How to use the SharePoint Lookbook

How to use the SharePoint Lookbook

Modern SharePoint is an extremely flexible tool that can meet multiple use cases to support communication and collaboration inside an organisation. This means intranet teams and site owners have a lot of choice in how they structure and design individual sites and pages. Recognising this, Microsoft has created the SharePoint Lookbook, a collection of site templates and designs that can be viewed and then actually deployed on to your SharePoint tenant. The Lookbook is an extremely useful resource that both provides inspiration and a way to give teams a head start in setting up a site.

In this post we’re going to explore what the SharePoint Lookbook is, why it is useful, the kind of templates it contains, and what to consider when using it.

The flexibility of SharePoint

One of the strengths of SharePoint is its flexibility and versatility to support multiple use cases, usually as part of a wider intranet. A strategy page for leadership communications, a departmental site for the sales function, a site for onboarding employees, a place for your volunteering community to come together. All these and more can be achieved using modern SharePoint.

One of the reasons for this flexibility is the ability to add, arrange and configure multiple web parts – the basic “building blocks” of SharePoint – on any given site and page. This means you can have multiple combinations on a page to create different experiences that meet various needs. It also gives intranet teams and individual site owners a lot of choice in how they design and structure individual sites, which are either standalone or sit within a wider intranet structure.

Of course, design flexibility has limits unless a site is customised, retaining some of the standard look and feel of modern SharePoint. While this means it’s not always possible to meet all design and branding needs, in our view this is generally not a problem, as modern SharePoint has an attractive, intuitive and consistent interface.

This flexibility can leave some teams wondering what the best structure and design is for their site. This is where the SharePoint Lookbook can act as a useful resource for both reference and deployment.


What is the SharePoint LookBook?

The SharePoint LookBook is a publicly available site provided by Microsoft that can be reached at  As Microsoft itself describes it, it provides an opportunity to “discover the modern experiences you can build with SharePoint in Microsoft 365” and to “get inspired with these designs or add them to your tenant to start building your next stunning site with them.”

Within the Lookbook there is a gallery of SharePoint templates divided into different categories. You can explore the themes and view each template in more detail. As well as the showing the design on the page, the Lookbook contains template-specific information on site features, web parts used and content included.

There is then a call to action for administrators to deploy a Lookbook template to their tenant, an automated process which takes minutes, as long as an administrator has the necessary rights and your tenant meets the minimum system requirements.


What type of templates are available in the SharePoint Lookbook?

The Lookbook is divided into a number of different browsable categories that explore a wide range of useful use cases. However, the differences between some of the categories are pretty narrow, so it’s worth taking a look through the entire library of templates.

Current categories are:

  • Organisation: covering key organisation-wide types of communication site including initiatives for leadership communications, crisis comms, a news centre, Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and more.
  • Department: examples of department-specific sites or hub covering areas such as sales, HR, training, marketing and even a key conference.
  • Team: this covers team-specific sites for four different use cases covering a project, a collaboration need, a product team and general team communication.
  • Community: this covers two examples of a community site, one being a brand and resources site, and another relating to a charity or CST initiative.
  • Solutions: templates for a range of useful business scenarios including providing Microsoft learning resources, employee onboarding, pre-boarding for new hires, workplace transformation, dealing with a freelance community and more.
  • Schools: templates for schools and colleges.
  • SharePoint Syntex: two templates covering key Syntex user cases including contracts management and promoting the use of Syntex inside your organisation.


What are the benefits of using a SharePoint Lookbook template?

There are a number of benefits in using templates from the SharePoint Lookbook.

Providing inspiration

As already noted, SharePoint is highly flexible and sometimes it is hard to know where to start when designing a site. The Lookbook is an excellent place to start because it provides tangible and achievable examples of site designs across multiple use cases and scenarios. If you need a place to simulate ideas and provide inspiration, then the SharePoint Lookbook is a great starting point.

Increasing speed to market

Using a Lookbook template gives any site owners a huge head start in providing a template that can be deployed in minutes and then modified to suit your needs. It can significantly reduce the “speed to market” if you need to get a site up and running quickly.

Supporting new and busy site owners

Site owners for many areas of an intranet (or for specific intranet sites) can lack confidence in using SharePoint or can be very time-stretched. They are unlikely to be trained communicators. The head start given by a Lookbook can support confidence and resourcing.

Encouraging good use cases and adoption

Lookbook templates reflect good practices and showcase the best of what SharePoint has to offer. They demonstrate the art of the possible and also highlight the range of different web parts that can be deployed. Using templates can help encourage using SharePoint for some use cases that might not have been considered, and generally support adoption from potential site owners across an organisation.

