On October 1, 2021, Microsoft replaced Workplace Analytics with Viva Insights as part of an all-new employee experience platform rebranded as Microsoft Viva. Viva Insights is a powerful tool that seamlessly integrates with Microsoft 365 apps, giving users eye-opening and actionable insights into work organization and data-driven recommendations to help improve managed IT productivity and wellbeing. 

Let’s take a deep dive into Viva Insights to understand what it is, how it works, and its role in the modern digitally-augmented workplace: 

What Is Viva Insights?

Viva Insights is one of the four core modules making up the larger Microsoft Viva platform. The other three are: 

  1. Viva Topics: Creates an internal knowledge base for the organization. 
  1. Viva Connections: Focuses on boosting employee engagements and collaborations. 
  1. Viva Learning: Serves as a central learning hub where employees and managers can discover and build new ideas and skills. 

Viva Insights is a work analytics tool designed to improve employee productivity while preserving their well-being through a healthy work-life balance. It helps business leaders, managers, and individual employees develop and stick to healthier and more efficient work habits. Viva Insights achieves this by gathering, deidentifying end users account information and analyzing data across the entire Microsoft 365 platform to draw work patterns and other user behaviours. An AI engine then processes this data into informative and actionable insights delivered to the user as reminders, recommendations, and stats. 

The Genesis of Viva Insights

Viva Insights traces its roots back to Microsoft Workplace Analytics and MyAnalytics, seeking to evolve the narrative surrounding workplace productivity and wellbeing. Embarked upon with the mission to empower individuals and teams with actionable insights, the tool is designed to foster a culture of balance and purposeful work. It’s not just about ‘what’ work gets done, but ‘how’ it’s achieved—without sacrificing the sanctity of work-life equilibrium.

Viva Insights’ key features

Viva Insights is a feature-rich platform with several functions for maintaining a healthy and productive workplace. Here’s a list of its main features: 

Feature Description
Advanced Insights and Analysis Accelerators Provides detailed, data-driven insights and recommendations to optimize productivity and well-being.
Dynamic Recommendations Offers personalized suggestions based on individual work patterns to improve work habits and efficiency.
Integration with Microsoft 365 Seamlessly integrates with existing Microsoft 365 apps, leveraging data from tools like Outlook, Teams, and OneDrive.
Third-party Collaboration Tools Integration Supports integration with various third-party tools to enhance collaborative efforts and streamline workflows.
Business, Collaboration, and HR Management Templates Provides ready-to-use templates for managing business processes, team collaboration, and HR activities.
Data Extensibility Allows customization and extension of data analysis capabilities to meet specific organizational needs.
Daily Briefing Email Sends a daily email summarizing key tasks, priorities, and recommendations to help users stay organized.
Monthly Digest Email Provides a monthly overview of work patterns, productivity trends, and well-being metrics.
Personal Insights Dashboard A personalized dashboard that visualizes individual work patterns and provides actionable insights for better work-life balance.
Overarching Data Protection Ensures robust data protection and compliance with privacy regulations, including de-identified and aggregated data insights.
User Privacy Rights and Transparency Emphasizes transparency and control over personal data, allowing users to manage their privacy settings and data usage.
Focus Time Enables users to schedule uninterrupted blocks of time to concentrate on important tasks without distractions.
Well-being Focus Includes features such as daily wellness surveys, access to mindfulness resources, and tools to promote a healthy work-life balance.
Personal Insights Analyzes individual work habits and behaviours to provide insights on time management and productivity improvement.
Team Cohesion Tracking Monitors team interactions and engagement levels to enhance collaboration and a sense of community.
Risk Factor Identification Identifies potential risks to productivity, such as excessive meeting times or frequent interruptions, and offers solutions.
Well-being Metrics for Managers Provides managers with aggregated data on employee well-being, helping to prevent burnout and promote a healthy work environment.
Custom Analytics Tools Allows for the creation of custom reports and analytics tailored to specific business needs and objectives.
Predictive Analytics Utilizes AI to forecast future trends and behaviours, enabling proactive decision-making and planning.

