Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Get started with Microsoft Viva Topics

Microsoft Viva Topics (hereafter Viva Topics) is a powerful tool to connect knowledge, as well as enable a higher degree of sharing and managing knowledge across your organization and build knowledge communities. This could in turn surface and bring to you what matter, in the right context, with the help of AI, the Microsoft 365 platform and the Microsoft Viva Add-on service. Read here what to think about and what to do to pave the way for optimal use of the platform.


Viva Topics is a Microsoft 365 add-on service with AI (Artificial Intelligence). It is created to automatically organize content and expertise across systems and teams. When content and expertise is discovered and organized Viva Topic create topic pages as suggestions. If a topic page is confirmed, either by end users or Knowledge Manager (depending on how the company chooses to confirm topic pages), it will be published as a topic page and topic cards will be distributed to other SharePoint pages and connected to words relevant for the topic.

Illustration summarizing content and people curation in Microsoft VivaIllustration summarizing content and people curation in Microsoft Viva


Roles, responsibilities, and visibility

Different roles will experience different views, access, interaction, and scenarios with topics.
Below we have listed the roles needed to successfully launch and manage Viva Topics. Some of the roles you might already have in your organization, or they might be called something else. Still, they might be the right persons to involve and enable to successfully launch and manage your company’s knowledge and expert platform moving forward.


Organizational unit and/or role


Responsibilities/Can do

Microsoft 365




Global Admin


About admin roles in the Microsoft 365 admin center - Microsoft 365 admin | Microsoft Docs

Microsoft Teams Admin


Can also be Champions and/or people with other roles in the company

Use Microsoft Teams administrator roles to manage Teams - Microsoft Teams | Microsoft Docs

Microsoft Viva Topics

Read more about roles at docs.microsoft.com: Roles in Microsoft Viva Topics | Microsoft Docs

Topic viewers

Everyone  - all users

Be assigned

· Viva Topics License by Microsoft 365 admin

· View topics permissions

· Can view topics

· Can provide feedback on topic usefulness

Topic contributors

Subject Matter Experts

Be assigned:

· Viva Topics license

· edit and create topic permissions

· Topic viewer

· Edit existing topic or create a new topic

· Can create and publish a new topic via topic center


Knowledge managers

HR? Business unit reps?

Be assigned:

· Viva Topics license

· view topic permissions

Good overall knowledge of business

· Manage topics in the organization – oversees quality and completeness

· Can remove topics

· Edit existing topic or create a new topic

· Coordinate with all Viva stakeholders

Knowledge administrator

Solution architects and IT admins, functional admins





Typically, not limited to, in IT

Microsoft 365 global admin or SharePoint admin (in Microsoft 365 admin center)

· Set up and configure Viva Topics

· Manage Viva Topics settings after setup

· Assign user levers

· Select SharePoint sites

· Exclude topics

Competency and skilling plan

Moving into the new Microsoft Viva Topics and other modern tools and systems requires updating digital and other skills and competencies, you might already have several of the skills listed below. It is recommended to make a plan to ensure skills and competencies are up to date.

Prerequisite IT Skills for admins (not limited for Viva Topics skills):

Viva Topics skills

Skills area

More skills to learn

Analysis & content inventory

Compliant content and policy rules

Modernization scanner, Transform to Modern


Retention & DLP

Retention, sensitivity labels, Data Loss Prevention



Knowledge, content and people management stakeholders

Viva Topics is an employee experience platform that affects the whole organization, hence there are some important stakeholders to involve at the different stages of set up and management.

Consider this list of stakeholders to involve at different stages both for planning, setup and management of knowledge and experts in your organization:

Get started driving adoption of Microsoft Viva Topics | Microsoft Docs


Access permission and Viva Topics

Users have access to only those topics to which they've been granted access in Microsoft Teams and SharePoint respectively. Viva Topics uses the security and compliance of Microsoft 365 for content. You can apply restrictions on the scope and availability of Viva Topics' topic information for your different roles. Users have access to only those topics to which they've been granted access. Apply sensitive labels to protect sensitive data.

Read about which topics users can see:

Security and privacy in Microsoft Viva Topics | Microsoft Docs

Two options to consider for how Viva topics should be visible:

  • All candidate topics
  • Only confirmed topics


Where is your company content?

Have you moved content over to modern SharePoint?
If you still have content on fileshare and “old” SharePoint versions/classic SharePoint it can be a good time to migrate that content over to modern SharePoint sites.

Most migration tools map user identities across the migration, with properties like Created by or Modified by are maintained after the migration. This is important for topics as there is direct correlation between authorship of file to identifying experts added to a topic page or card.

Read more under Step 1 : Migrate content to SharePoint
Get your environment ready for Viva Topics - Learn | Microsoft Docs


There are some tools to help prepare for moving content from old/classic SharePoint sites:

  • Use SharePoint Modernization scanner to prepare classic sites for modernization
  • Use Sharing report for site owners:
    • Encourage site owners to review sharing and permissions for their SharePoint sites
  • Consider what to do with content on fileshare and other systems; some need to be moved or migrated to modern SharePoint sites, for other content stored in certain systems integrations might be possible. E.g. Possibility to include content from Microsoft Graph Connectors MediaWiki and ServiceNow for topic discovery – preview December 2021. Ref. Microsoft 365 Roadmap

Where is Microsoft Viva Topics?

