Teams Includes People Insights in User Profile Card

People Insights from LinkedIn and Viva Insights Appear

Following up last week’s news about the ability to add pronouns to the user profile card, the change announced in message center notification MC521886 (1 March) to bring insights about people to profile cards displayed in Teams is rolling out. This is Microsoft 365 roadmap item 116006. Microsoft expects to finish the deployment worldwide by the end of March.

Teams has been able to display information about LinkedIn contacts in user profile cards for a year or so. What’s changing is that instead of the basic information about someone such as their current job, experience, skills, and education, you now see “insights” about a person such as a notice when their birthday arrives (Figure 1).

The Teams user profile card flags a contact's birthday

People insights
Figure 1: The Teams user profile card flags a contact’s birthday

Reaching Out to Your Contact

As this is the Teams version of the profile card, it should come as no surprise that you can send a chat message to your contact to congratulate them about their advanced age. Alternatively, the Say happy birthday button is a drop-down menu with options to start a chat, have an audio or video call, or send email. The latter option launches the OWA compose message screen with an oddly uppercased recipient address (Figure 2). Given the widespread use of machine learning and artificial intelligence within Microsoft 365, you’d expect that Teams would compose the congratulatory message too! Alas, you’ll have to come up with some suitable text.

Teams uses OWA to generate a blank email of congratulations

People insights
Figure 2: Teams uses OWA to generate a blank email of congratulations

Once you respond to the prompt for your contact’s happy birthday, the insight disappears.

Other People Insights for the User Profile Card

Apart from birthdays, the insights you see include posts a contact makes to their LinkedIn account (shown in the LinkedIn tab), career changes, and pending meeting invitations. Microsoft emphasizes that the same insights are available in other Microsoft 365 apps, like OWA and Outlook.

I have never seen a birthday notification in Outlook for Windows, OWA, or the latest build of the Monarch client, but maybe I use the wrong versions. Microsoft’s documentation describes how Microsoft 365 generates people insights from LinkedIn and Viva Insights and how apps display the insights. Some delay occurs before Viva Insights generates information to show like “RSVP nudges” for outstanding invitations. The page shows OWA highlighting a contact’s birthday. Perhaps it’s a case where if you deal with an insight in one app, Microsoft 365 hides the insight for the other apps.

More Integration Everywhere

I’m beginning to think that Microsoft rewards engineers for finding ways to stitch different Microsoft 365 components together. Adding people insights to the user profile card is an example. Some of the information added recently, like someone’s local time zone, is very useful. I’m not sure about the latest batch.

Another example of stitching components together is the appearance of the Storyline post option in the new item menu for the latest OWA and Monarch clients (Figure 3). This action posts a text message to Viva Engage (aka Yammer) to appear on a user’s storyline.

The Storyline Post option in the Monarch client
Figure 3: The Storyline Post option in the Monarch client

I don’t think any great demand exists in the ranks of Outlook users to do such a thing but obviously the powers-that-be inside Microsoft consider this to be a very good thing. Hopefully, Microsoft’s famed telemetry will reveal the truth and persuade Microsoft to quietly drop the notion.

A common complaint I hear from Microsoft 365 administrators is that they wish Microsoft paid more attention to making the apps bulletproof instead of delivering new functionality that no one wants. But it’s important to keep engineers and product managers busy, and that’s why we see some of the changes that appear in message center notifications. I like some of the people insights I see, but know that other won’t. Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.

Insight like this doesn’t come easily. You’ve got to know the technology and understand how to look behind the scenes. Benefit from the knowledge and experience of the Office 365 for IT Pros team by subscribing to the best eBook covering Office 365 and the wider Microsoft 365 ecosystem.

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