Fun Fact: Amidst the silent cacophony of bustling virtual workspaces, Viva Insights stands as a beacon, guiding over 115,000 organizations worldwide in calibrating the symphony of productivity and wellbeing.

The dynamics of team interactions and networking are transmuted into digestible dashboards, offering a pragmatically clear vision of work dynamics without compromising the individual’s privacy. Privacy by design is not just embedded but emphasized, ensuring personal data stays personal, with aggregated and de-identified insights for organizational health checks.

The structure of Viva Insights

Viva Insights provides employees and organizations with a clear idea of work patterns from personal and administrative perspectives. The platform is structured to cater to two main audiences — individual employees and managerial staff. 

Viva Insights for individuals

This program provides personalized insights to help individual employees organize their work time and focus on what’s important. Employee experience management was traditionally a managerial or HR administration domain. But Viva Insights puts, in part, employee experience and satisfaction in the hands of the employee themselves. Users can work more mindfully and effectively by leveraging the following Viva Insights capabilities: 

  • Personal insights: Viva’s AI studies an individual’s work patterns and behaviour to determine how they spend their time. For instance, the system may look at the time spent on certain tasks, checking emails, and attending meetings. This information helps the user to understand their work schedules and make decisions to change or improve them. 
  • Focus time: Viva Insights enables users to block out noise and distractions for quality quiet time. This means no alerts, notifications, call requests, or meeting invites for a set period of time. 
  • Well-being focus: One of the main goals of Viva Insights is to improve employee well-being. Viva Insights has several ways of achieving this, including daily wellness surveys, access to mindfulness services and apps and work-life balancing capabilities. 
  • Recommendations: Viva Insights is also a kind of digital assistant, providing useful recommendations throughout the workday. For instance, it might recommend resources necessary for completing a particular task, time for breaks, and relevant emails in the inbox. 

Viva Insights for management and leadership

Viva Insights also provides team managers and business leaders with valuable HR information from across the organization. However, the data that managers see is different from what individuals see. Managerial insights are aggregated and de-identified, only painting a general picture of the work scene without violating anyone’s privacy. Management teams can access the following features and capabilities: 

  • Well-being factors: Viva Insights gives managers a general view of important employee well-being metrics. For instance, managers can identify early signs of work overloading and burnout, such as too many employees working after hours. Managers can then take proactive measures to prevent wellness risks based on such information. 
  • Team cohesion: Viva Insights can track engagements and communications between individuals and teams to show the organization’s internal connections and collaborations. How often team members hold meetings or connect with each other says a lot about that team’s cohesion and sense of community. 
  • Risk factors: Viva Insights helps managers identify risk factors that could jeopardize workplace productivity. For example, employees spending too much time in frequent meetings or lengthy calls could be a red flag. 

How Microsoft VIVA Insights can help your business

Viva Insights works on two levels. One, it helps employees create a favourable data-guided work environment. Two, it allows managers and business leaders visibility into HR collaborations and commitment to work. From there, individual employees, managers, and other decision-makers can finetune work habits and other work-related aspects to maximize productivity mindfully. Here is what Viva Insights can do for your organization and its HR community: 

  • Balance employee productivity and well-being. 
  • Provide data-driven pointers to foster healthier work habits. 
  • Eliminate counterproductive workplace risks (burnout, time wastage, overloading workers, etc.). 
  • Nurture a work culture based on meaningful collaborations, engagements, and teamwork. 
  • Address complex opportunities and challenges using Advanced Insights and custom analytics tools.

Viva Insights can also be extended and customized to meet the data analysis needs of your business with a multitude of scenarios that benefit specific organizational needs. HRIS data, including employee surveys, organizational data and additional sets may be mapped and incorporated to provide custom insights that identify your target audience workforce habits thus enabling executives the ability to make data driven decisions on a go forward basis.

Setting Up Viva Insights

Pre-Deployment Considerations

The foundation for effectively leveraging Viva Insights begins even before technology comes into play. Organizations must delineate their objectives, pinpointing what success with Viva Insights looks like to them. Whether it’s amplifying engagement, elevating productivity, or curtailing burnout, the goals set the stage for how Viva Insights will be rolled out and utilized.

