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Microsoft 365 customer questions – Viva Connections

I’ve decided, while I work in the business of dealing with customers questions on Microsoft 365 all the time (disclosure), either directly or indirectly, I might as well share them if they can be of help to others. Where I can of course and naturally, not just the questions but the answers too. All questions and answers respect both sides sensitivities (some parts have been redacted) and the topic is covered in the post title. Answers in grey background starting with initial questions

Q I heard something interesting about Viva Connections, saying that it can put together different HR tools into 1 dashboard (at least if I understood correctly😊). The situation at … is that I have to go to 1 website for salary, another one for holidays, another one for meal vouchers, another one for global benefits, etc. It is not very user friendly. Could Viva Connections bring all these apps together in 1 personalized dashboard for our users?

A Yes you have pretty much summarised the functions of the Dashboard tool in Viva Connections and all you ask for is possible. Here is a really good video explaining the detail of how it’s done: 

Q Thanks for the feedback. I watched the video. From what I could understand, this Viva Connections dashboard is about collecting website info, for which we already have our Intranet. I’m more looking for a solution that gives our users an overview of private HR information that is now on different websites (and only accessible after entering account and password, either AD or separate account). Based on the video, I couldn’t grasp if Viva connections is really designed for that.

A Yes I did understand that and there is mention in the video of the ability to create links to third party systems through the creation of cards. But that is all they will be using just the basic functionality described. So a user might see a card in the Dashboard with a link to an HR system that is outside of SharePoint, Teams and the Dashboard. The authentication after the user clicks through will depend on what you have arranged for that 3rd party HR tool. If the HR system was based on modern SharePoint sites in any way, then more dynamic content could be brought into the card as I understand it. Possibly with custom work on the back end, this is possible too for 3rd party tools, but I would need to confirm that.

Q Quick links to these HR systems (not based on SharePoint), we already have on our Intranet. That area is covered. If there is any chance that we could connect to 3rd party tools to show the details of these HR apps in the dashboard, that would be great. If not, do you think there is any other Microsoft solution that could bring this dashboard?

A 1. Yes, you can bring in 3rd party integrations into the Dashboard.  At Inspire we announced, and briefly demoed some prototypes, of cards from Workday, ServiceNow, Qualtrics, and about 23 other 3rd party partners.
These cards can be dynamic, for example the Workday example showed different cards that showed the next company holiday, or upcoming info (birthdays and time off) for a manager about there team, or when that encouraged you to log you time off.  Similarly the ServiceNow card showed the number of pending items you had.
Each one of these cards clicked to a quick view that pulls real time information from the underlying 3rd party system and renders it and allows action, in the dashboard card.
You can change the image, the text, or the header of the card dynamically. Everything these third parties are doing can be done by anyone, including internal corporate developers wiring them up to internally built systems.

A 2. I have more for you on all those third party partners in addition to those named three from the last message. Just in case you need to check the list with your systems. The announcement blog covers some: Viva Connections welcomes new partners and opens developer preview.  To be clear, the 26 is Viva partners all up.  Connections specific partners at this moment are 15. Why the split?  Viva partners can’t build for every module all at once so we worked with them to target a specific module first based on most impact to their business.  Most are on Connections, the balance are mostly learning partners that targeted Viva Learning.  Those learning partners will pivot fast to Connections as soon as they finish their learning integration work. The full list is at Build custom apps for Microsoft Viva. We have others coming too. 

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