No costs involved

The use of the SharePoint Lookbook is completely free so does not come at any additional cost on top of your normal Microsoft 365 subscription.


Things to consider when using the SharePoint Lookbook

However, there are some considerations in using the SharePoint Lookbook and its templates.

A template is not a finished site

A Lookbook template is not going to be complete. It will likely need more work on it to truly optimise it to meet a particular business need within your organisation. For example, it might be missing a particular web part. However, site owners might consider a site “complete” because it is a Microsoft template and therefore reflecting best practices. It is likely that content owners still need additional guidance and support from the central intranet or communications team to complete a site.

Still needs to fit in with your Information Architecture and security

A deployed template site also needs to fit into your existing Information Architecture and align with your security policies, so any site generated from the Lookbook will need further configuration.

Might bypass governance processes

Many intranet, communication and digital workplace teams want to establish governance about the use of SharePoint sites to deliver business value, minimise duplication, ensure adherence to standards and support alignment with a content strategy. This often means having some kind of approval workflow on site provisioning to stop site proliferation.

Automatically deploying a template on your tenant could bypass provisioning and other governance processes, particularly if your IT function carries out SharePoint administration duties but has a different view on site creation to the intranet team. For example, it can encourage the creation of a lot of standalone sites that can start to get out of control leading to problems with findability.

Not aligning with custom branding

Some organisations want to establish specific designs for their digital workplace or intranet so choose to deploy custom branding or use an “in a box” product that extends the design options of SharePoint. A Lookbook template will not align with that branding.


Getting the best out of the SharePoint Lookbook

In our view the SharePoint Lookbook is an excellent resource that used properly can help save time, and encourage the best use of SharePoint.

However, to get the best out of the templates in SharePoint Lookbook there are other things you need to consider. We regularly help intranet and digital workplace teams in certain areas.

1. Strategy

Defining a digital workplace and intranet strategy, or a related content strategy, that can help define the use cases (and therefore templates) you’ll need in your SharePoint tenant.

2. Design

Helping establish the best design for sites, that can potentially leverage the site and page templates contained in the Lookbook.

3. Additional web parts

Providing the additional web parts that you need to add to Lookbook templates in order to drive business value. Sometimes these are completely custom, or are provided as part of our Lightspeed Modules package, a collection of high value web parts that fill many of the gaps in SharePoint.

4. Information architecture

We can help you design your information architecture to ensure sites created by Lookbook templates are truly findable.

Need help? Get in touch!

If you’d like help in using the SharePoint Lookbook and design, or want to discuss other aspects of your Microsoft 365 powered digital workplace, then get in touch!

Find out more about using SharePoint design for your organisation...

Request a call back with one of our SharePoint experts, for a free consultation about your business.

Get in touch to discuss your project

What are SharePoint web parts and how do I use them?

Web parts are one of the core elements of SharePoint and therefore of any intranet built on SharePoint. They are the basic building blocks that make up the different sites within SharePoint; every page can be broken down into a series of different web parts. If you are creating an intranet based on SharePoint or even just contributing content to it, it really helps to have an understanding of what web parts are and the kind of web parts that you can deploy to deliver your overall content and experience.

In this article we’re going to take a deep dive into SharePoint web parts. We’re going to cover what they are, the different kinds of web parts there are, what a custom web part is and the kind of value that custom web parts can bring to a SharePoint Internet.

What are web parts in SharePoint?

Web parts can be defined as the basic components of SharePoint. Microsoft themselves describe them as “the building blocks of your page” with the ability to “add text, images, files, video, dynamic content and more.”  

Web parts are a significant part of the editing experience in SharePoint. Web parts can be arranged in different ways on a page. Content editors in SharePoint modern can also add new web parts, selecting from a number of web parts that come as standard with the platform.

Web parts can display SharePoint content but can also integrate feeds from other Microsoft 365 tools including Viva Engage / Yammer and Viva Connections.  Each web part also has extensive configuration options around elements such as what to display or link to, how items are sorted or filtered, and how they are displayed.  The combination of the sheer number of web parts and configuration options is one of the factors which enables SharePoint to be a highly flexible tool that can be used across multiple use cases.

What kind of SharePoint web parts are there?