Deployment Strategies

A strategic deployment plan is crucial for the seamless introduction of Viva Insights within an organization. Beginning with the acquisition of the correct licensing, to the delineation and configuration of roles and permissions within the platform, every step should be meticulously planned and executed.

Key Takeaway: The integration of Viva Insights should not merely be perceived as deploying software but as seeding a transformative cultural change within the organization.

Viva Insights Setup Checklist

Task Description Responsible Party Completion Status
Pre-Deployment Planning
Define Objectives Identify the goals and success metrics for implementing Viva Insights. Leadership, IT, HR [ ]
Assess Current IT Infrastructure Review existing IT systems and software for compatibility with Viva Insights. IT Department [ ]
Establish Privacy and Compliance Policies Ensure compliance with data privacy regulations and establish internal privacy policies. Legal, Compliance, IT [ ]
Secure Budget and Licensing Allocate budget and acquire necessary licenses for Viva Insights and Microsoft 365. Finance, IT [ ]
Deployment Planning
Develop Deployment Strategy Create a detailed plan outlining the deployment process, roles, and timelines. IT, Project Management [ ]
Configure Roles and Permissions Set up roles and permissions within Viva Insights to control data access and functionality. IT Department [ ]
Prepare Communication Plan Develop a communication strategy to inform employees about the upcoming changes and benefits of Viva Insights. HR, Communications [ ]
Technical Setup
Install Viva Insights Follow the technical installation steps to integrate Viva Insights with Microsoft 365. IT Department [ ]
Configure Data Sources Connect relevant data sources from Microsoft 365 and other third-party tools. IT Department [ ]
Set Up Data Privacy Controls Implement data privacy settings to ensure compliance with established policies. IT Department [ ]
Training and Support
Develop Training Materials Create comprehensive training resources for employees and managers. HR, Training Department [ ]
Schedule Training Sessions Organize training sessions to educate users on how to utilize Viva Insights effectively. HR, Training Department [ ]
Establish Support Channels Set up support channels (helpdesk, FAQs, user guides) for ongoing assistance. IT, HR [ ]
Pilot Testing
Conduct Pilot Test Run a pilot test with a small group of users to identify any issues and gather feedback. IT, Selected Users [ ]
Collect and Analyze Feedback Gather feedback from pilot users and make necessary adjustments. IT, HR [ ]
Full Deployment
Roll Out Viva Insights Deploy Viva Insights to the entire organization based on the deployment plan. IT Department [ ]
Monitor Deployment Continuously monitor the deployment process to ensure smooth implementation. IT, Project Management [ ]
Post-Deployment Review
Gather User Feedback Collect feedback from users about their experience with Viva Insights. HR, Communications [ ]
Analyze Performance Metrics Review performance metrics against predefined success criteria. IT, Leadership [ ]
Implement Continuous Improvement Strategies Develop and execute plans for continuous improvement based on feedback and performance analysis. IT, HR, Leadership [ ]
Ongoing Maintenance
Schedule Regular Updates Plan and implement regular updates and maintenance for Viva Insights. IT Department [ ]
Provide Ongoing Training Offer continuous training and development sessions to keep users updated on new features. HR, Training Department [ ]
Review and Adjust Privacy Settings Periodically review privacy settings to ensure ongoing compliance with regulations and policies. Legal, Compliance, IT [ ]

Deploying Viva Insights involves technical acumen, certain understanding of your existing IT infrastructure, and a clear communication plan to introduce the platform to the workforce. Training and support mechanisms are pivotal in this stage to ensure that the transition is as smooth and impactful as possible.

Viva Insights pricing

Viva Insights is free for personal insights since it is included in all license subscriptions, E3 and above. However, you’ll need an additional license to purchase Viva Insights for managers and leaders and Advanced Insights. These prerequisites are Microsoft 365 or Office 365 E1/A1/G1/E3/A3/G3/E5/A5/G5, Exchange Online Plan 1 or Plan 2, or Microsoft 365 Business Premium/Standard/Basic licenses. Any of these licenses makes you eligible to purchase Viva Insights at CAD 5.40/user/month. 

