If the idea of regularly updating another social network makes you shudder, a new app unveiled by Microsoft this morning probably won’t be good news. But if you prefer not to become friends with your colleagues on Facebook or share too many work details on LinkedIn, this might be useful.
This is the needle Microsoft is threading with this morning’s announcement of a new social app called Viva Engagewhich is part of the Viva employee experience platform the company rolled out last year on Microsoft Teams.
One feature, “Scenario”, is essentially a new social network for work. Microsoft says the idea is to “share experiences, celebrate milestones, and discuss your interests,” helping colleagues “learn more about you and your work.”
It’s part of a broader effort by tech companies to get closer to the kinds of social interactions employees might have had in the workplace before the pandemic. With employees both in the office and working from home at many companies, the team spirit that comes from knowing one another personally is harder to find.
“When it comes to people, it starts with taking a new approach to collaboration both inside and outside the organization,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said at the conference. of the company’s Inspire Virtual Partners on Tuesday morning. “We need to be good at synchronized, asynchronous, in-person and remote collaboration. In earlier times, you could get away with one or two of these quadrants. But now you need all four quadrants to be excellent at all times.
Microsoft competes with Slack, Zoom Technologies and many others in the development of remote collaboration technologies. The industry exploded with the onset of the pandemic, but has become more complex with the mix of in-person and remote work in many teams these days.
This isn’t the first time Microsoft has gone down this route, as evidenced by the fact that Viva Engage posts can be configured to connect with colleagues on Outlook, Teams, and Yammer. Of course, the company also bought LinkedIn for $26 billion. At the very least, it will test our ability to create another social network in our lives.
Other things to note from the Microsoft Partner Conference: