I’m Using AI to Kill Zombies

Skills in Viva uses data from LinkedIn and Microsoft Graph to create a skills-based learning and development system for employees 

Finally, I’m killing that zombie! I’ve worked in consulting services nearly my entire adult life, and it's interesting to think about those thorny problems that we were trying to solve even 20 years ago which just kept coming back, year after year.  Just when you think you’ve put them in the grave – well, you know what happens next – they come back, seemingly stronger and faster than ever.   When I look at the next generation of AI-powered tools, it may be that I’ve got the tools I need to put a few of them to rest once and for all.  AI brings tools to the table that we have never had before – a primitive intelligence that can perform mundane cognitive tasks at scale.  

Viva Automatically Maintains a Corporate Profile for Every Employee

Just in time for Halloween, Skills in Viva is a new tool designed to automatically maintain a corporate profile for every employee based on the wealth of information that you store in M365.  This is huge!  For years, I’ve built numerous tools to gather and share the skills and experiences of employees, so they can be matched to projects, roles, skills development, and career tracks.  The reality is that while people might take the time to create a profile once, many won’t even do that bare minimum.  Among those that will, even fewer will bother to return to update that information.  So yes, in the past, we could build the tools to make this happen, and have some success initially, the long-term prospects for these systems were dim. But this lack of information came at a real cost. I can recall more than a few times when we’ve lost out on new business because we thought we lacked the skills and experience that we actually DID have - we just didn’t know it!   So yes, that particular zombie keeps coming back.  But I’ve got a new weapon - I’m now using Skills in Viva to put it down once and for all.  

Introducing Viva Skills

Microsoft has been rapidly expanding the Viva suite to address employee-centric problems faced by nearly all organizations.  One of the most recent releases is Skills in Viva.  Imagine if you could have a comprehensive and up-to-date view of your skills, as well as access to personalized learning and career opportunities based on your skills. That’s what Skills in Viva can do for everyone in your organization, without any special effort.   In today's dynamic job market, continuous skill development is vital. However, employees often struggle to assess their skills and find appropriate learning resources and career paths. Many organizations use outdated, fragmented systems that don't reflect the evolving nature of modern workplace skills.  Skills in Viva, an AI-powered tool, utilizes data from LinkedIn and Microsoft Graph to address these issues. It helps you discover and improve your skills, showcase them to peers and managers, and find opportunities that align with your abilities and aspirations. 

How Viva Skills Works

  1. Skill Inferences with Microsoft Graph: Skills in Viva uses Microsoft Graph to derive skill inferences from various sources like emails, documents, meetings, chats, and more. For example, if you use Word frequently, it might infer writing skills. This feature helps uncover latent skills and track skill development over time. 
  2. Foundation from LinkedIn Skills Graph: Skills are complex and ever-changing. LinkedIn Skills Graph provides a foundational skill library based on real-time data from various industries and countries. It assists in understanding the diverse skills landscape and aligning your skills with industry standards. 
  3. AI-Powered Skills Profiling: Skills in Viva uses AI reasoning to intelligently infer your skills profile, considering the frequency, recency, and relevance of skill signals. This results in a comprehensive profile that can be customized to highlight your strengths and goals.
I hope this article gets you to think about your zombies using the new AI-enhanced capabilities we have at our fingertips today.  I’ll be right there beside you!  Screen shot of Microsoft Viva Skills Depth Report.    

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