Strategies for Effective Use of Viva Insights

Encouraging Employee Engagement

An engrossed and connected workforce is the lifeblood of any flourishing organization. By leveraging Viva Insights, leaders can unearth data-driven strategies to heighten employee engagement. It begins with identifying the channels and practices that contribute positively to employee sentiment and utilizing those insights to craft initiatives that resonate with the workforce. Whether it’s modifying collaboration hours to reduce after-hours work or aligning team meetings to maximize collective productivity, Viva Insights equips you with the data to make informed decisions.

Enhancing Collaboration and Communication

The successful orchestration of team dynamics hinges on the quality of collaboration and communication. Viva Insights reveals the ebbs and flows of collaborative efforts within an organization, accommodating the design of interventions to streamline communication. By assessing metrics on meeting quality and email effectiveness, leaders can introduce programs to foster meaningful interactions that propel efficiency—a salient feature in the dynamic of remote or hybrid work models.

Best Practices for Personal Wellbeing Insights

The narratives of work-life harmony and personal wellbeing are paramount in the discourse about modern employment. Viva Insights offers personalized insights that prompt individuals to take actionable steps towards mindfulness and self-care. Ensuring regular breaks, suggesting focus times, and nipping burgeoning burnout in the bud are a handful of best practices germinated from the seeds of wellbeing insights provided by Viva Insights.

Fun Fact: Did you know that employees who take regular breaks and detach from work outside of office hours exhibit up to 23% better stress recovery, according to Microsoft’s own research?

These best practices aren’t just recommendations—they are the ingredients for crafting a resilient and thriving workforce, cemented by the data and insights rendered by Viva Insights.

Analyzing Data with Viva Insights

Comprehensive Guide to Metrics and Analytics

Navigating the spectrum of metrics and analytics provided by Viva Insights is akin to mastering a new language—the language of your organization’s health and efficacy. Understanding the nuances between different metrics, such as collaboration hours, focus time, and network breadth, offers a panoramic view of the workplace. It is this meticulous understanding that enables the translation of raw data into strategic actions aimed at bolstering productivity and fostering a healthful work environment.

Using Insights to Drive Decision Making

For the cogent leader, insights serve as the compass for decision-making; numbers and trends translate into policies and practices. With Viva Insights, every byte of data has the potential to influence narratives around workforce planning, managerial training, and resource allocation, ensuring that every decision made is grounded in empirical evidence.

Popular Quote: “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” — William Bruce Cameron

In the context of Viva Insights, this adage is nuanced; while all data is valuable, discerning that which is critical for your organization’s unique blueprint is where true acumen lies.

Predictive Analytics and Actionable Insights

The future of business pivots on the axis of anticipation—predictive analytics is the vanguard of this domain. Viva Insights offers a portal into what could lie ahead, based on prevailing patterns and behaviors. This foresight enables organizations to be proactive rather than reactive, charting courses that prevent potential pitfalls and capitalize on opportunities that spark innovation and growth.

Key Takeaway: Predictive analytics in Viva Insights isn’t just about foretelling the future; it’s about crafting it with informed confidence, one insight at a time.

By analyzing the tracks left in the sands of data, Viva Insights not only provides a reflection of the present but illuminates the paths to a more prosperous and balanced workplace future.

Overcoming Common Challenges

Addressing Privacy Concerns

The digital era has amplified concerns about individual privacy, an obstacle also confronted by tools like Viva Insights. To allay apprehensions, Microsoft has infused Viva Insights with robust privacy controls, ensuring that employee data is handled respectfully, and in alignment with privacy laws and organizational policies. It’s vital for employers to communicate these safeguards clearly and continuously to the workforce to maintain trust and foster a culture of transparency.

Insight: Despite the wealth of data Viva Insights processes, it upholds Microsoft’s strong commitment to privacy, allowing for individual transparency and control.

Simplifying Complex Data Interpretation

Data can either be a stalwart guide or an overwhelming tide. One of the core challenges with extensive analytics platforms like Viva Insights is sifting through the vast sea of data to discern actionable insights. Simplification comes through education and familiarity. By standardizing key metrics and tailoring dashboards to display pertinent information, organizations can democratize data comprehension, allowing stakeholders at all levels to make meaning from metrics.

