Professional services firm, RealFoundations, activates a new level of knowledge sharing among globally distributed workforce with Microsoft Viva Topics 

Published on July 5, 2022


RealFoundations is a professional services firm dedicated to helping organizations that develop, own, operate, service, occupy, and invest in real estate, work smarter. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, they serve 15 of the top 25 largest global property managers and nearly all the top 25 largest global office, retail, industrial, and multi-family owners, with more than 300 client-serving professionals, across eight global offices.

Looking for a tool to help them build their knowledge network, rounding out their knowledge activation initiative, RealFoundations turned to Microsoft Viva Topics.


RealFoundations’ knowledge initiative began with the adoption of Yammer – allowing employees across the organization to communicate more seamlessly, share ideas and feedback, and discuss topics of interest – and quickly moved into the adoption of SharePoint, where the organization now houses all organizational content. Today they also leverage Microsoft Teams and other Microsoft 365 applications.

But these applications didn’t fulfill all the needs for RealFoundations’ knowledge activation initiative, they needed a solution that would allow employees to more easily access tacit knowledge – knowledge that is beyond what they have learned from their own experiences or training. They needed a tool that would allow them to capture, curate, disseminate, and use enterprise knowledge companywide. They needed new tools to build a knowledge network. “We wanted the organization to get to a whole other league of knowledge activation,” stated Chris Shaida.

RealFoundations turned to Microsoft for their solution and found Microsoft Viva Topics, part of the Microsoft Viva employee experience platform.


RealFoundations uses Viva Topics to discover and create topics across several key information types throughout the organization including capabilities, artifacts, industry terminology, related professional services, and service offerings. With each topic, employees can access documents and project materials, as well as related organizational experts. In addition, RealFoundations encourages its employees to interact and collaborate with clients on their shared platform so that Viva Topics can pull knowledge from these interactions into the appropriate Topic pages.

"We believe that knowledge activation is one of the three most important strategic objectives of our business."

Chris Shaida (CEO, RealFoundations )


In years past, RealFoundations would have relied on a team of interns or other resources to sort through, organize, and classify the organization’s vast collection of documents. While editing topics does require some time and dedication from a few team members, CEO Chris Shaida estimates that by taking advantage of the power of AI with Viva Topics, the organization has saved more than 30,000 hours – the equivalent of 15 full-time employees dedicated solely to knowledge classification for an entire year.

Their employees have also benefited from Viva Topics. They now have frictionless access to knowledge throughout the organization and an improved knowledge-sharing process for clients. Staff are empowered with the ability to find and access unique knowledge faster, with greater visibility into their product and service offerings. By including their clients in this process, RealFoundations has set a precedent among professionals in the industry for knowledge activation initiatives, exemplifying how to adopt Microsoft 365 products to roll out a truly modern workplace that enhances collaboration, knowledge discovery, sharing, and reuse.