There are currently around fifty SharePoint web parts that are available out of the box. These include everything from the ability to format calls to action or featuring a Power BI report to embedding a video or even a world clock. There isn’t enough space here to go into all the web parts that are available, but some of the most popular include:

  • Connectors: provides options to bring in different feeds from external services based on the connectors available.
  • Document library: displays a SharePoint document library.
  • Events: displays upcoming events with the ability to click through for more information for each event.
  • File viewer: the ability to embed a file such as a Word or PDF document to read within a page.
  • Hero: displays up to five items at the top of a page, usually on a home or landing page.
  • Highlighted content: a flexible web part that displays a dynamically generated list of content based on its type such as documents, videos or images, and other salient criteria.
  • List: displays a SharePoint list, again another very flexible way to display and manage information.
  • Microsoft Forms: embeds a Microsoft Form, and can be used for forms, polls and surveys.
  • News: displays news items with different formatting options.
  • People: displays details of a selected group of people, such as a team or key contacts, with links to individual profiles.
  • Quick links: the ability to display quick links to other pages, apps, external sites and more.
  • Yammer (Viva Engage): embed a personalised Viva Engage / Yammer feed on a page, for example to support a community.

Standard web parts and gaps in functionality

Despite the high number of web parts and the ability to configure them, in practice there are still some gaps in functionality and features that can be particularly frustrating for intranet teams and internal communicators who want to deploy a high value SharePoint intranet or site with strong adoption.

Sometimes these “gaps” relate to branding and design options around the look and feel of a web part being limited or not quite right. At other times, it might be that there simply isn’t a web part available out of the box that delivers particular functionality. For example, a popular intranet feature that is not available in SharePoint out of the box is the ability for users to add their own personal links to frequently used apps that can then be displayed on an intranet home page.

Sometimes there also might be no web part available that delivers content from a different external system or application, where there might need to be an integration, and there is no current connector.

What are custom web parts?

When there is gap in functionality, organisations have the option to deploy a custom web part. A custom web part is one that has either been custom developed from scratch or has been modified from a standard SharePoint web part. A custom web part therefore can be considered to be any web part that is not supplied by Microsoft as standard and has involved some degree of additional coding. Custom web parts are often designed to give you functionality and features that is very specifically suited to delivering a great intranet experience.

Custom web parts tend to fall into two types:

  • Those developed specifically for the needs of an individual organisation.
  • Those provided more generically by intranet software vendors that fil the gaps in SharePoint.

Here at Content Formula, we produce both types, regularly creating specific custom web parts as part of an intranet build, but also now delivering a standard set of custom web parts as part of our Lightspeed Modules service.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of custom web parts?

Custom web parts both have advantages and disadvantages. On the upside, they complement SharePoint and complete the gaps, adding value by:

  • Enabling “classic” intranet features that have been overlooked by Microsoft in SharePoint when its used straight out of the box.
  • Supporting richer options for internal communicators.
  • Delivering more engaging and flexible design options.
  • Supporting additional integrations not supported by out-of-the-box connectors that drive a more connected digital workplace experience.
  • Supporting specific business processes and automation, helping raise productivity and efficiency

The disadvantages of custom web parts include the additional cost involved. If you choose to develop your own individual custom web parts then this will involve development resources and effort; however, if you choose to purchase customised web parts that have already been developed by a vendor, they will be considerably cheaper than developing your own, following the usual rules around “buy vs build”.

The other disadvantage comes with customisation in general. Most IT functions want to limit custom development as much as possible because they create technical debt, makes upgrades harder and can require ongoing management. However, buying additional custom web parts from a vendor that are completely managed removes this issue.

Xoralia policy management software
Find out more about Lightspeed modules


How Lightspeed Modules adds most of the web parts you need

Content Formula’s Lightspeed Modules is a product from Content Formula that adds many of the custom web parts that you need for your intranet, effectively extending the value of SharePoint, and filling many of the gaps in functionality.  Lightspeed’s web parts are based on the work we’ve done across hundreds of projects over the years. These are easily added to your tenant and can then be added by your content editors just like all the other standard SharePoint web parts

Because intranet and internal communication teams now have a more complete set of web parts to support a SharePoint Online intranet, it can prove to be highly cost effective, because it reduces the need to purchase a more expensive “in-a-box”  intranet solution.

Examples of some of the most popular Lightspeed web parts include:

  • A page tour, highlighting key intranet features for new staff.
  • Branding customiser, extending branding and theming options for SharePoint.
  • Share price, allowing teams to embed a stock price on the homepage.
  • App launcher, allowing users to personalise their own links to apps.
  • Tabs, allowing multiple web parts to be displayed in a tabbing format to save page real-estate.
  • Table of content to appear at the top of a page to support findability for long-read content.
  • Site provisioning, to embed the provisioning process for different Microsoft collaboration sites including Teams.
  • External social feeds from different sources.
  • Floating search, providing the ability to add a contextual search anywhere on a page.
  • Feedback, allowing structured feedback on the intranet and its content from any page.
  • Welcome bar, for personalised welcome messages to users to create a more engaging experience.
  • Noticeboard, for employee classified adverts and notices.
  • And more!