Integrating Viva Insights with Existing Tools

Another frequent challenge is ensuring Viva Insights harmonizes with the existing suite of tools and workflows within an organization. Seamless integration requires not only technical finesse but also strategic planning to support cross-functional data flow and utility. Understanding API capabilities and leveraging connectors means that Viva Insights can act as a catalytic enhancer rather than a standalone utility.

Measuring the Impact of Viva Insights

Setting KPIs for Viva Insights Metrics

The virtuous cycle of feedback and improvement in an organization’s usage of Viva Insights pivots on the establishment of clear Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Identifying specific, measurable outputs—or even better, outcomes—is crucial in discerning the value derived from Viva Insights. These KPIs can range from increased productive collaboration time to enhanced employee satisfaction scores, each serving as a beacon for progress and performance.

Sample KPI Framework

KPI Category Key Performance Indicator (KPI) Description Target Value Measurement Frequency Responsible Party
Employee Productivity Average Focus Time per Week Average hours employees spend in focused, uninterrupted work sessions. 5 hours/week Monthly Team Leads, HR
Task Completion Rate Percentage of tasks completed on time by employees. 90% Monthly Team Leads, Managers
Employee Well-being Employee Satisfaction Score Average score from employee satisfaction surveys. 8/10 Quarterly HR, Employee Experience
Work-life Balance Score Average score from surveys assessing employees’ perceived work-life balance. 8/10 Quarterly HR, Managers
Team Collaboration Meeting Effectiveness Percentage of meetings rated as effective by participants. 85% Monthly Team Leads, HR
Collaboration Hours Average number of hours spent in collaborative activities (meetings, shared projects) per week. 10 hours/week Monthly Team Leads, Managers
Managerial Insights Managerial Insights Utilization Percentage of managers regularly using Viva Insights for decision-making. 75% Quarterly HR, Leadership
Early Intervention on Burnout Risk Number of proactive measures taken based on Viva Insights data to prevent employee burnout. 5 interventions/month Monthly Managers, HR
Operational Efficiency Reduction in After-hours Work Percentage decrease in after-hours work logged by employees. 20% reduction Monthly Team Leads, HR
Time Saved through Automation Total hours saved per week due to automation and efficiencies introduced by Viva Insights. 50 hours/week Monthly IT, Operations
Data-Driven Decisions Decision-making Improvement Rate Percentage of key decisions influenced by insights derived from Viva Insights data. 70% Quarterly Leadership, Managers
Predictive Analytics Accuracy Accuracy rate of predictive analytics in forecasting employee performance and well-being trends. 85% Quarterly Data Analysts, HR

Cultivating a Data-Driven Culture

Data is the currency of the modern enterprise, and developing a culture that reveres this resource is transformational. Instituting a data-driven mindset commences at the top, with leadership exemplifying reliance on analytics for decision-making. Viva Insights facilitates this shift with palatable insights that goad a move away from intuition-based judgements. Promoting transparency and shared understanding about the “why” behind data usage can help in nurturing an environment where numbers are respected as much as narratives.

Long-Term Benefits and ROI Analysis

Realizing the long-term potential and ROI of Viva Insights depends on continuous engagement with the tool, iterative learning from the analytics provided, and adaptation of strategies based on the results. Tangible benefits are often expressed through improved employee engagement and retention rates, reduced burnout, and enhanced productivity—all translating to a more robust bottom line.

Key Takeaway: The ROI of any analytics tool, Viva Insights included, is best measured not in the immediate gratification of numbers but in the progressive cultivation of a more enlightened organization.

Advanced Features and Customization

API Integration and Automation

For an organization looking to push Viva Insights beyond its standard offerings, API integration offers a pathway into greater automation and customization. Leveraging Viva Insights with existing systems or building bespoke solutions can optimize the impact on organizational health and individual well-being. This flexibility ensures that Viva Insights can adapt to the specific dynamics of each enterprise.

Creating Custom Modules

The capability to create custom modules within Viva Insights is where creativity meets analytics. Tailored modules can cater to unique organizational needs, drawing out nuanced insights that drive very specific action plans and development programs. Crafting these modules requires a blend of understanding in both the operational mechanics of the organization and the potential of Viva Insights.

