Microsoft Viva + Beezy: Employee experience superpowers (Part 1)
Maximo CastagnoMarch 2, 2021
Now that the marketing dust is starting to settle around the Microsoft Viva announcement, we can get into why we’re so excited about this new employee experience platform. Not just from a product perspective, but, perhaps more importantly, from a category point of view.
A decade ago, we started talking about the importance of taking a holistic approach to employee experience, going beyond platforms and tools to put the employee journey at the heart of everything. We created a framework to create a seamless user experience, connecting Beezy’s newsfeed, communities, tags, and other features to any tool in the Microsoft 365 platform and beyond. Two years ago, we hosted a webinar with Sam Marshall from ClearBox on Delivering an integrated employee experience (EX).
Today, the organizations we work with embrace Beezy’s Intelligent Workflow features, connectors, and Action Cards as critical to their employee experience strategy.
EXP: The enterprise software category that's finally getting the validation it deserves
Microsoft launched Viva as a groundbreaking employee experience platform built for the digital era. With that, the company sent the message loud and clear that the world's changed, and that employee experience needs to be a priority for every organization. But more than that, it’s about ushering in a new standard and ecosystem for the Employee Experience Platform (EXP) category.
We’ve known the importance of this space for years, and our customers have benefited from our vision, but it’s nice to see that vision get full support from Microsoft.
Jared Spataro, Microsoft’s corporate vice-president of modern work, commented recently that the EXP category, which covers hundreds of software applications and services on the market, “will be every bit as influential for the industry as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) or CRM (Customer Relationship Management) were.”
Four Viva building blocks mean four great opportunities for Beezy users
Viva consists of four key modules: Viva Connections, Viva Learning, Viva Insights, and Viva Topics. Viva takes our vision and expands it to new areas that Beezy hasn’t yet covered. Like learning and workplace wellbeing.
Viva also fits with core parts of our solution – corporate communication, social collaboration, company culture, process efficiency, and knowledge management – with a platform mindset, stitching together pieces of software that already exist inside and outside of Microsoft 365.
Let’s take a closer look at the Viva modules and how they fit with Beezy to bring you a better employee experience.
What is it? A dashboard for internal communications with news, conversations, and resources.
How it fits with Beezy: Viva Connections is a user experience layer that can only be as good as the content it displays. Beezy’s value kicks in here. We help employees easily create and manage content, connections, knowledge, skills, and more, all natively in Microsoft 365. Without Beezy’s features, Viva Connections would essentially be an empty shell.
What is it? Wellbeing and performance metrics for employees, managers, and company leaders.
How it fits with Beezy: To analyse user behavior, Beezy already makes use of many tools in the Microsoft platform (SharePoint Analytics, My Analytics, Clarity, etc) but also external tools (like Google Analytics, Webtrends, Adobe Analytics, and more). Viva Insights will provide our customers and their employees with a more powerful and comprehensive way to track what’s happening in Beezy and Microsoft 365.
What is it? An eLearning module for LinkedIn Learning and integrations with content providers including Coursera and Cornerstone.
How it fits with Beezy: eLearning isn’t one of Beezy’s key offerings, simply because there are pure players in the space doing this really well. With Beezy, you can create learning content in SharePoint as a launchpad to learning experiences in other systems. An example is the employee onboarding experience. Beezy is the starting point for welcoming new employees and connecting them with the organization. Employees can launch into a Learning Management System (LMS) or other systems for specific learning tasks.
What is it? A way to organize knowledge in a database of topics, experts, and content.
How it fits with Beezy: Knowledge management is one of Beezy’s core pillars, and we’ve always connected our content, tags, and employees’ skills to the Metadata Service in SharePoint. More recently, we’ve been working to integrate with Project Cortex, Bing Search, and SharePoint Syntex. Because Beezy is native to SharePoint and Microsoft 365, most of this integration comes automatically to our customers, and we have a long roadmap of innovative features that will work seamlessly with Viva Topics.
Beezy is a reality today that can help get you ready for Viva tomorrow
Beezy is a mature product in today’s market. Viva isn’t quite ready yet. The good news, though, is that, since Viva will be built on top of existing features in the Microsoft platform, we’re already getting our customers prepared.
Here’s an example. Viva Topics is the only module available right now. Just a couple of days after the Viva announcement, we started testing the first integration of Topics in Beezy and we’re currently developing a rollout plan. It’s been so quick for us because we’ve been following the progress of Project Cortex since its inception, and working with Microsoft every step of the way.
This image shows our first integration of Microsoft Viva’s Topics within Beezy
Platforms, solutions, and why there's a need for both
There have always been platforms and solutions in the software space, and the EXP category is no exception. Platforms are the enablers that define new categories. They do the heavy lifting across features like search and intelligence. Because of that, platforms are more complex and difficult to use and manage. They also tend to follow a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.
Solutions are also critical but for other reasons. Solutions plug the feature gaps in platforms. Typically, they’re more flexible than platforms, and nimble when reacting to market trends. Solutions also allow for higher levels of customization so that organizations (especially large ones) can tailor their employees’ experience to their specific brand, culture, and business requirements.
Finally, we think solutions should simplify the user experience, hide a platform’s inherent complexity, and become integral to the employee experience.
This image shows how Beezy works as a solution on top of the Microsoft platform
Platforms and solutions need each other to be able to offer the end result that organizations today require: an exceptional employee experience.
Read part 2 of this blog to learn more about how Viva and Beezy work together to improve your employee experience.
You can also check out this recap from our March 4 event with Digital Workplace Group – Microsoft 365: Using Beezy to create and optimized EX with Teams, Viva + 3rd party integrations.