Microsoft wants to add stories to company portals

Stories are everywhere – and I’m not talking about the fantasy genre. At first, Snapchat launched Stories as a way for users to share candid moments throughout the day, like catching the sunrise in the morning or going for coffee. It was a huge hit, and the years since have spewed out many imitators, from Instagram and Facebook Stories to less successful YouTube Stories. Now, not to be outdone, Microsoft is aiming to bring Stories to the business with the aptly named Stories feature, an upcoming addition to the company. Long live employee experience platform (i.e. intranet).

The Stories format of snackable content, which has become popular in part because it is so efficient attracting eyeballs, this may seem anathema to the type of corporate clients who subscribe to Viva. After all, blue chips value productivity above all else. But Microsoft says that’s not the case – there’s an appetite for ephemeral photo and video slideshows in the workplace, the company claims, because they offer a “fun and familiar way” to keep in touch with people. colleagues.

The jury is out on this. Either way, Stories is part of Viva Engage, a new “AI-powered” component of Viva and the app in Microsoft Teams that “provides employees with tools for self-expression,” like creating and sharing Stories videos. It replaces Yammer Communities for Teams, which will soon be gone. Here’s how Microsoft describes it:

Viva Engage is a social app for digital communities, conversations, and self-expression tools that builds on the existing capabilities of the Communities app for Teams and Microsoft 365 to connect employees and empower everyone to contribute and share. express themselves by meeting people where they are. Teams and Microsoft 365. And as an integral part of the Microsoft Viva suite, Viva Engage contributes to Viva Connections and Viva Topics and, over time, will extend the community, conversation and knowledge experiences to other areas of Long live.

For managers, Viva Engage supports things like virtual events, pinned conversations, and announcements with notifications in Teams, Viva Connections, and Outlook. For rank and file, Viva Engage offers a “Best Answers” feature for questions, “@” mentions, and forum-like topics as well as posts with rich media (e.g., photos, videos, and files). ) that reach Outlook, Teams, and Yammer.

As with Snapchat and Instagram, Stories, downloadable from the web or mobile, appear in a chronological carousel alongside the contributions of followed and “recommended” colleagues. In Viva, stories appear at the top of a Facebook-like newsfeed called Storyline and a dedicated tab. In Teams, they’re above the video window. You’ll also see them in Outlook and Yammer.

“Storyline posts will appear in Viva Connections, and you can choose to receive notifications of new posts and stories from people you follow in Teams and Outlook,” Dan Holme, Product Manager for Viva Engage, told TechCrunch in an interview. by email. “Posts and Stories you share remain in your Storyline until (and if) you delete them… On the Home Feed and Storylines Feed, when viewing content shared by others, the carousel and feed will focus on content you haven’t seen yet; and stories will disappear from the stories carousel after 30 days.”

These wouldn’t be real stories without stickers and formatting options, and Viva Engage mostly delivers the goods, here. At launch, the Microsoft Stories brand will allow photos to be augmented with text and stickers, and the plan is to “regularly improve” these features after general release, Holme said.

Viva Engage Stories

Picture credits: Microsoft

The question that comes to mind is, will anyone actually use Viva Engage Stories? LinkedIn abandoned on Stories last year, and a investigation – albeit a few years old – found that 31% of employees have never visited their company’s intranet. If just opening a portal is a tall order, what chance is Microsoft taking on Stories?

On the other hand, it’s true that videos are easier to sell than the documents that typically fill an employee portal. According According to Forrester Research, employees are 75% more likely to watch video than read documents, emails or web articles.

Microsoft Stories in Teams

Microsoft Stories in Teams

Picture credits: Microsoft

It’s also true that the pandemic has disrupted the social fabric of the workforce in ways that have some workers yearning for deeper connections. For example, contrary to popular belief, not all working-age Gen Zers — between the ages of 20 and 24 — are okay with the remote setups the pandemic has normalized. Generation Lab research firm found in a recent study, 40% of Gen Z workers are concerned about fewer networking and mentorship opportunities.

“Storyline and Stories are anchored to make it easier for employees to connect with co-workers and share and socialize their thoughts through conversations, images and videos – the same way they do on their personal social platforms,” ​​Holme said. “Stories offer a familiar and personal way to capture the moment and share it in a way that is not yet used in business. It gives employees a quick way to engage with each other, to share their unique voice and amplify meaningful moments for In addition, customers have been asking for more modern ways to communicate and engage with the new workforce, which tends to be familiar and engaging. engage with the modalities they are accustomed to in their personal lives.”

Stories won’t replace the water cooler or happy hours after work. But maybe – just maybe – it will scratch the itch to socialize.

Oh – and in case you’re wondering what all this means for whiningMicrosoft other business-focused social network, never fear. The Yammer web experience and native mobile apps will continue to be available after the launch of Viva Engage, and content created in Viva Engage will be viewable in Yammer and vice versa.

Viva Engage will be available to all current Microsoft 365 commercial customers at no additional cost, Microsoft says. Users must have a Yammer license to use the app. In late August, Storyline will begin public preview; The stories will premiere to the public later this summer.

Comments are closed.