Update 09/23/2021 – Viva Connections public preview is available now. Steps defined in this article to create an LOB Teams application using PowerShell is not necessary now. Viva Connections app is available in Teams admin center. This new app replaces Step#3 & Step#4 in this article. You still has to go through the home site setup etc but do not need to use PowerShell to package the LOB app and upload it to Teams Admin center. Mobile app with Dashboard, feed and resources is available for Viva Connections with this release. Check all good details here Viva Connections Overview.
I got the opportunity to try out Viva Connections which is one of the 4 modules/components that make up Microsoft Viva. Viva Connections is the rebranded version of already announced Home site app. Simply put, it will bring the Intranet in SharePoint as an app to Microsoft Teams.
Viva Connections is available as part of existing Microsoft 365 and SharePoint license. If you already are licensed for SharePoint Online you should be able to use Viva Connections at no additional costs. Please follow license guidance from Microsoft for any license changes or updates. But as of now, if you already have SharePoint Online, you should be good to use Viva Connections.
- SharePoint app bar: Microsoft recommends that new SharePoint app bar Global navigation is setup and enabled in your Intranet. Check out my blog on how to setup Global navigation using SharePoint app bar.
- SharePoint home site: Microsoft recommends to have SharePoint home site as the landing page for Viva connections experience. Even though any Modern Communication site is eligible to be setup as landing page, recommendation is to have a home site.
- Modernization: Only Modern sites & pages can be viewed within Teams app. Classic pages and sites open in a browser session. To provide all inclusive Intranet experience from Teams, make sure to modernize if Classic sites and pages.
User setting up Viva Connections app for Teams should have SharePoint Admin or higher permissions & Teams admin or higher permission to upload and approve the app in Teams admin center. If you just have SharePoint admin permissions, setup the Connection app package and work with Teams admin to get it uploaded.
- Only modern sites & pages are supported to open in Teams. Classic pages & sites will open in a browser session. Hence the requirement #3 to modernize your Intranet sites.
- Viva connections for mobile is not available yet but is on roadmap for later this year.
- Configuration can be performed only via PowerShell as of today. UI option is not available.
Here are the high-level steps:
- Configure home site in your tenant.
- Enable and setup Global navigation using SharePoint app bar.
- Download the PowerShell script to generate Viva connections app package.
- Upload it to Teams admin center.
- Pin it via Global policy for all users. – Optional
- Add Viva Connections app in Teams desktop and enjoy the Intranet without leaving Teams.
First 2 steps are out of scope for this article.
Step #3 Download the script to generate Viva connection app package:
Watch this video from Microsoft on how to create the app package and then upload to teams. It is just downloading the script, providing required parameters (which I have listed below) and generating the package to upload in Teams admin center.
Gather below information before you start running the PowerShell.
- URL of the modern SharePoint Communication site: (starting with “https://”) that you want to be the landing experience for the app. It is highly recommended that this site be the Home of the tenant.
- Name: The name of your app, as it should appear in Teams app bar
- App short description (80 characters): A short description for your app which will appear in Teams app catalog
- App long description (4000 characters): A long description for your app which will appear in Teams app catalog
- Organization name: Your organization name. This will be visible on the app page in Teams app catalog in “Created By” section.
- Organization website: Your organization’s public website (needs to start with https://). This will be linked to your company’s app name on the app page in in Teams app catalog in “Created By” section.
- Icons: You are required to provided two PNG icons which will be used to represent your app in Teams; a 192X192 pixel colored icon for Teams app catalog and a 32X32 pixel monochrome icon for Teams app bar.
Connect to your tenant and authenticate with SharePoint admin permission. Run the PowerShell script you have downloaded. Viva-connections-desktop.ps1 and provide all the above parameters to generate the package.
Step #4 Upload app package in Teams admin center.
Step#6 Get back to Teams app, Search for it and Add. Pin it for all users using a Global policy as an optional step.
Here is my favorite feature in Microsoft Connections – Users will be able to search through all of SharePoint sites via pinned Connections app in Teams. (if Home site is enabled and used in Connections)
This process looks overwhelming but once you start setting things up, you will be done with it in no time. Viva Connections adds lot of value to any enterprise who are already using Teams & SharePoint without any customization.