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.
First you need to either purchase Viva Topics ($5/user/month) or sign up for the one month free trial for 25 users.
Then you will get the Topic Experiences service in the Org Settings section of the M365 Admin center.
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.
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.
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)
Lastly, you will configure the Topic Center SharePoint site where Topics will be managed.
The Topic Center
Once you have configured everything the system will create the Topic Center.
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.