Want to know more about web parts? Get in touch!

Web parts are one of the elements that make SharePoint such a valuable and flexible platform. If you want to know more about using web parts, or want more information on our Lightspeed Modules offering, then get in touch!

Find out more about using SharePoint webparts for your organisation...

Request a call back with one of our SharePoint experts, for a free consultation about your business.

Get in touch to discuss your project

How to migrate from Slack to Microsoft Teams

Over the past three years the growth in adoption of Microsoft Teams has been remarkable. From what originally seemed designed to be a rival to Slack, Teams has gone from strength to strength and is now at the centre of the plans of many digital workplace teams.

When digital workplace teams launch Microsoft Teams through an organisation, it usually replaces a myriad of local collaboration and communication tools and applications that are used within different divisions, department and locations.

Having one enterprise-wide platform drives efficiency, reduces costs, opens up opportunities to introduce further capabilities and ensures everyone can communicate with each other. But old habits die hard and it’s not unusual for some parts of the business to keep on using a different tool. In particular, Slack is frequently used by IT and technology functions as their communication platform of choice.

While Slack can co-exist happily with Teams, it’s less than ideal, and often digital workplace teams find themselves having to plan an additional migration of Slack from Teams. In this post we’re going to explore some of the things you need to think about in planning a Slack to Teams migration.


What is Slack?

Slack is a messaging, communication and collaboration platform that is currently owned by Salesforce. It was launched back in 2013 and has considerable overlap with Teams functionality, including workspaces, discussions in different channels, instant messaging, video calls, document sharing, integrations and more.

In its earlier days, Slack was one of the solutions that seemed to act as a catalyst for Microsoft to develop Microsoft Teams. Although it is still a very popular solution – particularly in technology companies – many suggest that Slack is not as popular as it used to be, as solutions like Teams have taken market share.

Planning a migration from Slack to Microsoft Teams

If you’re planning a Slack to Teams migration project, there are a number of elements to consider.


1. Check out your licensing

Slack is available as a freemium model, but also has licenses in different pricing bands. The licensing arrangements you have with Slack and Teams is an important starting point for planning any migration. While you will need to have any necessary Teams licensing in place, the flexibility that you have when to end your Slack licensing may dictate the timing of your transition.

We’d suggest that its usually important to have sufficient overlap when both Teams and Slack are available to help employees get used to the change, refer to any important content, carry out any regulatory requirements and so on.

If you’re paying for Slack on a monthly basis, this usually provides you with more flexibility around the timing. Note that it is quite possible you have more than one instance of Slack operating through your business.


2. Plan for adoption and change management

From the outset it’s important to view your migration project as being primarily about people rather then technology. Migrating from Slack to Teams is about employees changing their behaviours and you need to consider your approach to change management and adoption, covering the period leading up to the change, the actual launch and then beyond.

At Content Formula we use the ADKAR model which is a comprehensive and popular change management model that helps to capture both hearts and minds, and really embeds behavioural change. Inevitably your change management efforts will need to take in more than just writing a few change communications, and will involve training, support and change champions.


3. Establish your timetable and work with local business leaders

There are multiple aspects that will dictate the timing and approach for your migration, including licensing arrangements, resourcing, change management plans and any other initiatives that are going on at the time.

If you are migrating a particular group within the business then it’s important to consider their needs and get input and buy-in from leaders within that group, who should agree to your approach and timetable. Not only will they be essential for your change management but they may also advise in the timing – planning a migration of a sales function at the peak season of an annual sales cycle would not be optimal, for example…


4. Map your workspaces and channels

Like Teams, Slack has different channels on different themes, which people will be a member of. In the enterprise product there also fully-fledged workspaces with multiple channels within each. In Teams it’s very likely you’ll want to have an approximation of the different channels and reproduce these.

Depending on how it is used and who the members are, an existing Slack workspace may equate to a whole new Teams space, and a Slack channel may equate to to a channel within a Teams space. However, it is also possible that a channel might work better as a whole new Teams space in its own right. There is no right or wrong approach, but for example if an IT function is using Slack and has seven different channels, it might that in Teams there is a new IT function Teams space that repeats the same seven different channels. However, it might be that a channel might be served by an existing Teams that has already been set up.

While you want to try and map your Slack workspaces and channels to Teams and channels to map continuity, your migration is also a great opportunity to streamline and optimise channels. If you have six Slack channels that didn’t really get used, then you may not want to recreate these within Teams. Again, the best approach is to carry out an audit of the workspaces and channels that are being used and then work with local stakeholders to plan how these will look in Teams.


