Microsoft Pauses Daily Viva Briefing Messages

Viva Briefing Highlights Data from Viva Insights

Microsoft’s history with the generation of personal insights for users based on their work patterns and activities goes back to the purchase of Volometrix in 2015. Volometrix helped organizations to figure out how to be more efficient based on information stored in user mailboxes and calendars, which later became Delve Analytics, MyAnalytics, and finally Viva Insights.

Viva Insights still aims to help people understand how they work so that they can make better use of their time. The Viva Insights suite includes the Viva Insights add-in for Outlook, the Viva Insights app for Teams, the twice-monthly digest email, and the daily briefing email. All surface information gleamed from user interaction with Microsoft 365 captured in the Graph.

Pausing Viva Briefings

Message center notification MC486289 (December 15) says that Microsoft plans to pause sending the Viva Briefing daily email to users who signed up to receive these messages. From an email perspective, Viva Briefing (Figure 1) and digest messages are not real email because Viva injects them directly into user mailboxes. Although the messages are mail items, they do not pass through the Exchange Online transport system and therefore are immune to processing by components like mail flow rules. Microsoft stamps the messages as coming from a trusted sender, so that makes the direct injection acceptable!

Not much to highlight in this Viva Briefing message
Figure 1: Not much to highlight in this Viva Briefing message

Microsoft plans to pause sending Viva Briefing messages after 15 January 2023. Following the normal time required to deploy changes within Microsoft 365, no users should receive these messages after 1 February 2023. Resumption will follow sometime later in 2023. I haven’t received a Viva Briefing message since last Monday. Perhaps my work life isn’t interesting enough to warrant a briefing, or maybe the pause kicked in early for the holiday period.

More Personalized Information

The pause is to allow Microsoft to make changes to the content of the Viva Briefing messages “to be more personalized for each recipient.” I don’t know what this means because the whole point of Viva Briefing is to deliver personalized content to the recipient. For example, Figure 2 shows items found by Cortana (lurking under the covers of Viva Insights) to remind me about things I might like to follow-up. This information comes from email in my mailbox, so it’s highly personalized.

Some follow-up items highlighted in a Viva Briefing message
Figure 2: Some follow-up items highlighted in a Viva Briefing message

Cortana finds follow-up items by scanning messages for key words and phrases that indicate when the recipient or sender might be committing to an action. The first item in Figure 1 is an example where Cortana highlights that fact that the mailbox owner made a commitment to take an action. The second item is a variation where the mailbox owner asked a recipient to do something.

I don’t depend on the Viva Briefing to find follow-up actions for me, but I do find the prompts to be moderately useful. Sometimes, Cortana highlights something that I have forgotten to do and proves its worth. I suspect that people who have busier calendars and take on more commitments than I do find the briefing email more valuable.

Finding Who’s Using Viva Briefing

Exchange Online automatically enables new mailboxes to receive the Viva Briefing email. However, users won’t receive briefing messages unless they are active. For instance, if you create a test mailbox and only use it from time to time, there’s no email activity for Cortana to analyze and highlight, so there’s no reason to send a briefing. Perhaps the reduced level of email traffic over the last few days is the reason why I haven’t received a briefing message since Monday.

To discover what mailboxes are enabled for Viva Briefing, run PowerShell to find the set of user mailboxes and check each mailbox with the Get-UserBriefingConfig cmdlet. Here’s an example:

$EnabledMbx = 0; $NonEnabledMbx = 0; [array]$EnabledUsers = $Null; [array]$NonEnabledUsers = $Null
[array]$Mbx = Get-ExoMailbox -RecipientTypeDetails UserMailbox -ResultSize Unlimited
Write-Host ("Checking {0} mailboxes for Viva Briefing status" -f $Mbx.count)
ForEach ($M in $Mbx) {
   $Status = Get-UserBriefingConfig -Identity $M.UserPrincipalName
   If ($Status.IsEnabled -eq $True) {
      $EnabledUsers += $M.DisplayName
   } Else {
      $NonEnabledMbx ++
      $NonEnabledUsers += $M.DisplayName }
[string]$EnabledUsers = $EnabledUsers -Join ", " 
Write-Host ("Viva Briefing is enabled for {0} mailboxes and disabled for {1} mailboxes. The following mailboxes are enabled: {2}" -f $EnabledMbx, $NonEnabledMbx, $EnabledUsers)

Waiting for Briefings

Microsoft will likely describe the improvements they make to increase the personalized content in Viva Briefing messages when they relaunch the service. Until then, we’ll just have to track commitments and action items using Outlook tasks, To Do, Planner, Project, or any of the other methods available in Microsoft 365.

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4 Replies to “Microsoft Pauses Daily Viva Briefing Messages”

  1. Thanks for this. Really helpful. I had no notification from Microsoft – the daily briefings just stopped.
    Like you I find them a helpful prompt and I do miss them. I hope the new function is as good – sometimes improvements are’nt!

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