What Does Microsoft Viva Mean for the Future of the SharePoint Intranet?

Given the announcement of Viva, what is the future of the SharePoint intranet? 

Microsoft Viva is fresh, innovative, and exciting. And while we watched in awe during the visionary announcement from Satya Nadella on February 4th, many of us were left wondering what this means for SharePoint and the rest of the Microsoft 365 suite? 

Is Teams the Buzz Lightyear of the digital workspace toy chest? Will this new favorite leave the rest of the toys to be forgotten? 

Most certainly not! You can rest assured that SharePoint is the Woody in this tale of digital workspace evolution—a tried and true, reliable, and influential friend in the mission to employee experience (EXP) and beyond. SharePoint has a very loyal friend in Jeff Teper (longtime owner of SharePoint and proud newish owner of Teams at Microsoft). In fact, word has it, ‘JEFF’ is etched in Sharpie on its boot.   

So, given the announcement of Microsoft Viva, what is the future of the SharePoint intranet? For starters, we’ve been predicting this evolution for more than two years
 (Check out prediction #4).  

But the TL;DR? 

SharePoint isn’t going anywhere. The way we consume the content created in SharePoint will change in years to come. Your investment in a SharePoint intranet is not in vain, and there are many ways you can prepare your intranet for a bright future with Viva! To get the full breakdown, we sat down with our President, CEO, and Microsoft Regional Director & MVP, Eric Overfield. 

Q: What does Microsoft Viva mean for the future of the SharePoint Intranet? 

A:“Yesterday’s announcement isn’t something we can jump on immediately, but our assumption, and one we’ve been betting on for quite a while, is that the “intranet” as we know it is going to become one component of the digital workspace platform, surfaced through Teams. 

Viva relies on connecting all the powerful tools like SharePoint, the Power Platform, Forms, Power Bi, Dynamics, and more into a single pane view via Microsoft Teams. Essentially we’re beginning to see the promise of a truly holistic digital workspace come to fruition.” 

I believe the long term lifespan of the intranet is not going away; it is instead joining forces with new tools to continue to empower organizations to collaborate and communicate effectively. The importance of a standalone intranet will give way to a new way to consume the content. It will become a central component of the bigger picture. 

SharePoint is gaining new peers —a cornerstone of Teams— but SharePoint is not going anywhere. SharePoint is a very powerful tool and the only way to hold files, create content, pages, news articles, etc. 

I have been arguing, and continue to promote that SharePoint will play an even greater and more critical role in the Teams, and now Viva story than we’re giving it credit. Even today, much of what we do in Teams isn’t really happening in Teams.  

Here’s another way to think of all of this… 

Think of Teams as the Operating System to your Employee Experience Platform (EXP), the OS, the coordinator of your digital workspace. It handles processes and information and decides how that information is presented. Microsoft Teams takes the best of the tools around it and connects them together for you. 

Or another way… 

Viva is primarily for consumption and engagement, but it’s all still powered by backend systems like SharePoint, Dynamics, Forms, Polls, etc. 

SharePoint and its friends (Power Platform, forms, etc.) are for creators of that content. There is still great need for more task-oriented curation spaces that SharePoint provides. Think of SharePoint as video production software and Teams as YouTube hosting the 3 min. result of your hours spent in Final Cut Pro.” 

Q: How does Microsoft Viva affect my intranet today? 

A: “If you’re investing in an intranet today, you should feel confident that this will help you prepare to fully leverage Viva. Set yourself up for success by following Microsoft’s best practices and successful patterns. And because it bears repeating, have no fearSharePoint is not going anywhere. Content creators need it; Teams is powered by it! You should still be investing in your intranet; just know that in a few years, your team will likely be consuming more of this content in Teams, that was created in SharePoint.”

Q: How can I prepare to take advantage of Microsoft Viva?  

A: “My advice is to invest in Teams planning, strategy, governance, and adoption. Set up SharePoint for success so that it will play well with Teams, which means working within Microsoft’s best practices. Have documents live in the Teams environment so that the EXP operating system will move easily surface the content.”

Q: The question we’ve all been waiting for … Who’s your favorite Toy Story Character and why?  

A: It should come as no surprise that I’m a big fan of Woody. He’s loyal, logical, resilient, and a good friend. 

Is your organization looking to learn more about how to connect the dots? Are you ready to fully leverage the tools you’re already investing in? Need help with a Microsoft Teams strategy? Want to chat about Toy Story? A PixelMill Microsoft 365 expert would love to chat with you todayafter all, you’ve got a friend in PixelMill.   

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