5. Map your documents

Like Teams, Slack may also have some key documents that need to be referred to, some of which will be part of an existing channel. Again, these may need to be taken over into the new environment. This should be reasonably straightforward and can be even be automated if required, although an approach which assesses their value before posting into Teams will help to optimise your migration.


6. Work out if you need any technical migration

A key decision point in your migration from Slack to Teams is to decide whether you need to carry out a technical migration of any previous conversations or documents. The elements that will influence decision are business value, compliance, cost and the ease of carrying it out. For example, do people need to refer to old Slack conversations? Do employees need access to these for compliance purposes?

There are different options for a technical migration, including working with a partner like Content Formula. There are also different export tools available – both paid-for, but also community-driven and available on GitHub, although these always come with a risk. Microsoft Learn has a handy article about migrating from Slack to Teams that lists some of the options, as well a thes in and outs of migrating apps, channels, direct messages, users and workspaces. Generally, it is certainly possible to migrate channel discussions and documents, but there are some dependencies relating to GDPR around migrating direct messages, for example…


7. Work out what you need to keep from a compliance angle

A critical element in offboarding Slack is what data and records you need to keep from a compliance angle. This might not necessarily mean that users have to be able to access previous conversations within Teams l you may just need be carrying out an export of the data for compliance reasons. The article from Microsoft already mentioned contains some information about exports, but again you may need to involve a partner or discuss options with your contact at Slack.


8. Consider any apps and integrations

Like Teams, Slack also has plenty of apps and integrations, available out of the box but also which may be custom made. For some functions, these integrations may have real value; for example, for IT departments an integration with Jira may be essential for relevant discussions.

If functions are particularly dependent on an integration, recreating this within Teams either using existing connectors or creating a custom integration will add value and support adoption. At Content Formula we often help businesses get the best out of Microsoft Teams with specific integrations.


Need advice? Get in touch.

Migrating from Slack to Teams is not always easy and can be a bumpy ride, but with the right planning and approaches it can be highly successful. If you need help planning your Slack to Teams migration, then get in touch!

Find out more about our Microsoft 365 and development services...

Request a call back with one of our Microsoft certified developers, for a free consultation about your business.

Get in touch to discuss your project

Yammer is rebranding to Viva Engage: what does this mean for digital workplace teams?

On February 13th Microsoft announced that Yammer was rebranding to Viva Engage, and would now be part of the Microsoft Viva employee experience platform.. This follows last year’s announcement and launch oo the Viva Engage app that was effectively a rebranding of the Yammer Communities app for Microsoft Teams. At the time this caused some confusion in the marketplace, and some speculated that a rebrand of the whole of Yammer was on the cards. That day has now come and the recent announcement is not a massive surprise. In this post we’re going to look at what the rebranding means and also some of the other things in store for Viva Engage.

What did the announcement say?

Yammer has been a core part of Microsoft 365 and the M365 digital workplace for quite a long time now. Originally founded in 2008, the solution was acquired by Microsoft in 2012 for $1.2 billion USD and has subsequently been adopted in many organisations. For some, this adoption has been patchy, but for others it’s been a significant success, helping drive communities, engagement and knowledge-sharing.

One of the strengths of Yammer is the easy ability to embed it in a SharePoint intranet via a couple of web parts straight out of the box, and it’s a still a great choice for managing communities across the enterprise. It frequently does the job better than Microsoft Teams, which is better suited to project- and team-level collaboration.

The actual announcement from Microsoft is keen to stress that this is very much a rebrand. The Yammer platform is not going away, it’s just changing its name, and Microsoft confirms that  “outside of branding changes, there are no changes to the features, capabilities and investments for Microsoft 365 customers” and that customers will “continue to experience and benefit from the power of Viva Engage, just as you did with Yammer, with no loss of continuity.” Microsoft is also stressing some new features that will be launching soon, to show that it is continuing to invest in the platform.

What does the rebrand mean?

Although Microsoft stresses continuity, this still represents a significant evolution of Yammer and a major step in the Yammer and Microsoft Viva story. Let’s explore what the rebrand means both in wider terms but also specifically for digital workplace teams.

  1. It reduces confusion

When the Yammer Communities app was rebranded to Viva Engage, it effectively meant that there was dual branding of essentially the same product, a move which left many scratching their heads, and also a job for digital workplace teams trying to explain the logic behind the move to stakeholders and end users. At least with the whole of Yammer rebranding, it effectively reduces some of the confusion in the marketplace, and is an easier message to convey internally.

Microsoft acknowledge that the dual brand has caused some complications, saying that “we’ve heard your feedback that having two apps surfacing similar experiences and the same services and content has introduced confusion and made it challenging to drive adoption and create clarity for end users.”

