• Viva vision #5 Make Learning part of personal development

    Culture is something that needs to adapt and change, and you’ve got to be able to have a learning culture. The intuition I got was from observing what happens in schools. I read a book called Mindset. In there there’s this very simple concept that Carol Dweck talks about, which is if you take two people, one of them is a learn-it-all and the other one is a know-it-all, the learn-it-all will always trump the know-it-all in the long run, even if they start with less innate capability.

    Satya Nadella | Carol Dweck

    Love! However, try adding a small, but important word with huge implications …


    Viva Visionary

    That’s all it takes to start a growth mindset over a fixed mindset. Since our parents first encouraged us to try and feed ourselves, try doing up our own shoe laces, try growing some herbs in a little pot. If we had not tried over and again to learn something new we would be in a terrible place.

    Consider every day as a school day!

    Walter S. Young

    So consider every day a school day and try building a growth mindset in to your life! Viva Learning with Focus Time is intended to make this easier in a hybrid workplace. We are all capable of a lot more than we thought!

    Focus Time helps you think clearly without any interruptions from email notifications and alerts from other apps.

    Here’s Merethe Stave views on Learning and Knowledge. An MVP and CloudWay colleague. We are learning new knowledge together every day. Read her insights on how our new digital tools can help us improve our learning experiences and the propensity for new knowledge.

    Discover free Microsoft Viva Workshops!

    Follow my Viva visions

    03 Dec: Cloud Conversations Podcast: My productive and satisfying day in Viva on Teams..
    08 Dec: M365 UK User Group: A Viva Visionary chats with a Viva Realist (Sara Fennah, MVP)
    08 Dec: Yammer Community Festival: Looking forward to catching up with old and new Yammer fans and hearing great success stories
    10 Jun: Scottish Summit: MVP’s – Kevin McDonnell, Zoe Wilson, Ana Ines, Sara Fennah, the Viva Visionary and more!

  • Viva advent calendar

    Warm welcome inside my visionary Viva advent calendar – not just for Christmas!

    During this festive season I invite you to open a daily cloudy window on a current employee frustration; alongside a visionary Viva employee experience, nurturing a culture of digital wellbeing. People already using Viva are saying:

    Now have quick access to company news and views!
    This is a great work-life balance!
    This helps me focus!
    Now have easy to reach shared content!
    This has improved my productivity!

    Brilliant business benefits however, understanding the challenge we face these days and what leaders can do about it is the frustrating and difficult next step and that’s how we can help you in …

    Microsoft Cloud Accelerator Workshops

    Secure you Secret Santa gift and discover how Viva helps your business deliver personalised experiences to your employees with news, tasks, and conversations; provides data-driven insights and recommendations; organises content and expertise; and delivers formal and informal learning when and where it’s needed. ​

    Workshop Agenda:

    After the workshop you will have a clear understanding of how to get started with Connections in the M365 license; and a business case ready for Topics and Learning​. A separate workshop is offered for Insights.

    Request a workshop, don’t leave it to next Christmas to find out how you can best support your staff in a hybrid workplace. Simply request a free workshop or contact me at CloudWay.

    Please note that MS Cloud Accelerator Workshops can be run for customers and partners world wide, and CloudWay has specifically been chosen to run these workshops for select customers, which typically would not be eligible, all sponsored by Microsoft! So are you evaluating Microsoft 365 possibilities and have less than 40% adoption? Then you might be eligible for Microsoft Cloud Accelerator workshop for Microsoft 365.

    Follow the Viva visions

    03 Dec: Cloud Conversations Podcast: My productive and satisfying day in Viva on Teams..
    08 Dec: M365 UK User Group: A Viva Visionary chats with a Viva Realist (Sara Fennah, MVP)
    08 Dec: Yammer Community Festival: Looking forward to catching up with old and new Yammer fans and hearing great success stories
    25 Feb: Scottish Summit: MVP’s – Kevin McDonnell, Zoe Wilson, Ana Ines, Sara Fennah, the Viva Visionary and more!

