Microsoft Viva | Why HR means more to Knowledge Management than we apply today

Pieter Ardinois

Check out the diagram below. It seems simple, although it was well-thought-out in 2004 and was the summary of a recommendation from an interesting study at the University of Berlin.

Rising inflation leads to pressure and a quest for operational excellence and productivity gains, even among knowledge workers.

Peter Drucker has written quite a bit about the productivity of the knowledge worker ( How to measure it, how to increase productivity and what contributes to productivity (talent matching, focus, trust, social cohesion, continuous learning, goal clarity, …).

3 contrasting observations

This study frames that same thinking and starts from 3 contrasting observations:

  • Knowledge sharing is often seen as the central theme of #knowledgemanagement. However, knowledge management is best viewed from the full cycle of knowledge management: creation, storage, distribution and application of knowledge.
  • In studies around Knowledge Management, there is a focus on either smart IT systems or HR-related solutions, such as the organization of knowledge groups or storytelling. An appropriate solution is a combination of both.
  • The definition of Knowledge Management is not unambiguous. We manage to define ‘management’. There is no single definition of knowledge today.

Microsoft Viva: stepping in the right direction

The same questions remain relevant, although the solution may be closer to the truth than 15 years ago. As far as I am concerned, Microsoft Viva is a step in the right direction. The union of hr aspects with deep-rooted, smart IT systems and attention to Drucker’s domains that contribute to productivity, are united in this employee experience platform.

  • Topics: Knowledge is offered within the context of the knowledge worker. This is close to the ‘smart IT system’. Moreover, knowledge is seen as experts in the organization, relevant documents and link to the taxonomy of the organization.
  • Insights: Elements such as social cohesion and trust are human aspects that can be steered under the responsibility of HR in the form of culture, self-awareness and good leadership. Viva Insights supports this on a personal and organizational level.
  • Learning: Continuous learning is one of the most important elements in the career of a knowledge worker. Providing relevant training is nicely supported by Viva.
  • Connections: Information customized to the employee’s role at the time promotes employee engagement and focus.
  • Goals: Goals is the newest addition in Microsoft Viva. It allows you to set individual and team goals and chart progress toward the goal within the context of Microsoft Teams. There is no better version than this.

Bringing HR aspects and Knowledge Management closer together

Microsoft Viva is therefore one of the first players to unite HR aspects and basic components of Knowledge Management. This is undoubtedly just a start, both for Viva and for the idea of bringing HR and Knowledge Management together.

The big advantage for Microsoft Viva is the high level of integration with the various M365 components. Thanks in part to the past two years and the change in the organization of work, Microsoft owns a large part of the tools of a modern digital workplace: communication via e-mail, content creation via O365, collaboration via Teams, storing content in SharePoint and OneDrive, and in many cases still the operating system Windows.

Enterprise Search has long been one of the most difficult domains and tools to implement. The challenge was at least twofold: indexing information across sources, changing users to search for information when they needed it. The first challenge was technically complex. The second challenge was based on the assumption that people knew when they needed information. Viva uses the integrated technology to index information and goes one step further toward the user. It offers contextual information without requiring the user to start an active search.

The broadening of Viva will be fascinating to follow, as will the impact on other vendors in the Knowledge Management market: Learning, Document Management, Search…

Because possibly Microsoft Viva will not become the all-encompassing tool in the long run. The broadening and further integration of EMS (Employee Management Systems) systems towards knowledge management and the movement of knowledge systems towards HR related tools will undoubtedly provide new applications.

The same thinking can be continued for Case Management. But I’ll leave that for a subsequent article.

Find the full study here:

Would you like HR to empower your employees?

Then the range of Modern Workplace Camps by Xylos might be of interest to you. For instance, to start improving your meeting culture, we can set up Viva Insights for you to use M365 data and identify concrete figures to evaluate. Be sure to discover Meeting Camp and get in touch.

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