  1. It elevates the Microsoft Viva brand

Microsoft Viva was launched in early 2021 and although it is now two years old, it is still not necessarily a prevalent brand within the digital workplace. Although end users will be aware of Viva due the to the email summaries they receive, to date much of Viva adoption has been around Viva Connections with some organisations choosing not to adopt the “paid for” apps. We think that the rebranding of Yammer to Viva Engage will make the Viva brand much more visible to end users and to stakeholders. It also brings Microsoft Viva out of just being experienced through Microsoft Teams, where to date most of the Viva experiences have been delivered as Teams apps.

  1. It helps highlight recent changes including Storylines and Stories

When there is a rebrand, it often necessitates communications out to stakeholders and users, but also focuses fresh attention on the features in a platform.  Yammer / Viva Engage has actually had some investment recently with some new features that make the platform much more of a social network akin to Workplace from Meta, for example. We think the rebrand is a good opportunity to draw attention to these new elements.  

Storylines and Stories were introduced in late 2022. Storylines allow individuals to post as an individual with people following them, a model that works well for senior leaders and management. This fundamentally moves Viva Engage away from being just centred around groups and communities, to also one centred around the individual. Meanwhile Stories are short videos or photos which are added to a person’s Storyline and take some inspiration from Instagram and TikTok. The rebrand will help highlight these new useful features.  

  1. Teams will need to notify users

Inevitably there will need to be some kind of change management or communication effort to explain the rebrand to end users. For busy digital workplace teams, this may be an unwelcome additional task, although it is an opportunity to reiterate the value of the features within Viva Engage. Microsoft has provided a useful timetable of when the main changes to the various apps and overall platform are taking place, and is also providing in-app or in-platform messages to inform end users about the rebrand.

  1. Say hello to premium experiences

Yammer was previously bundled into Microsoft 365 subscriptions, and that’s also the case with Viva Engage. However, the rebrand is also an opportunity to introduce a range of premium features within Viva Engage that are on their way in 2023 and help with a range of different areas including leadership communications; arguably these paid-for features are easier to position under the Viva brand where there is already a contrast between what is available within a Microsoft 365 license, and what comes at an additional price as part of a general Viva subscription.

Among the new features available within Viva Engage but only for Viva subscriptions are:

  • Leadership Corner for employees: a place for leaders to engage with employees through discussions and content.
  • Ask Me Anything (AMA) Events: a template for running an AMA event with a leader or senior manager via Viva Engage.
  • Social Media campaigns: support for internal communicators to run campaigns that interface with Leadership Corner and use Viva Engages
  • Advanced analytics: a series of dashboards that provide more detailed Viva Engage analytics covering campaigns, audience engagement and more.
  • Answers in Viva: a social Q&A feature that is also integrated with Viva Topics.


  1. Expect more integration between different Viva apps

One direction of travel for the Microsoft Viva platform is to that it will start to become more integrated as different Viva apps work together, including Viva Engage. In particular the new premium features in Viva Engage that are available to general Viva license holders are also becoming more intertwined with other Viva offerings; for example, Answers in Viva is available as part of Viva Topics and Viva Engage. Some of the new features are also likely to overlap with parts of Viva Amplify, a new Viva app to be launched later in 2023 aimed at internal communicators.

  1. Viva Engage is here to stay

Over the years there has always been a little bit of a question about Yammer which seemed to lack active investment from Microsoft, although this has changed in the past two years. However, the rebrand to Viva Engage and the new features show that Viva Engage is very much part of Microsoft’s long-term plans, something which is to be welcomed.

Goodbye Yammer, hello Viva Engage

Yammer is being rebranded to Viva Engage and it’s a good opportunity to remind users about the features within the platform and how it can be used. We expect Viva Engage to add value across the digital workplace for the foreseeable future.

If you’d to discuss the rebrand or how your digital workplace can benefit from Microsoft Viva and Viva Engage, then get in touch!


Webinar: Reaching a hybrid work force with an employee app

About the webinar:

During this webinar we looked at how to effectively bridge the gap in your companies Microsoft 365 communication system by using an employee app to reach frontline and external users, keeping the entire work force connected, engaged and productive.

Many organisations use communication systems such as Microsoft 365 to reach their employees with important updates. Whilst these platforms are generally successful at connecting with employees, some organisations still face challenges when reaching a full hybrid workforce.

This is typically for one of three reasons:

Not all employees have a Microsoft 365 licence or access to the platform
When an organisation has more than one Microsoft 365 tenant environment (often due to acquisitions or mergers)
Some field-workers struggle to access and use the platforms on mobile devices

In this webinar we explore the solutions to all these problems.