  • Viva Engage. A marriage made with Yammer & Teams in the cloud

    Microsoft recently announced the 7th Viva module, Viva Engage with a cute hug logo that Yammy really Likes!

    Engaging Viva hug
    The engaging Viva hug

    Viva Engage could be a marriage made in heaven integrating Yammer and Teams blessed by Microsoft Graph; with bridesmaids, old My Sites and M365 profiles blended into a personalised feed similar to the Facebook experience but undoubtedly better, as part of your current secure, governed and compliant M365 productivity cloud licenses.

    Comms professionals never had it so good as the personalised storytelling (storyline & stories) feed in Viva Engage puts multiple employee engagement features right alongside your mobile company intranet in Viva Connections, and the broadcast feature Company Communicator, all through the lens of Teams helping to unlock priceless, serendipitous, tacit knowledge.

    However, there are suddenly too many Microsoft applications and features causing confusing where to push and/or pull employee messaging. There is a lot of information to consume with Viva Engage at this time but I imagine once globally available it will be easy to drive than thinking about how the engine works. No one told us how to use social media apps, satnav or banking apps, constantly upgraded with no training.

    Also consider the legal implications of using WhatsApp for work contravening HR policies and GDPR.

    The most important thing to consider as the business benefit here is sharing your work in your best collaborative places with a view – others might find it helpful and others might help you improve your work. That’s Working Out Loud!

    For Yammer fans who need to appreciate the Viva Engage engine prior to global release follow the links below for excellent perspectives, also join one of these Microsoft Viva Engage webinars this week.


    Webinar (microsoft.com) – 2 Aug 3pm (GMT)

    Webinar (microsoft.com) – 3 Aug 1am (GMT)

    Are you ready for Viva Engage? 10 ways Yammer customers can get ready – James Tyer

    Introducing Viva Engage – Murali Sitaram

    The things you and your organization need to know about Viva Engage, Yammer and the Communities app – Dan Holme

    Enter Microsoft Viva Engage. A Real Social Network For The Enterprise? – Josh Bersin

    Viva Engage: Realising Strategic Value through Discovery – Simon Terry

    Has Yammer found its niche in M365 Viva Engage? – Tony Redmond

    Introducing Viva Engage – Richard Harbridge

    Yammer time or Viva Engage? – Andrew Pope


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  • There is nothing new under the sun … integrated Viva Topics

    To say “there is nothing new under the sun” means there is nothing really new on the earth. All the activity of a man during his lifetime is lost in the grander scheme of things and will soon be forgotten (Ecclesiastes 1:11). However …

    A few months ago I got chatting to a IBM leader on their views of Microsoft Viva. I launched into my tried and tested Viva spiel on the fantastic M365 reimagined features and then what’s new with Viva Topics but was stopped in my tracks as not new.

    IBM search for terms and other assets using – IBM Glossary Anywhere. You simply highlight a word or phrase in a document by using the text capture method that you selected. To view your text capture method, hover over the book icon.” Tail between my legs and a quick search on the internet I found more: IBM Glossary Anywhere. Therefore,

    What is new with Viva Topics and other Viva modules is cross solution intelligence integration everywhere in the M365 productivity cloud. With end to end security that is compliant and governed through the lens of Teams.

    Read this excellent blog by Ben Lee.

    Most companies have dozens of content management and index systems found in sales, manufacturing, finance, HR, and other support functions. So Viva Topics with dynamic Search has the potential to bring them all together.

    Microsoft are reimagining robust but under-consumed products and features and now fully integrating them through the lens of Teams that can be reached easily on the mobile – eradicating a myriad of confusing standalone apps – and adding a serendipitous ribbon of connected collaboration across the enterprise. The goal is to improve productivity with seeded features the customer is paying for but not consuming.

