Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Making Powerful Things Simple: The Jeff Teper approach to business collaboration

Coming from SharePoint origins I’ve been a fan of Jeff Teper for a long time; he’s presented more keynotes on collaboration than any other Microsoft presenter and his passion for the platforms he works on is unparalleled (not to mention his commitment to brand aligned shoes!).

During a recent interview with Stephen Rose at the M365 Collab conference, Jeff shared his view on how the tools around the collaboration landscape are evolving

Jeff shared 2 key points during this conversation: The first, my headline “Making Powerful Things Simple” – I love this concept. The second, for me, was the insight into why create another brand for collaboration features – Viva and his explanation on the value of each part.

1 – “Making Powerful things Simple”

Any technology evangelist will tell you that the complexity of a solution is far outweighed by its ability to be simply described, used, and engaged with. The technologies that Microsoft are implementing under the hood are not simple, the latest set of tools leverage more and more AI, described by Jeff during the interview as being “like a super powerful search engine with a complex algorithm based on users’ interests, actions and collaboration history”. The ability to make using the complex and powerful tooling simple is the goal Jeff was talking about. We don’t need the end user to understand the technology to reap the benefits of it. We don’t need a complex interface to leverage the power of the features and the simpler the technology is to actually use, then the better.

The focus on the business value is key, the ability for a business to leverage features, increase productivity and provide tooling that users can easily engage with is paramount, especially in remote working scenarios.


2 – Viva, leveraging collaboration features

Jeff also spoke about the Viva branding, and it’s one of the best explanations of why the separation of features that I’ve heard yet. As a SharePoint & Teams evangelist, it’s clear to see that Viva is leveraging the new Content Services features of SharePoint, the advanced collaboration and insight of Teams and concepts from other technologies. Jeff describes that the addition of new features as a constant, and the Microsoft vision was to separate a set of features out that address a similar set of productivity wins.

As Jeff was describing the features, this picture formed in my mind, with the core technologies like SharePoint, Teams, OneDrive and Stream in the bottom box and a new set of tools emerging on top. While derived from the technology underneath, the Viva tools are focused on making collaboration features work for you.



As Jeff explained, the term Viva means “To Live” and living with the collaboration features mean you need them to help you be more productive and such, the value propositions of each of the Viva offerings are focused that way, the examples he gave included “Viva Insights – helping you manage your time better”.

As always, Jeff’s passion for the technology is contagious and I’d recommend this interview as a must watch if you find yourself questioning the direction and value add of the Viva tooling.

Jeff and Stephen covered a few other topics in this short video, it’s definitely well worth a watch and a great start to 2022 following up from the core themes of Microsoft Ignite last year.

Stephen Rose is hosting a whole new season of his Inside Microsoft Teams videos, season 5, due to start again in February 2022 but if you can’t wait till then, how about grabbing some popcorn and binging on the 31 videos already created and available on YouTube.



(Sharon Sumner [MVP] | LinkedIn) SharePoint Sharon as she is affectionately known has been an Office 365 and SharePoint online advocate since inception. She is a Microsoft Business application MVP who is passionate about community events and runs the Cambridge Power Platform User group as well as being a worldwide speaker at community event.


Sharon is the CEO of Business Cloud Integration Ltd who are a Microsoft Gold ISV partner as well as Charter partners of Microsoft's SharePoint Business Applications Programme and Associate Partners in the Content Services Programme and are known for their expertise in the Microsoft Stack and developers of the Casper365 Office 365 Automation Platform, used by enterprise clients for SharePoint, Power Platform and Teams governance globally.

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