  • “Topics” will be discovered from files and pages stored in modern or classic SharePoint sites
  • Topic highlights will only appear on modern SharePoint pages

Illustration, the flow of Topics: Viva Topics discover, organizes and surfaces content and people related to a topic and surfaces this via SharePoint pages, including via Microsoft Teams.Illustration, the flow of Topics: Viva Topics discover, organizes and surfaces content and people related to a topic and surfaces this via SharePoint pages, including via Microsoft Teams.


Type of topics that can be identified

Viva Topics uses Microsoft Graph and AI to identify topics in the organization. Initially, the following types of topics can be identified:

  • Project
  • Event
  • Organization
  • Location
  • Product
  • Creative work
  • Field of study


What different users can see in topics

Scroll down on this page and see the table below AI versus manually curated topic information to see what users can see in a given topic based on their permissions:
Security trimming in Microsoft Viva Topics | Microsoft Docs

See Manage topic visibility in Microsoft Viva Topics | Microsoft Docs to learn how to define topic visibility.

Properties that is sourced for the Viva Topic

The AI identifies people and content connected to a topic. If AI finds a certain amount of people and content connected to a topic it becomes a suggested topic. This will be displayed on a topic page, by identifying these properties:


Sourced from

Alternate names and/or acronyms

Files and SharePoint pages

A short description of the topic

SharePoint files and pages

Internet, through Wikipedia

People who might be knowledgeable about the topic

Suggested based on active contributions to files and SharePoint pages

Files, pages or SharePoint sites that are related to the topic

Ranked based on whether they are central to the topic or

if they can give an overview or introduction to the topic


Read more about it under Knowledge indexing: Microsoft Viva Topics overview | Microsoft Docs and under Topics discovery and curation in Microsoft Viva Topics: Topic discovery and curation in Microsoft Viva Topics | Microsoft Docs



How to ensure topic relevance?

To begin with the identified topics might not be the most relevant for the organization as the Viva Topics will bring forth what is available at the time.

To keep suggested topics and curate topics is critical for improving the quality of the topics that are discoverable in the organization. When the context is relevant Viva Topics will suggest to highlight the topics on all modern SharePoint site pages in the organizations tenant. The topic can be directly referenced in a modern SharePoint page by a page author.

Manually made edits to content from contributors, added topics, confirmations from users for AI discovered properties and content, as well as usefulness feedback are all essential contributions to make the topics as relevant as possible.


Strategy for rolling out Viva Topics:

Authoritative model

Fully crowd-sourced model

A set group of people is responsible for adding and editing topics.

They are the ones responsible for doing it.


Everyone in the organization can add and edit topics



Can only view topics in the term store

Can view, edit and add topics


Choice for which SharePoint sites to be crawled as sources to discover Viva Topics:



All sites

All SharePoint sites in the organization. This includes current and future sites.

All, except selected sites

All sites except for those specified for not being sources. Sites created in the future will be included as sources for topic discovery

Only selected sites

Only the sites that are specified as sources. Sites created in the future will not be included as sources for topic discovery.

No sites

Do not include any SharePoint sites


Checklist for launching Viva Topics in the organization:


Viva Topic checklist


Decide on a model

Establish a steering group of relevant stakeholders, a mix of users, and run a workshop where the decision is made

Consider training in organizational culture related to Viva Topics

Build a champion network

Do you have a champion network already? Introduce Viva Topics to the champions network and make it part of the already existing network.

Create a success plan

Define some criteria for what is success related to the launch and thereafter use of Viva Topics, what effect do you want to see and how will you measure it?

Use Viva Topics usage indicators :

·        Topic impressions

·        Quantity of topics – both confirmed and unconfirmed in curated topic list

·        Number of published topic pages

·        End-user feedback from topic cards

Surveys for subjective feedback

Share success stories

Start with a couple of pilot runs first, before everyone in the organization is told about the Viva Topics. Share success stories and lessons learned from these pilots

Host events like lunch and learn to:

·        Share stories

·        Introduce new features

·        Set challenges for people

·        Run competitions

·        Run scenario workshops or brainstorm meetings

Discover Topics

It can take some time while the AI is discovering current content and people

Improve Topics discovery when more content is available

Preserve security, privacy and location of data

Plan for Viva Topics pages

Define your topics and which Viva Topics pages you want to focus on initially and prepare for it to grow





Customer cases:
ClearPeople helps Northumbrian Water tap the fountain of knowledge with Viva Topics and Syntex - Microsoft Tech Community

Set up Microsoft Viva Topics | Microsoft Docs

Knowledge and Expertise | Microsoft Viva Topics
Set up Microsoft Viva Topics | Microsoft Docs
Airlift 2021 - Airlift 2021: Session Scheduler (microsoft.com)
Deploy Microsoft Viva with ease across your organization - Microsoft Tech Community


Merethe Stave is Chief Customer Officer and Senior Cloud Architect at CloudWay. She is an Office Apps and Services MVP, was recognized as one of Norway’s 50 leading women in tech 2020, one of 6 finalists for the award Microsoft Norway Women Tech Partner of the year and is a board member of the Norwegian Microsoft 365 Community.


More than 10 years ago she discovered SharePoint and has ever since worked passionately to help users see the possibilities in the Microsoft 365 productivity suite. She lives the power of sharing and is passionate about educating and enabling users in the Microsoft User Adoption processes combined with good practice and an agile and pragmatic “hands-on” approach, as a certified Prince 2 Agile Practitioner and Microsoft Service Adoption Specialist. Merethe was co-founder and central force in establishing and organizing the SharePoint Saturday Conference, SPS Oslo, in Norway (2013-2017). As an international public speaker, she has experience from Modern Workplace Conference Paris, SPS London and of course SPS Oslo.

Posted at https://sl.advdat.com/3Hh9BfV