    Note. Pure Viva Visionary conjecture and keeping in mind there is nothing new under the technology sun but there is repurposing so the next big Viva announcement could be the cross solution integration of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) intelligence with SAP to support Supply Chains, Logistics and Warehousing at breaking point since the pandemic. Perhaps the 8th Viva module is Viva Enterprise through the lens of Teams?


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  • Why run a solo Teams meeting ?

    Why might you run a #microsoftteams meeting on your own?

    CloudWay recently delighted a customer by suggesting they record a #msteams meeting with just one member of staff, share their screen and give a tour of their current intranet features and complex taxonomy.

    From this recording CloudWay watched the recording in our own time and we got what we needed for own specialist areas and then collaboratively created a proof of concept demo site for #vivaconnections in #modernsharepoint.

    The customer has since reported this solo style recording very helpful, as often get interrupted sharing complex work and can go off track. Recording short solo focused sessions then sharing the recording either before the meeting or actually in a meeting is a quick and easy process that’s made a big difference to them.

    Have you discovered any Teams features that solved surprising business challenges?

    This often happens in healthcare research where a new drug developed for a specific symptom actually helps another unrelated symptom!


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  • Unpredicted awesome 2 weeks

    Excuse my tardiness. Intended to post this last Friday but returned from a lively Commsverse, a UK Community event that spans Microsoft Teams from every angle, to a kitchen full of builders demolishing our chimney breast in prep for a new kitchen.

    So we moved out and camped this week at a friend’s [god-send] empty flat on Brighton seafront, but first went to Love Supreme Jazz Festival for the weekend, which was amazing! However, my sturdy little immune system dipped following a busy week then weekend. After dodging Covid for two years, went down with-it Sunday night. However, loads of sleep this week I thankfully have the lite variant.

    So Commsverse. Brilliant keynote with a very amusing A-Team spoof film with looky-likey Mr T(eams) and other infamous Teams faces. BBC Gadget Show host, Jason Bradbury arrived on a motorised skateboard – we’re both Visionaries! During the event Top Gear Stig made an appearance, and some say Satya Nadella.

    My un-predicted but awesome 2 weeks!
    My unpredicted but awesome 2 weeks!

    I chatted with many wonderful Customers and talented Vendors. Networked in and out of sessions with some of my CloudWay buddies: Nikki Chapple, Ben Lee, Marten Hellebro. Viva Explorers: Kevin McDonnell (we co-presented), Sara Fennah, Martina Grom, Chirag Patel – and found new ones!

    Delighted MVPs: Joy Apple (US), Bill Ayers (UK), Laurent Carlier (France) joining Viva Explorers! Marvellous support from top tech bloggers: Tom Arbuthnot, Tom Morgan. And we now have more Microsoft Friends of Viva Explorers: Mark Furr, Sarah Burg, Laurie Pottmeyer.

    On Tuesday 5 July I woke from a deep Covid snooze to about 10 messages: “Have you been renewed as an MVP?? YES!!”

    When we returned to our house yesterday after builders completed first horrific messy phase I discovered a beautiful bunch of flowers from CloudWay: “Congratulations with your MVP renewal, thanks for being awesome!”

    Plus more unpredicted awesome news… Boris resigned yay!

    Don’t forget to register for Microsoft Inspire 19-20 July where yet more unpredicted awesome features are being shipped through the lens of Teams with Microsoft Viva.

    But for now enjoy the Summer!


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  • A Viva day in the life on Teams*reimagined

    In September 2021 Microsoft launched Viva as a direct response to the challenges of working from home:

    “We need to define productivity much more broadly with inclusive collaboration, learning and wellbeing to drive career advancement for every type of worker with flexibility in when, where and how people wish to work.”

    Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO.

    During lockdown we dressed down and worked from home on Teams. It was the perfect time for learning new things, and I immersed myself in Viva’s immense tools and features many new to me, and to be honest surprised us all!