Watch the webinar:

Play Video

What you will learn in this webinar:

In this 60 minute workshop our expert panel provide solutions to all your employee communication issues and cover:

• The different types of employee apps available, and the features and functionality each of them offer.

• How employee apps can help increase employee communication, productivity, company engagement, and improve the overall employee experience within your organisation.

• How to best use employee apps to successfully reach and communicate with all you employees, whether they work in an office, remotely or are field-based.

The panel

Alex Yeoman
Content Formula - Sales Manager

Alex has experience in running and triaging support at Content Formula across multiple clients and solutions such as intranets, learning management systems and custom solutions. He works with new clients, understanding challenges and objectives and recommending solutions

John Scott
Content Formula - UX Director

John has worked across both design and technical disciplines - a rare combination that allow him to build a bridge between the user experience and technical teams. This means that feasibility, usability, delivery and ease of maintenance are baked-into all of our solutions.

Lars Nielsen
Livetiles - Sales Manager

Lars has been working with LiveTiles for the past 6 years and been involved in a large amount of enterprise class digital workplace projects based on M365 SharePoint, MS Teams and the Reach frontline worker app. Prior to joining LiveTiles, lars held corporate management positions in the software industry in the EMEA region and before that also spend years in Silicon Valley (US).

Dan Hawtrey

Dan Hawtrey - Managing Director

Dan has worked on intranets since 1997 as an intranet and knowledge manager at Johnson & Johnson. He moved from the client side in 2005 and founded CF - the first intranet consultancy in the UK.

Dan is an intranet thought leader and blogs and speaks publicly on a regular basis. Dan gets involved with all projects and provides clients with strategic advice to ensure their intranets launch successfully, are widely adopted by users and have a high return on investment.

Phone: +44 (0)20 4534 3460

Email: [email protected]

Linkedin Profile

Olga Sherbakova

Olga Sherbakova - Operations Director

Olga works tirelessly - often behind the scenes - to ensure projects run smoothly, risks are anticipated and mitigated, and clients feel that their projects are in safe hands!

She drives rigour in all aspects of our business and regularly stress-tests our documentation and project controls. It’s because of her that we are an efficient, well-run agency. Her background in IT project management and business analysis means she also works client-facing as a Project Manager and gets closely involved in discovery phases.

Phone: +44 (0)20 4534 3460

Email: [email protected]

Linkedin Profile

Joe Perry

Joe Perry: Technical Director

Joe oversees the technical delivery of all our projects. He works closely with our UX consultants and clients to understand requirements and design appropriate technical solutions.

He has over 11 years development experience with the last 6 years as a full-stack Microsoft developer. He is also a strong JavaScript developer and uses his knowledge to guide our developers in creating slick user interfaces.

Phone: +44 (0)20 4534 3460

Email: [email protected]

Linkedin Profile

John Scott

John Scott: UX Director

John joined CF in 2006 and worked his way up the ranks. He brings a deep knowledge of SharePoint intranets matched with a natural flair for user experience design.

He has worked across both design and technical disciplines - a rare combination that allow him to build a bridge between the user experience and technical teams. This means that feasibility, usability, delivery and ease of maintenance are baked-into all of our solutions.

Phone: +44 (0)20 4534 3460

Email: [email protected]

Linkedin Profile

Viva Engage, Viva Goals, Viva Sales: what are the new Microsoft Viva modules?

Since the launch of Microsoft Viva in early 2021, Microsoft has continued to invest in its employee experience platform, by adding new features, connectors and capabilities to the existing four modules – Viva Connections, Viva Learning, Viva Insights and Viva Topics.

But in recent weeks the expansion of the platform and the Microsoft Viva brand has quickened with the announcement of three new modules: Viva Goals, Viva Results and Viva Engage.

In this post we’re going to explore the three new Viva modules, what they do and the value that they could bring to businesses.

What is Microsoft Viva?

Microsoft Viva as an employee experience platform that is delivered through Microsoft Teams. Initially four modules were announced, all of which have since launched. Even though Viva is positioned as a platform, it is arguably a series of separate apps within the Teams platform:

Viva ConnectionsViva Connections: A gateway to internal communications and company resources

Viva InsightsViva Insights: Personalised analytics and related insights for individuals, managers and leaders that support well-being, collaboration, productivity and more

Viva LearningViva Learning: A learning hub that aggregates learning resources from a variety of different systems and sources

Viva TopicsViva Topics: A knowledge discovery platform that uses AI to source resources and experts on different topics.

Microsoft Viva has had huge interest from intranet, digital workplace and Microsoft 365 teams, who are actively deploying one or more of its modules across the digital workplace.

