The organizational side of Microsoft VIVA Topics

Turning on Microsoft VIVA Topics is not that difficult from a technical point of view, but how should you adjust your organization to guarantee the result of Topics? In other words, what is the organizational side to set up knowledge management? Technology is only the enabler to achieve a certain business advantage.

Ingredients for successful knowledge management

To apply successful knowledge management, at least 3 ingredients are needed. There are more but let’s keep it simple 😉 In this blog, the focus is on the ingredient: Organization. How do you place knowledge management within your organization?

3 ingredients for succesfull Knowledge Management


Knowledge management should be integrated into the organization as a process. This links the process to actual budget and resources. The best thing is when this process can be linked to the business strategy.

Organizational roles

To manage Topics well, you need at least the following four roles:

4 Organizational Knowledge Management Roles

Knowledge Admins

The Knowledge Admin is responsible for setting up and configuring Topics. The working area of the Knowledge Admins mainly takes place in the Office 365 Admin Center.

A Knowledge Admin should at least have the role of SharePoint Admin, but Global Admin makes their lives a lot easier – but that’s more of a security issue.

The Knowledge Admin also has the task of distributing the necessary licenses to Knowledge Admins, Knowledge Mangers, Topic Contributors and Topic Viewers.

Office 365 Admin Center

Knowledge Managers

The Knowledge Manager is responsible for managing the Topics. This means that this role is more on the business side. Knowledge Managers are responsible for the life cycle of a Topic.

Topic LifeCycle

Because they are responsible for the life cycle of a Topic they need to have a broad knowledge of the company itself.


Once a Topic is suggested by the ai it will be visible in the UI!

A Knowledge Manager works primarily on the Manage Topics page in the Topic Center.

Topic Center

In the Topic Center the Knowledge Manager can:

  1. View the AI Found Topics
  2. Validate the found Topics and publish them
  3. Remove topics you don’t want to see

Another important task of Knowledge Managers is to edit existing Topics and manually create new Topics. Employees with a good general knowledge of your company can be good candidates for the role of knowledge manager. Such people may not only have the knowledge to know whether topics are valid or not, but may also know people within the company who are related to those topics.

Topic Contributors

Topic Contributors are  employees  in  the organization who not only have Topic Viewer  permissions, but who can also edit an existing Topic or create a new one. They have an important role in manually “curating” the information on a Topic page  (both AI and manually provided) to ensure its quality.

Employees with Topic Viewer permissions see an Edit button on topic pages, which allows them to update and publish a Topic. 

A Topic Contributor can also create and publish a new topic through the Topic Center.

Topic Viewers

Topic viewers are  employees  in  the  organization who  “light up”  Topics in modern SharePoint sites,Microsoft Search through SharePoint and and the Topic Center. They can see more details about a topic on the Topic page.

Topic Card in a news article (Currently GA!)

In the figure above you can see the underlined Topic School of Fine Art so that you as an employee know that this is a Topic. By hovering on it with the mouse, a Topic pop-up becomes visible.

An employee only sees those Topics for which he is authorized! Safety and privacy first!

Furthermore, here is where Topic Contributers (and Knowledge Managers) do their Topic curating magic!


By activating these roles within your organization, you enable the organization to safeguard the entire knowledge lifecycle. The result of this is that employees are presented with more and more, better but above all increasingly relevant knowledge within the context of their work.

This allows employees to make better decisions about what both the employee and the organization need to grow! Once more, it is not about the underlying technology but about the business advantage that you can achieve with it!

Sander Derix
I want to know what drives you as a business, what your goals are, what capabilities you need so I can design and help realize solutions that are both realistic and manageable. In short getting you to the next level. I do this partly by the use of technology. I mainly focus on the services of Microsoft 365.

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