    I started to see Teams as the M365 hub for collaboration and productivity with cross solution integrations branded Viva!

    To demonstrate thinking differently I reimagined my personal brand and became the Viva Visionary and made the most of my features with an empowering make-over with “art of the possible” blogging binoculars!

    Likewise, Microsoft is reimagining M365 through the lens of Microsoft Teams with powerful features customers are paying for but not consuming.

    Viva Suite
    Viva Suite

    By the end of last year, I’d written 12 Viva blogs of which the 4th blog: A Viva Day in the life on Teams, also a Cloud Conversations podcast. With renewed confidence I submitted the content to Commsverse and delighted to be approved as a session, following my appearance last year sharing the DWP Teams adoption customer success story.

    Over the next few months, I met more like-minded MVPs delving into Viva. We named ourselves Viva Explorers and started a movement for a better employee experience.

    I met Viva Transformer, Kevin McDonnell and helped me reimagine my blog in a demo on ReleCloud, a fictitious Microsoft company.

    Me and Kevin are looking forward to sharing the demo at Commsverse on Thursday 30 June at 10am.

    So the moral is, we are all blessed with unique features we could make more of so reimagine yourself today and be delighted by what you might start …

    Viva Explorers mission: People are the heart and soul of every digitalization project. Viva Explorers are passionate, and we draw on our diverse origins to influence a serendipitous employee-centric technology movement, enabling a modern, empathic, enthusiastic workforce mindset!

    Follow #VivaExplorers on social media.


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  • Hot off the Viva Press!

    We are halfway through 2022 and where did that go?

    I felt now was a good time to reflect on the Viva Explorers journey so far this year, where we’re going next and take in the latest big Viva news!

    We have been enthusiastic to say the least and presented at many brilliant events: Collabdays Bletchley Park UK | Teams Nation | Tech(k)Now Day – International Women’s Day | Viva Days India | Scottish Summit.
    Upcoming: Commsverse UK, ESPC22 Copenhagen, Teams10X, South Coast Summit UK | Microsoft 365 Conference US.

    Delighted to announce two more MVPs joined us. A Viva Wizard with an Information Architecture-SharePoint Governance wand, Sue Hanley in US. And in Finland Katja Jokisalo a Viva Connector, connecting a better work life with ribbons.

    On the features front Viva Goals is now the official name for the 5th module intended to connect teams to your strategic priorities, mission and purpose, aligning an OKR (Objectives & Key Results) framework. Integrated into the employee experience through the lens of Teams. You can pre-order a new book: OKRs For All by Vetri Vellore, Ally CEO to find out more.

    And to all our surprise Microsoft just announced the 6th Viva module! Viva Sales integrating Salesforce and other CRMs into the Viva suite . Ben Lee shares his excellent insights on this immense “cross solution intelligence”.

    Note: IBM finally decommissioned Lotus Notes and now using Teams (I kid you not). And IBM partners with Salesforce. The Viva Teams jigsaw puzzle is remarkably interesting indeed.

    What next?

    I predict Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) will be another cross-solution Viva integration. At Microsoft they use a wide variety of SAP applications including ERP/ECC, E-Recruiting, GRC, GST, CPM, SCM, OER, MDG, and SMG, amongst others. “No wonder they integrated Viva Topics!” – we thank you Marten (;o)

    Notably, former Microsoft CVP Julia White joined SAP last year.

    ERP is a huge part of the Manufacturing Supply Chain Logistics Operations across the globe and crying out for a connected, integrated, collaboration productivity hub that Teams is.

    Viva now has MANY exciting moving parts in super bright product engineering groups to keep an eye on. This is not a simple one product story to keep tabs on so follow the enthusiastic #VivaExplorers for the latest insights as we touch every aspect of M365 features and tools.

    The Viva Explorer Mission: People are the heart and soul of every digitalization project. Viva Explorers are passionate, and we draw on our diverse origins to influence a serendipitous employee-centric technology movement, enabling a modern, empathic, enthusiastic workforce mindset!


