07.11.2023

AI in knowledge management: Viva Topics and Microsoft 365 Copilot

A breath of fresh air in knowledge management – how Viva Topics and Microsoft 365 Copilot are harnessing the power of AI to revolutionize knowledge management.

Knowledge is crucial, as everyone knows. And yet, many companies have still not established lasting procedures and structures for knowledge management. Especially now, with young people no longer sticking with one company for the long term and the baby boomers approaching retirement, comprehensive and lasting knowledge management is a critical competitive advantage for any company.

But organizations are diverse, and so are their requirements for long-term knowledge management. There is often also a lot of uncertainty about finding the right solution. But one thing is certain: Humans alone are no longer able to generate knowledge out of the wealth of data present within an organization. There is simply too big a range of data, with too many tools.
 

One problem, various solutions

Microsoft offers not one, but two AI-based solutions that can help to meet this challenge: Viva Topics and Microsoft 365 Copilot. They should be considered individually and in combination for the various requirements an organization faces.

Viva Topics was launched in 2021 as a solution in which artificial intelligence provides suggestions to support people in the process of building and maintaining a knowledge base and making that knowledge available in the workflow in M365. 

This approach, which forges an alliance between people and AI, has made Viva Topics increasingly popular in the past year. However, now that Microsoft 365 Copilot is available as another potential knowledge management solution, people are wondering if Viva Topics has become obsolete.

What is Microsoft 365 Copilot?

Microsoft 365 Copilot is the personal assistant in the workflow in Microsoft 365. The AI-based Copilot assistance feature can answer queries in natural language based on company data in M365, taking productivity to the next level.

Viva Topics or Microsoft 365 Copilot? Viva Topics AND Microsoft 365 Copilot!

A closer look at the two AI-based solutions reveals that they serve completely different use cases in knowledge management that are not a contradiction in terms. Quite the opposite, in fact; they can complement each other outstandingly.
 

Viva Topics analyzes, processes, and organizes data into knowledge

Topics uses AI to analyze an organization’s data and information and automatically identify, process, and organize them as readily accessible knowledge. This knowledge goes into what are known as topics, which allow for access to a full range of knowledge on a particular subject. The topics are reviewed by subject matter experts within the company and enriched by adding further information where applicable before they are published. There is direct interaction between AI and the subject matter experts. Viva Topics always forms the basis, making it the centerpiece of a curated, verified knowledge management platform.

Which requirements is Viva Topics suited to meet?

Viva Topics is the ideal solution for any company that wants to provide a single point of truth for its knowledge (post verification) while at the same time providing the entire organization with a lightweight way to capture knowledge in the Microsoft environment.

Microsoft 365 Copilot enables extraction of information with natural language

With Microsoft 365 Copilot, users can use natural language in the form of prompts to extract information from a company’s M365 data. At the same time, this feature enables Microsoft 365 Copilot to link this information to its current context and/or additional company information. This means Microsoft 365 Copilot can supply the answer on an ad-hoc basis with knowledge based on a specific question. Microsoft 365 Copilot helps enhance productivity. It has many advantages as a tool, especially for companies whose employees have to work and respond quickly to specific situations. Interactions with internal and external customers are made faster and simpler with assistance from Copilot, for example. In addition, not only can employees save valuable time when searching for information or follow-ups from meetings or after vacation, but Microsoft 365 Copilot also helps with summarizing extensive documents or reports or creating new content.
 

Viva Topics and Microsoft 365 Copilot tap into the full power of AI, together

Each of the two solutions covers large areas of the requirements that apply to knowledge management; there is no overlap. This means the maximum benefit in terms of knowledge management lies in combining the two approaches, as it is the only way the AI can analyze, process, and organize things, which further improves the answers to questions put to Microsoft 365 Copilot.

For example, using Copilot in Topics can make it possible to summarize complex topics across multiple documents while gaining additional insights. At the same time, the fact that humans are involved in validating the AI suggestions offered in Topics ensures quality, credibility, and accuracy. This credibility is also crucial when the chat function of M365 is used.

Topics and Microsoft 365 Copilot complement each other outstandingly well, and when combined, they cover all of the most common and most important requirements that apply to modern knowledge management. With Topics and Microsoft 365 Copilot, both an AI-supported database as a single point of truth for company knowledge and topic-based dialogue with an AI are no longer visions of the future – they’re reality right now!

Find the right solutions for the challenges you face in knowledge management

Introducing knowledge management on a scalable, lasting basis within a company, thereby making the company’s knowledge accessible and available across generations, is less of a technological challenge and more a challenge of content and organization.

You don’t have to tackle this challenge alone! Our experts are happy to help. With our standardized approach, we make certain your chosen solution delivers true added value for your company and your employees as they go about their day-to-day work. We can assist you with a wide range of tasks:

Planning an organization-wide knowledge management structure that fits you in terms of both strategy and content

Reviewing and meeting the technical requirements for your chosen solution

Piloting and subsequently rolling out Viva Topics and/or Microsoft 365 Copilot

Do you have any questions? Please feel free to contact us!

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Bärbel Biste

Manager | Employee Experience

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Pascal Brunner

Head of Modern Work Switzerland

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