On the 4th of Feb this year Microsoft launched their Employee Experience Platform Viva. Although one could argue that Microsoft is rebranding existing capabilities under a new name, I do believe we are entering a new era of how we enable employees with digital means.
In this era, we see the effect of some fundamental changes. One being that software has become a commodity. For those that have moved into Microsoft 365 the challenge is no longer acquiring and running software, but more so in finding ways to effectively harness all the capabilities on offer. Another fundamental change is the introduction of cloud and with that the many variations in which we combine compute and storage to turn everything into a service. Services that are no longer standalone silo’s but can be interconnected through API’s.
These fundamental changes affect what we may call the digital workplace too. A workplace that might be digital, but certainly is not one place. The digital workplace is a jungle of applications and information. One that is not easily traversed without guidance of a portal.
One of those portals, SharePoint, celebrated its 20th birthday recently. As technical capabilities were introduced or acquired by Microsoft, so did this solution evolve. Internet portals gave way to social networks, so we added blogging, likes and shares to our intranets to truly engage our users and justify our investments. Somehow though the intranet is, still today, one of many places we can visit, but rarely a place where we get work done.
For that we need a place that is unified, personal, relevant and actionable. Things of which we know, from experience, that require substantial investments to realize. But if we would take a step back and let ourselves be guided by the employee experience, then we would likely choose a different entry point to the digital workplace. An entry point that meets the user where they work and recognizes the mentioned paradigm shift.
This entry point would offer a personal canvas with interactive and relevant elements. It would not just be another location to visit. It would be a solution to unique employee needs: a true employee experience solution.