Tailoring Insights for Different Teams

Uniformity in analytics often overlooks the variances across departments and teams. Viva Insights, however, allows for the deployment of tailored insights that respect the distinct nature of different work groups. This granularity enhances relevance and application, ensuring that insights generated are attuned to the specific context and challenges faced by different segments within the organization.

Future Updates and Roadmap

What’s Coming in the Viva Insights Evolution?

Staying ahead in the technological domain requires foresight, and Viva Insights is no exception. Microsoft continuously invests in R&D, ensuring the tool is evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of the workplace. An eye on the roadmap informs employers of upcoming features, enabling them to plan for and capitalize upon new data-driven opportunities.

Staying Ahead with Viva Insights Updates

To maximize the investment in Viva Insights, organizations must remain vigilant to updates and enhancements. This vigilance ensures that they are leveraging the latest capabilities to full extent, harnessing newly introduced analytics and insights to sustain a competitive edge.

The takeaway

It’s about time businesses took a more considerate approach to HR and employee experience management — to try and appeal to the human side of employees rather than simply viewing them as assets. In a business world where machines and software dominate workplaces, it’s easy to virtualize employees, too. You have to understand that behind each profile picture on a screen is a human being whose feelings and well-being affect how they work and live. Viva Insights helps individuals and managers visualize well-being and productivity and how the two correlate in the workplace. 

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Softlanding Can Help Your Organization Implement Viva Insights

If you’re looking to balance employee wellbeing and productivity, Viva Insights is the solution for you. Softlanding can help you implement Viva Insights to increase knowledge in your workplace using our in house methodology that addresses both short & long term goals including continuous improvement strategies. 

Get in touch with us to learn more about leveraging Viva Insights and other Microsoft solutions. 


  1. How does Viva Insights integrate with other Microsoft Viva modules?
    Viva Insights is one component of the broader Microsoft Viva suite, designed to complement and enhance the capabilities of the other modules such as Viva Connections, Viva Learning, and Viva Topics. For instance, Insights can contribute to personalizing the experience in Viva Connections by helping tailor the news and resources surfaced to each user. Similarly, data from Viva Insights can inform learning paths in Viva Learning by identifying skill gaps or recommend learning content based on job roles and work habits.
  2. Can Viva Insights data be exported for additional analysis in external tools?
    Yes, Viva Insights offers the possibility to export data for deeper analysis or integration into external systems. Organizations can utilize Microsoft Power BI to create custom dashboards and reports, or data can be exported into Excel for further manipulation. This flexibility allows for the augmentation of Viva Insights with other analytical tools an organization may already be using.
  3. What measures does Viva Insights have in place to protect employee privacy?
    Viva Insights is designed with privacy at its core, ensuring compliance with global standards like GDPR. Personal insights are visible only to the employee, and organizational insights are aggregated and anonymized to prevent identification of individual activities. Admins can also configure privacy settings to control the type of data that is collected and viewed.
  4. How does Viva Insights personalized insights feature work without compromising confidentiality?
    Personalized insights are generated using data that is available just to the individual employee. These insights encourage behaviours that lead to productivity and well-being without revealing any personal data to managers or leaders. Microsoft’s approach to privacy ensures that personal insights remain confidential, with no individual tracking or surveillance activities.
  5. In what ways can leadership use Viva Insights to foster a better work environment?
    Leadership can use Viva Insights to identify and address inefficiencies in work processes, improve the balance of meetings and focused work time, and promote well-being initiatives based on the stress patterns and work habits analytics. Moreover, leaders can set the tone by modelling work habits that lead to a healthier work environment, as insights from Viva can inform best practices for managing digital exhaustion.


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Softlanding is a long-established IT services provider of transformation, professional services and managed IT services that helps organizations boost innovation and drive business value. We are a multi-award-winning Microsoft Gold Partner with 13 Gold Competencies and we use our experience and expertise to be a trusted advisor to our clients. Headquartered in Vancouver, BC, we have staff and offices in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary to serve clients across Canada.

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