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Kevin McDonnell

Kevin McDonnell

Group Manager - Modern Workplace @ Avanade, Co-host GreyHatBeardPrincess, Viva Explorer

Sevenoaks, United Kingdom


Inspired by those in the community that have gone before me, I try to share what I learn by looking at what the services from Microsoft can offer, understanding challenges people have and bringing those two things together. Having learned from 13 years in Financial Services, I moved into the world of consulting, currently acting as Group Manager - Modern Workplace at Avanade.

I am lucky enough to have been awarded as a Microsoft MVP in Microsoft 365 Apps and Services, participate as a Viva Explorer and co-host the modern workplace podcast GreyHatBeardPrincess as well as blogging and sharing videos.


Area of Expertise

  • Information & Communications Technology


  • Office 365
  • Office 365 SharePoint Productivity
  • SharePoint
  • Microsoft Search
  • Microsoft 365
  • Microsoft Viva
  • Viva Goals
  • OKRs
  • Viva Topics
  • Viva Insights
  • Viva Connections
  • Viva Learning
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Teams Governance

Taking your Microsoft Search beyond Microsoft 365 with Azure Logic Apps

Bono still can't find what he is looking for after all these years but with Microsoft Search, it has become easier to get to the right content. But what about when that content isn't in Teams, SharePoint or Outlook? Well with Microsoft Search, you can now bring in all sorts of external content and all it takes are a few Logic Apps.

This session will show you how you can build out an event based index for your search and help your users get the content that they need when they need it. It will also show how this can help with your knowledge management needs using Viva Topics to surface knowledge wherever it is held.

Using Salesforce? This can help. Content in your own bespoke apps? No problems. What's that? You want to search for Dataverse data? Oh yes, I'll cover that too.

Microsoft Viva and Syntex Workshop

Learn about how Microsoft Viva and SharePoint Syntex can help your organisation improve their Employee Experience through greater engagement, supportive knowledge management and automated processes with AI.


- What is Microsoft Viva and why does Employee Experience matter
- Introduction to the Viva pillars
- Hands-on Viva Connections Workshop
- Hands-on Viva Topics Workshop
- Hands-on SharePoint Syntex Workshop

Is The Intranet Dead?

With the hybrid working climate, there is an increased risk of employees feeling out of touch, detached, frustrated and unproductive. Having a static intranet that does not understand the user's information needs, will only increase this lack of connection.

The personalised intranet provides a genuinely collaborative platform that will manage, organise, and make the content, shared knowledge, and resources accessible and available across your organisation while meeting governance rules.

Modern intranets support:

Workplace culture
Social interaction 
Strong user experience 
Knowledge and insights sharing 
Improved employee experiences 

Join Kevin McDonnell as he talks through how integrating SharePoint, Microsoft Viva, OneDrive, Microsoft Teams, and the rest of Microsoft 365 will empower hybrid working. We will demonstrate how your organisation can achieve a heightened employee experience through implementing an intranet that meets the needs of your colleagues.

Building a culture of knowledge sharing with Viva Topics

Project Cortex is now out in the wide world as SharePoint Syntex and Viva Topics but was does that mean to your organisation? Will it be unloved and unused as siloed remain and rigid structures with mile high walls remain?

This session will arm you with ways of creating a culture of learning and sharing that can make the benefit of tools like Viva Topics to improve the employee experience, reduce the key person risks and ultimately create a better performing and more productive organisation.

The GreyHatBeard Panel on the etiquette of Microsoft 365

The GreyHatBeard regulars (Al Eardley, Garry Trinder and Kevin McDonnell) will be joined by some special guests to challenge each other on the best tips around the etiquette of using Microsoft 365 services. When should you use Hub Sites? Should you @mention a channel? When to use Planner vs ToDo vs Excel? When should you use Teams Wikis? - obvs never on that one!

All set up like a panel show with a spectacular finish with the two “winners” squaring off to defend the indefensible

An introduction to knowledge management with Viva Topics

When Project Cortex was announced at Ignite 2019, there was a huge level of excitement about the transformation it could make to an organisation’s ability to use knowledge. However, many didn’t consider what they would need to plan ahead for so that they could get the most from services like SharePoint Syntex and Viva Topics. This session will follow on from my knowledge management series at to talk through finding your knowledge, organising it, making it available with Viva Topics and how you can build a culture of knowledge within your organisation

“Hello, can anyone hear me?” - The etiquette of meetings in Microsoft Teams

With the current global pandemic, organisations are moving to far more meetings held online and for many of those, Microsoft Teams is the place to go for that. However, for many people, this is either the first time that they have run online meetings or the sheer number of them is greatly increased. People are not aware of the ways that Teams can be used to help support them in keeping attendees engaged and how to make sure that everyone behaves in similar ways.

The etiquette of meetings in Microsoft Teams will help both meeting hosts and attendees with useful tips on making the most effective meetings, whether they be a short daily stand up or a full day workshop. It will run through how to prepare, how to share, how to run and how to engage in a way that helps make the most wherever people are.

Microsoft Search - the what, the why and the how

Heard about Microsoft Search but not quite sure where it fits in? Unsure how you can use the search on your own pages? Wondering if you can bring in other content? Let me guide you through what can done now and what is coming soon, balancing the different types of search.

Covering how Microsoft Search and SharePoint Search live harmoniously together (if treated right), this session will show all the benefits of having all your search in one place can give that feeling of consistency to end users and demonstrate that you don't have to lose functionality to do it.

Microsoft Viva - what it is and why you really should care about it

Employees, huh? What are they good for? Well, actually, everything for your organisation and that is why employee experience is such a big topic at the moment. The global coronavirus pandemic has accelerated changes in ways of working that were already taking place but the toll that this change has had on your staff is not always thought about.

Microsoft Viva is the new employee experience platform from Microsoft but the great news is that it is built into all those services that most of you are already using like Teams, SharePoint and the wider Microsoft 365. This session will explore what Viva actually is and how you can use it in your own organisation to support plans to improve life for your employees.

Building engagement with custom dashboard webparts in Viva Connections

The power of Viva Connections is that it makes it easier for organisations to surface data and content from other services into a single page in Teams, providing that personalised hub for employees. Empowering employees to be able to be more focused and productive helps bring about better connections to what they need to do.

This session will show what you can do with Viva Connections to bring other systems like Salesforce, Project Online or even your own bespoke apps to front and centre of your employee experience without making everyone remember lots of different URLs.

Scottish Summit 2022 Sessionize Event

June 2022 Glasgow, United Kingdom

Kevin McDonnell

Group Manager - Modern Workplace @ Avanade, Co-host GreyHatBeardPrincess, Viva Explorer

Sevenoaks, United Kingdom


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