Let’s explore the opportunities the three recently announced modules bring.

Viva Goals

Although Viva Goals was only formally announced in May 2022, it’s been on the roadmap for considerably longer, and is a direct result of Microsoft’s acquisition of, a leading provider of Objectives and Key Results (OKR) software. OKR software helps organisations, teams and individuals to set meaningful goals and then record progress towards meeting them; it is a good way to give strategic context to employee’s daily work, for example.

The Viva Goals module brings the core OKR functionality from the solution into Microsoft Teams, and presents an interesting option for organisations either using existing OKR software, or wanting to introduce it. Using Viva Goals will bring OKRs more directly into the flow of work in organisations and departments that use Microsoft Teams.

Viva Goals has several different options including:

    • OKRs available at the individual, team and organisational level
    • The ability to align OKRs with projects and tasks, with some integrations with applications like Jira
    • The ability to build custom dashboards to show OKR progress that can then be shared to help discussions, for example about progress of projects
    • Embed OKRs into Teams discussion threads.

Viva Goals will be made fully available in Q3 2022, and will be added as an option for those who have subscribed to the full Viva suite. It will also likely be available on a separate subscription. We can see Viva Goals really adding value in some organisations, and complementing other Viva modules, including Viva Learning

Viva Sales

Viva Sales was announced in June and represents a slight departure from the rest of the suite, in that it is positioned as a “seller experience application” rather than being applicable for all employees.

Viva Sales provides a range of tools to help anyone involved in sales processes. These include using AI to facilitate the capture of client and sales data that might arise from interactions in Teams and Outlook which will automatically be entered into a CRM system, reducing or even eliminating manual entry.

Although this will undoubtedly include Microsoft Dynamics, the use of the generic CRM term in the announcement hints that there may well be connectors to other popular CRM systems.

Although the details are still vague, other features of Viva Sales will include:

  • Surfacing data from an organisation’s CRM system in Outlook and Teams, to provide context to communications and conversations with and about customers and prospects
  • Providing various insight and suggestions using AI, relating to sales conversations, interaction and activity
  • AI-driven analysis of sales calls and meetings providing actions lists, analysis of performance and even sentiment analysis.’

Although the full details of Viva Sales have still to come out and the module won’t be released until Q4 2022, we see lots of potential with Viva Sales.

CRM systems often do not get populated as much as they should do and can be disconnected from communication channels; we can see this working particularly well where non-sales staff are responsible for client relationships and even selling, and would benefit in having more visibility of CRM data. The AI-powered insights also sound intriguing.

Viva Engage

The latest module to be announced is Viva Engage, revealed in a recent post on the Microsoft Viva blog and announced at the Microsoft Inspire event. Viva Engage is positioned as being “designed to help people and teams to be their best..[and] give leaders a new way to shape culture at their organization by unlocking communication and engagement opportunities for everyone”.

However, Viva Engage is not actually new and is, to some extent, another re-branding exercise from Microsoft. It’s essentially a newly designed Yammer Communities app for Microsoft Teams that will replace the existing app and adds some new features on top of the existing Yammer platform. This brings the Yammer experience more directly into Teams, and again has real value in organisations where Teams adoption is high.

The key new element is a feature where people can create “storylines” using traditional posts, or photos and videos (now rebranded as “stories”), similar to some consumer social media platforms. Stories will appear in a carousel format at the top of a storylines tab..

Viva Engage will be free for anybody who has an existing license that covers Yammer. The Communities app will be rebranded in late August.”

The announcement of Viva Engage has led some to initial confusion. In the threads to the original announcement and articles, some have said that trying to differentiate between Viva Engage and Yammer is confusing to explain to users, essentially as Engage is essentially a Yammer app. Others have asked what it means for the future of Yammer.

Defending the announcement Steve Nguynen confirmed that there is no plan to rebrand Yammer and that the “best way to think about this announcement is that Yammer is going to power the Viva Engage experience… and the beginning of us bringing Yammer more closely to our Viva suite of products.”

While we like the new storylines features, we agree that the positioning of Viva Engage in relation to Yammer is a little confusing as they are essentially the same product. We’d also like to see the Storylines feature added to the general Yammer platform to keep everything in sync.

Keep on moving forward with Viva

Microsoft keeps on investing in Viva and the three new modules extend the scope of what it can do. We wouldn’t be surprised if more modules were announced through the year.

If you’d like to discuss how you can use Microsoft Viva in your organisation or want to explore the potential of the newly announced modules, then get in touch!

We use cookies to give you the best experience on our site. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find more about the cookies, please see our Privacy Policy