First Look at Viva Topics: A Good Start | Quisitive
image of happy team working together with the Microsoft Viva Topics logo overlaid
First Look at Viva Topics: A Good Start
March 4, 2021
Microsoft has launched Viva Topics which is the second part of Project Cortex and we take a look at how to sign up and set it up.

For many of us the release of Microsoft’s Viva Topics has been long awaited by those of us who have been following Project Cortex.  The announcement of SharePoint Syntex at Microsoft Ignite last fall Microsoft delivered on the first part of the Cortex story by allowing organizations to build AI models to identify, classify, and extract information from documents when they are added to SharePoint.  Now, we have Viva Topics which is the second half of the Cortex story and its promise is to mine topics in your organization both organically and at your direction and allow users to see those topics contextually as they work.  So, let’s take a look at Viva Topics and how it works.

Getting Started

First you need to either purchase Viva Topics ($5/user/month) or sign up for the one month free trial for 25 users.

M365 Admin Center Licenses
Viva Topics Trail License in M365 Admin Center

Then you will get the Topic Experiences service in the Org Settings section of the M365 Admin center.

M365 Org Settings List
Org Settings showing Topic Experience Settings Option

Configuring Viva Topics

In the Topics Experiences section you will have to decide where Viva Topics can crawl to find potential topics.  The default is to crawl all SharePoint sites.  You can also exclude certain topics that you don’t want included.

Optiosn screen with settings
Viva Topics Discovery Pane

You next get to decide who can see topics in your organization, the default being everyone.  This can allow you to restrict topics from certain groups of users.

Setting panel with options
Viva Topics Visibility Controls

Topics can be created and edited by anyone, or you can limit those and you can control who can manage topics that are found (we will look at that later)

Setting panel with options
Viva Topics Permissions Management

Lastly, you will configure the Topic Center SharePoint site where Topics will be managed.

Settings Panel with options
Viva Topics SharePoint Site Settings

The Viva Topic Center

Once you have configured everything the system will create the Topic Center.

SharePoint Site Home page
Viva Topics – Topics Center Home Page

This is going to take a while so be patient.  It then will need about a week to crawl your content before it starts to suggest topics to you, so don’t get to anxious if nothing shows up immediately.  Give it time and then come back.  You will see those topics suggested displayed here and we will dig into the Topic management in the next blog post in the series.