Microsoft India has made its mobile only group communications and work management application, Kaizala, generally available. The application can be used to communicate, collaborate and complete tasks bringing together desktop and mobile-only users, within or outside an organization.
The idea behind Kaizala
The Kaizala app was first showcased at Microsoft’s Future Decoded event about about five months back. Microsoft wanted to highlight how its hybrid cloud was being adopted by the public sector at a large scale. It was being used by the Andhra Pradesh Government as a mobile productivity chat app, that helped in bringing all the departments of the state government under one umbrella so that different departments could communicate, coordinate, manage and monitor all its activities and assignments.
The application was in a beta stage creating data assets but could be downloaded as a preview from the Microsoft store. At that time the company claimed that the app was created due to an insight about how digital transformation was being used to benefit various walks of life.
Who is using it?
Since then the app has been used by the Andhra Government, the Uttar Pradesh Government for its elections, the Niti Ayog, as well as YES Bank, Apollo Telemedicine, Republic TV, United Phosphorous and Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan. Microsoft India claims that the app has over 100,000 active users and 70,000 users are from the Andhra State Government, who use the app for day-to-day work.
What does it do?
Having said that, what does Kaizala actually do? Powered by the Microsoft Azure platform, the app helps organizations connect with large number of people inside and outside their organization, coordinate tasks across the value chain and gain insights. All that a user has to do is download the app get connected using the phone number which acts as a primary user ID.
“Microsoft Kaizala, a made for India product, brings together the two disparate worlds of mobile only messaging apps and a digitally integrated modern workplace. The product will make it possible for organizations to interact with everyone both within and outside, seamlessly and with rich content. Microsoft Kaizala has been optimized for 2G networks to enable connectivity in remote locations and offers features with offline support,” said Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India.
Microsoft Kaizala vs Microsoft Teams
But how is it different from Microsoft Teams, the chat-based workspace in Office 365? Maheshwari explains that Teams is designed to extend the power of the desktop world, which is office 365 to a mobile chat based capability. It operates in an environment within an organization where all the users are known as they are all an active part of the Office 365. From there, the users are enabled to use a single chat based platform or a close grouped platform to interact with each other.
“Kaizala on the other hand starts with the assumption that you are mobile first, that you are not part of an organization, that you may be completely independent person. Hence, Kaizala comes in from very large groups to be able to connect with the modern digital workplace. Simply put, Teams extends the office capabilities to mobiles but Kaizala comes from a mobile chat based platform and group chat, is able to access the capabilities inside an office.”
As a conclusion he stated that Teams is from a desktop first environment, where the user needs to be an Office 365 customer. But Kaizala is mobile first, hence the user need not be a Microsoft customer at all.
There are two versions
Coming out of beta, the app has two versions namely, Microsoft Kaizala and Microsoft Kaizala Pro. The regular version is for free, targeted at individuals and entails individual and group chat, media and document sharing, built in actions for polls, surveys and announcements (which is being called ‘Cards’), work management and offline and 2G support.
The Pro on the other hand is an enterprise version and is being priced at INR 130 ($2 approx.) per user per month. It has all the capabilities of the regular app but allows organizations to have full administrative control over their groups. It additionally hosts organization group management, user management, public group creation, custom action publishing, reporting and analytics, and system integration automation using Kaizala APIs.
Enterprise, data and privacy
“Using Microsoft Kaizala, organizations can connect with their employees and the extended value chain. The product offers a simple and familiar chat interface and goes beyond to make everyone more productive using Surveys, Polls, Jobs, Meetings and other actions, right in your chats,” said Rajiv Kumar, Corporate Vice President, Office Product Group, Microsoft India.
The made for India and in India product is focused on connecting the ‘unconnected parts of organizations’ whether they are in large and small enterprises or in the Government. The company claims that it has been optimized for India, as it can work online and offline, letting users work on it from remote areas without data connectivity.
Talking about surveys, polls and all the data that the app generates, Kumar states that all that Kaizala user gathers is owned by the user and the company does not have any say in it, just like an email.
“We give access to all the data which the user has collected and it can be exported to any third party application or tool for analytics. Just like in Office 365, there are huge amounts of data that is exchanged between individuals and companies, we are all about privacy and none of the data is shared or used anywhere. Hence the customer has access to it and if they can build or use a third party solution to analyze that data, we as a company have no say.”
Both the apps are available on iOS and Android, and can be integrated with Office 365. The company claims that the Kaizala app aims to connect the Indian mobile-first and mobile-only workforce and enable collaboration and work management.