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  • Viva Explorer’s reach India for Microsoft Viva Days 2022

    Following a great reception at the Women in Teams session on 13 April 2022 hosted from the US, the Viva Explorer’s are now en route to India! You are cordially invited to join this unique free virtual event hosted by more Viva enthusiasts on Teams.

    The Microsoft 365 , Power Platform & Cloud Security India User group‘s Microsoft Viva Days – 2022
    Saturday 14 May (IST +5:30 hrs)
    Please register here.

    My session with Merethe Stave and Sara Fennah is 1145am GMT

    From India we head west to Scottish Summit 10-11 June.
    Then south to Commsverse in Surrey UK 29-20 June.

    Viva Visionary, UK
    Viva Optimistic Navigator, Norway
    Viva Realist, UK
    Viva Cheerleader, UK
    Viva Aviator, Spain


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  • Nurture your Ikigai employee wellbeing with Viva

    Sharing here how in my opinion the Japanese happiness model Ikigai supports a good Employee Experience with Viva.

    I wrote this a year ago before I created this blog site; and now aligned with Stale Hansen’s Digital Wellbeing model.

  • Employees leave Managers not Companies! Step forward empathic leaders …

    Employees leave Managers not Companies as often misunderstood, not listened to, or just don’t feel a manager’s behaviour is appropriate to the times we are living in. And research says many people want to work flexibly from home but also want some kind of office culture experience. This is being referred to as the “hybrid work paradox”.

    To avoid or rather manage these challenging situations you need to learn empathic leadership now regarded as priceless in a successful hybrid workplace. This is the ability to understand the needs of your employee’s wellbeing spanning mental, physical, emotional and economic health across the whole workforce including under-valued Frontline Workers – using real time data.

    Employee expectations are changing, and we will need to define productivity much more broadly – inclusive of collaboration, learning and wellbeing to drive career advancement for every worker with flexibility in when, where, and how people work.

    Satya Nadella, CEO Microsoft, EMPATHIC LEADER

    This might sound like a huge onerous burden with a company to run and product or services to deliver and targets to meet but it can be mastered effortlessly and for free!

    Free? Yes! To drive this new style of leadership, with an unusual focus on kindness and an appreciation on how employees are really coping we have, through the lens of Microsoft Teams, fantastic AI enhanced features in Microsoft Viva.

    Many of the Viva features are at your fingertips today but have previously been overlooked and underwhelmed in Microsoft Exchange, Workplace Analytics and good ole SharePoint!

    However, now intended to support the Employee Experience journey from on-boarding to exit, Microsoft Viva nurtures personal development, learning, employee engagement and advocacy messages from leaders; to how staff collaborate and curate knowledge across the enterprise. Most important of all, how productive they are, as often working from home is now regarded as a normal practice. and ultimately providing the services or products to customers, or internally to other employees.

    This new empathic era can be driven by a relatively small group of leaders who demonstrate and encourage “digital wellbeing” as part of an established employee experience.

    Digital Wellbeing can be learned as being conscious about the notifications you get on all platforms – particularly on your smartphone. I teach how to remove unnecessary interruptions and help focus on what you are doing at the right time, and in the right digital place.

    Stale Hansen, CEO CloudWay, Microsoft RD, Teams MVP, EMPATHIC LEADER

    If you want to know more about how Microsoft Viva can help your organisation thrive on empathy and happiness then please join Me, Merethe Stave and Sara Fennah at Teams Nation this Wednesday at 10am sharing Realistic, Optimist and Visionary views on Viva as The Viva Explorers a growing community of like-minded MVPs. This is a discovery session on all the seeded features and what you can do right now with Viva through the lens of Teams, and upcoming premium features on the Viva Roadmaps.

    Then also catch Stale Hansen at Teams Nation at 11am sharing “life changing” Digital Wellbeing tips and tricks!

