mean that the intranet is dead? Far from it.   

Whether you have an intranet, you’re building one, or you’re thinking about building one, there’s continued value in your intranet investment. Viva is giving you the push many of us need to start thinking about the entire digital workspace and our Microsoft 365 investment more holistically. 

Viva doesn’t stand alone—it’s powered by all the great pieces that make up Microsoft 365, including SharePoint. Now, more than ever, it’s essential to think through how your intranet fits into your EXP. 

Employees are begging for a more holistic approach. Viva is about delivering your employees the experience they need wherever they’re working, and that doesn’t just mean their physical location or device, but the platform as well. Viva empowers us to deliver rich employee experiences where your employees spend their most time (and for many, that is Microsoft Teams).   

Prepare your Intranet for Microsoft Viva: 

Your employees are begging for a more integrated and holistic solution. The time is now, and Viva is your perfect excuse—Microsoft is pushing us into the EXP. But in order to fully leverage Viva, you need to get your house in order first.   

Prepare for Viva Connections: 

SharePoint Intranet Microsoft Viva

p 1: Don’t Panic.  

Viva won’t just randomly show up someday. You will still have to configure it, so you’ll have time to prepare and plan!  

Step 2: Create a Home Site (designate a communication site to be a home site). 

Consider activating the updated Yammer to tap into all Viva Connections features– This is not required, but helpful.  

Step 3: Understand your users and prepare for personalization opportunities, arguably step 0. 

  • Identify a manageable and maintainable set of personas/audiences 
  • Set up AAD Groups for these target audiences 
  • Train content authors to properly tag content 
  • Think about the tasks and experiences users need to get their work done 

We expect Viva Connections will roll out at the end of March. The first version will be provisioned as a PowerShell script and a package uploaded to the Teams Admin Center. Future versions of Viva Connections should be available directly in the Microsoft 365 admin center.  Documentation is already available on how to prepare and configure Viva Connections.  

Prepare for Viva Topics 

Step 4: Update pages to modern SharePoint as topic cards and highlights will only appear on modern pages. 

Step 5: Perform content audits to be certain data has the correct permissions. 

  • Identify team members in your organization for three new roles: 
    • Knowledge Administrator – (technical role) 
    • Knowledge Manager (works with topics) 
    • Topic contributor – (subject matter experts) 

Learn more about planning for and getting started with Viva Topics. 

Prepare for Viva Insights 

Step 6: Validate global availability of Insights Teams app (Viva Insights is currently available for individuals). 

You can locate the insights app in Teams here.  

Step 7: If you’re an organization of 5000+ employees* look into Workplace Analytics to take advantage of the manager/leadership insight capabilities. 

*Note: Viva Insights for managers/leaders is currently only available for organizations of 5,000 more to ensure employee privacy.  

Prepare for Viva Learning  

The Public Preview of Viva Learning is coming in April!

SharePoint Intranet Microsoft Viva

Step 8:
Compile a list of learning sources for the organization and define who needs what. 

Step 9: Decide which sources to display in the Learning app. 

  • No cost/no subscription choices include Microsoft Learn and Microsoft 365 Training 
  • Ability to configure a SharePoint source 
  • Subscription sources available to your organization at launch include Skillsoft, Coursera, Pluralsight, and edX

More tips to prepare your intranet for Microsoft Viva: 

  • Plan a flat SharePoint site architecture.
  • Design and test global navigation for the browser and Teams. 
  • Create AAD Groups to take advantage of personalizing content for employees.
  • Use SPFx for customizations.
    • Note: Custom SharePoint webparts can show up in a Team’s tab independent of the page.
  • Create pages assuming that they will be viewed outside of SharePoint context. 

Your SharePoint intranet investments are valuable, but it’s time to think beyond the intranet

Many organizations have invested a significant amount of resources, both time and money, in their intranet initiatives. The obvious question is, was this all in vain? 

Absolutely not.  

If your organization has or is planning to successfully implement a digital teamwork solution that solves end-user needs and pain points, the ROI is there.  

You may be asking, what is the future of your investment? The modern intranet has been evolving rapidly over the last several years, and we’re now seeing the acceleration of this evolution. The intranet—often the gateway of the digital workspace—has been paramount in information dissemination, building transparency and trust for disparate teams across an organization, while enhancing and enabling collaboration on projects. We see that the next step in the intranet evolution is what Viva, Teams, and SharePoint can bring together.  

An intranet’s main purpose is to empower effective communications and collaboration. SharePoint will continue to play a vital role in employee experience. While Teams may be presenting much of the experience, SharePoint is powering it. Therefore, investing in strategic SharePoint planning and governance will be paramount to fully leveraging the EXP. 

Remember, the employee experience is about empowering your team to achieve more no matter where they are working. 

PixelMill’s Protip: If you’re using a SharePoint Intranet, start planning your holistic digital workspace strategy as it relates to SharePoint TODAY. We’re offering two workshops to help you no matter where you are on your journey.  

Does your team want to make the most of your SharePoint investment? Do you need help thinking about how your organization can benefit from Viva? A PixelMill Microsoft 365 expert would love to chat with you today 

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