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Microsoft Buys Startup Ally.io To Enhance Viva Platform

Microsoft is adding objectives-based metrics to its Microsoft Viva platform via an acquisition this week of Ally.io, a startup in the growing OKR (objectives and key results) market.

Microsoft acquired Ally.io on Thursday for an undisclosed amount, the two companies announced. The Seattle, Wash.-based, 250-person startup will be transitioned into Microsoft's Viva efforts "over the next year," said Kirk Koenigsbauer, COO and corporate vice president of Experiences + Devices at Microsoft, in a blog post describing the deal. In the meantime, he indicated Ally.io customers should not experience any changes or interruptions to their services.

Those services, as Koenigsbauer described them, revolve around "aligning employee work to [a] company's strategic mission and core priorities." Ally.io does this via software and consulting services that help companies develop a framework of OKRs, which are aimed at identifying an organization's main goals, as well as the key steps it needs to take to achieve those goals. OKRs theoretically provide a way for managers to assess employee performance, and for a company as a whole to measure its overall progress.

According to Ally.io CEO and founder Vetri Vellor in a separate blog post, since its founding in 2018, Ally.io's customers -- over 1,000 of them spread across 80 countries -- have created over 1 million OKRs.

Microsoft intends to use Ally.io's offerings to power a new application within Viva. In addition, its solutions will be used in other Microsoft software and services, according to Koenigsbauer.

"Ally.io and Microsoft Viva will enrich how people and teams come together to build alignment and achieve better business outcomes," Koenigsbauer said. "Over the next year, we'll be investing to bring Ally.io into the Microsoft cloud, evolve the existing integrations with Microsoft Teams, and weave Ally.io into Viva, Office, Power BI and the broader set of Microsoft 365 apps and services."

Microsoft Viva is Microsoft's "employee experience platform" that had its debut in February of this year. Viva currently has four applications:

  • Viva Connections provides a news feed and permits content sharing.
  • Viva Insights is for employee time management.
  • Viva Learning gives employees access to learning libraries.
  • Viva Topics is used to surface information within organizations.

Of these four, only Viva Topics is currently generally available. The Ally.io addition will up the tally to five Viva apps, which get surfaced through the Microsoft Teams collaboration service.

Ally.io's CEO and founder suggested the acquisition would improve Microsoft's solutions, as well as competitor Slack's collaboration solution, too.

"As a part of Microsoft Viva, Ally.io will continue to give leaders, teams, and individuals the ability to align and focus everyday work to the company's most important objectives," Vellor said. "We will help bring goals and purpose to wherever the team is doing work, including Teams, Outlook, Slack, and the other systems you use every day."

He added the two companies will share more information about the integrations between Viva and Ally.io "over the coming months."

About the Author

Gladys Rama (@GladysRama3) is the editorial director of Converge360.

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