    Top empathic leaders in no particular order or merit: Satya Nadella, Stale Hansen (above), Steven Bartlett, Simon Sinek, Jacinda Arden, Bernd Zimmerman, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, The Obamas, Queen Elizabeth II, David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg, Steve Crook (my husband) … and who would you add?


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  • Happy International Women’s Day!

    #IWD2022 #techknowday #womenintech #womeninteams

    Today is a celebration of what women can achieve individually, but also in the community together.

    Please meet some wonderful technology professionals I’ve had the pleasure to work alongside and co-present with at community events this past year and predicting an exciting future! Under our restricted circumstances I am pleased to reflect I managed to have a blast of personal growth and immense fun with them.

    Check-in with:

    Merethe Stave MVP, speaker, trainer, Viva Optimist at CloudWay and experienced in Collaboration, Culture, Change Management, SharePoint 2007/2010/2013/2016/online and M365. Based Norway. I love working with Merethe as kindred user adoption spirits. Next stop Teams Nation co-presenting.

    Sara Fennah MVP, speaker and Viva Realist holding 30+ Microsoft certifications & Microsoft Certified Trainer status. Based UK. I met Sara last Summer at Commsverse and presented together Microsoft Viva at M365 UK User Group and many more times in the past 3 months with more planned. Next stop Teams Nation co-presenting.

    Me, Merethe & Sara are also co-presenting Microsoft Viva at 3pm today on YouTube! Here’s the full schedule of #Techknowday excellent talks.

    Please let me introduce you to:

    Sandy Zeng MVP, speaker and trainer at CloudWay and experienced in Microsoft Endpoint Manager. Windows 10/1, Security. Based Finland and fluent in English, Finnish, Mandarin and Cantonese. Sandy works in our technical team and I have much to learn from her as I am in the adoption and collaboration team. Looking forward to meeting Sandy and the CloudWay crew speaking at NIC Norway in June.

    Nikki Chapple MVP, speaker and trainer at CloudWay and experienced in Change Management and Enterprise Architecture, Teams and M365. Based UK. Nikki introduced me to the importance of the M365 governance, security and compliance model. I am learning a lot with Nikki.

    Zoe Wilson MVP, speaker, trainer and Viva Dreamer experienced in SharePoint, service delivery, management and leadership. Based UK. I met Zoe last summer at South Coast Summit and looking forward to co-presenting with Zoe and the Viva Explorers* at Scottish Summit in June.

    Kat Greenan MVP, speaker and trainer in Microsoft Teams and M365. Based UK. I met Kat last Summer where we moderated the user adoption sessions for South Coast Summit and bonded over doggies. It was an absolute pleasure to take part in a Cloud Conversations Podcast hosted by Kat and Peter Rising a few weeks later.

    Ana Ines Urrutia  MVP, speaker and trainer in in Dynamics 365 Human Resources and employee experience solutions. Based Uruguay and Spain. I am very much looking forward to meeting Ana at Scottish Summit when we co-present with the Viva Explorers*.

    And …

    Sophie Dimelow is experienced in Microsoft Cloud Management and Technical Support. Based UK. I was in the audience at South Coast Summit when Sophie was in a panel discussion with Zoe, Sara and the very talented Dona Sarkar. Sophie admittedly was nervous as her very first speaking event but we all thought terrific and loving her LinkedIn posts.

    Looking forward to catching up with all these women over the coming months … IN PERSON!

    *Viva Explorers are a diverse and inclusive group of men and women on a journey to help improve the employee experience with Microsoft Viva through the lens of Teams nurturing empathic leadership. Includes those mentioned above and Stale Hansen, Marten Hellebro, Kevin McDonnell, Chirag Patel, Martina Grom and many more to join us!

    Twitter – https://twitter.com/techknowday

    Linkedin – https://linkedin.com/company/techknowday

    Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/techknowday

    Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/techknowday


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