Microsoft Viva Topics - Corpoorate Knowledge Management with AI

Microsoft Viva Topics - Corpoorate Knowledge Management with AI

Microsoft Viva Topics is one of the outcome from Project Cortex and is, beside of being part of the Microsoft Viva Family, also part of Microsoft’s Knowledge & Content Services. In my opinion a fundamental brick in order to achieve the vision to provide every company the tools to create, maintain and develop a knowledge network. But be warned, a substantial effort is needed to build the set of topics found in SharePoint Online content before apps can surface topic cards to users.

What is Viva Topics?

Viva Topics is the foundation of Microsoft’s knowledge network. Substantial effort is needed to build the set of topics found in SharePoint Online content before apps can surface topic cards to users. This article is the first of a two-part series. In it, we chronicle the process of how the AI used by Viva Topics suggests topics and how knowledge managers refine and publish the topics to make them available to end users.

Viva Topics uses AI to reason over content across teams and systems, recognizing content types, extracting important information, and automatically organizing content into shared topics like projects, products, processes and customers. Viva Topics then creates a knowledge network based on relationships among topics, content, and people. New topic pages and knowledge centers—created and updated by AI—enable experts to curate and share knowledge with wiki-like simplicity. And topic cards deliver knowledge just-in-time to people in Outlook, Microsoft Teams, and Office. Microsoft Viva Topics builds on intelligence from the Microsoft Graph, a variety of Microsoft AI technologies, and the content services of SharePoint.

Main Features

Before reading about the features I highlight below, it’s important for you to understand what a topic in the context of "Viva Topics" is.

A topic is a phrase or term that has a specific meaning. The meaning might only be known within an organization or it might be in general use. Resources like SharePoint sites or individual documents help people understand the meaning of a topic. According to Microsoft, Viva Topics can identify the following types of topics:

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

Topic Card

Topic Cards appear automatically when a topic is detected, showing you a description, experts, resources, and other information about the topic. Topic cards appear automatically in Outlook, Word, SharePoint and Microsoft Teams, and will appear in results in Microsoft Search.


Topic Page

Knowledge can be explored in depth in a topic page. Viva Topics builds topic pages automatically from your content, using AI. But pages become better with experts, who can edit or create new topics with wiki-like simplicity, incorporating their knowledge and additional resources, and transparently training your knowledge network at the same time. AI also keeps your topic pages up-to-date alongside ongoing people-centric curation.


Topic Map

A Topic Map is a map of relationships between the various existing topics in the company. A Topic Map is automatically added to every Topic Page. And on top of that, we are also able to use the Yammer integration which allows us to make users receive questions and answers on a specific topic so that they’re visible and accessible to all. People can ask a question in a way that experts on that topic are notified and can provide their answers in a timely manner. These questions and answers will automatically be added to the Topic Page enabling other users people to benefit from the knowledge.



As you may expect, people within an organization will be able to collaborate on any topic. There are multiple owners for a single topic and each of them is able to modify the topic page in MS-Teams by adding information and republishing it.
Such content is also very useful to make topics easier to find by end-users.



Microsoft Viva Topic is definitely a powerful tool which will have a big enhancement on employee experience and knowledge management. If I think of having an AI identifying important Topics by analyzing the entire content an organisation puts on Microsoft 365 Services… makes it more encouraging to build up a robust knowledge network. How much time do people spend in searching the information needed for them to fullfil their job?

The only thing which Viva Topic does not help you with, is the adding of Metadata to your files. So either you have super-disciplined end-users which cure the metadata of every document and workgroup they’re involved in, or you take a look at Microsoft “SharePoint Syntex“, Microsofts smart content service which uses Machine Teaching and AI to automatically enrich corporate data with relevant metadata. As you can see, Knowledge and Content Services are getting a lot of support from AI and Machine Learning.

However, the effort to establish a proper knowledge network and optimise knowledge management with Viva Topics shall not be underestimated. Don’t forget that either Viva Topics and SharePoint Syntex are based on AI. This means, in order to get the benefit out of the tools, you’ll have to feed data into it, wait until it gets processed, and configure the parameters relevant for your organisation. The initial effort is comperable with a mid- to large-sized IT-Project which involves technical and organisational roles from the company.

So in the past year, the legend of a robust organisational knowledge management solution (that’s my personal opinion about it ;-)) has become more reality. By leveraging endusers from adding metadata or identifying important keywords within the organisation which need to be explained and made accessible for everyone in the company, I think we will start using the information which we already have to learn and get a real benefit from it. As long as you spend enough time to understand your needs and plan the implementation.

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