Every company needs to track goals, often referred to as objectives and key results, or OKRs for short. Traditionally, those have been tracked manually in a spreadsheet, but over recent years many startups have been building software to track this key company information.
Early last year, Microsoft launched Viva, a modern employee portal/intranet product. The company referred to it as an employee experience platform, but whatever you call it, it’s about being a central place to track work-related information for employees.
Last fall, the company bought one of those OKR tracking software startups, Ally.io, with the goal of incorporating that functionality into Viva. Today, the company announced a private preview of the new module, which provides a way for individuals, teams and companies to track their progress on their internal goals.
Vetri Vellore, corporate vice president for Microsoft Viva Goals, explained the new module. He came to Microsoft when Ally was acquired.
“We are announcing the new goal setting application within Viva to make it easy to now bring this purpose and alignment to every level of organization. It’s called Viva Goals, and Viva Goals is a new module in Microsoft Viva for business goal setting and management.”
Vellore says his team has been working hard over the past seven months, since the acquisition, to transform what was the Ally product into a module inside Viva. And he says a big reason behind the acquisition was to accelerate the product development roadmap.
“We decided to get acquired because we saw this as the best way to accelerate Ally’s mission — how do we bring purpose to work?”
He believes that getting everyone aligned on goals has always been a huge challenge for organizations of all sizes, but the pandemic really accelerated this need. That’s because with people spread out more, managers needed to communicate goals more clearly than ever before.
“One of the specific things we keep hearing about, this was even before the pandemic, but suddenly now, employees want more clarity on how their work aligns to the company’s purpose and mission,” he said.
And with Viva Goals, this involves building a place where employees can see how their individual work relates to the team and organization’s overall goals. Once managers input these goals, they can link to other work systems and the goal progress can update automatically from the information in these linked programs, or they can go in and update the progress manually, depending on the need.
Viva Goals is going into private preview starting today. Vellore says it should be generally available some time in Q3.