Teams + Kaizala + Flow = working together beyond organization boundaries

Microsoft Kaizala was originally a Garage-project tool developed to Indian market to address collaboration needs for Field Workers. Since then it has gotten a lots of wind beneath it’s wings. While everyone can install Kaizala on their phones (iOS, Android) the real potential can be unlocked with Kaizala Pro that is being added to Office 365 subscriptions worldwide.

Kaizala is a collaboration tool that is intended to be used with Field/Firstline Workers, making it easy to connect and coordinate with them. While this tool was first targeted towards emerging markets, there are plenty of use cases to use it along with Office 365, especially when you can connect Kaizala and Microsoft Teams together.

With Kaizala you can create a dynamic group of people you can collaborate with – without a need to assign Office 365 licenses. Kaizala application is also very lightweight (like WhatsApp) to use and you can join people to the same group with just a phone number – there is no need to manage user accounts or think about external access. This makes Kaizala very agile tool.

Some ideas when to use Kaizala

  • Short time working groups like expos or conferences, when you have both internal and external participants 
  • Collaborating with multiple partners on and off – there is more need for a chat than co-authoring files 
  • Using Teams is not an option for some reason (authentication for example)
  • A working site of a customer, where multiple companies work together towards the same goal and there is a need to coordinate work and reach out to everyone easily
  • Kaizala has real low bandwidth requirements (it is really lightweight and was developed towards emerging markets first) 

What about Teams + Kaizala using a Flow?

Yes, we love to use Teams. It is our Work Interface, our UI to access Office 365 and resources we need. When I work in my work environment I don’t want to switch apps to Kaizala and we are again in a situation when we are getting a extra tool.. So we go with the Flow.

Once I got curious about connecting Teams with Kaizala, I soon found out that there are already Flow triggers and actions available.

I created a channel into one team for Kaizala communications. This way I can participate into Kaizala messaging directly from within Teams – and I can see (in Teams channel) what people are talking about in Kaizala group. 

Using some flows I was able to create following scenarios:

  • When a message is posted into Kaizala, it is posted into Teams
  • When a message is posted into Teams (with specific prefix) it is posted into Kaizala (checking also that it is not posted back to Teams 🙂 )
  • when a photo is taken in Kaizala, it is posted to team files and into Teams
  • When a document is uploaded into Kaizala, it is uploaded into team files

What I didn’t add was sending a file into Kaizala from Teams, but since actions are there, it should be possible to create. And once Flow runs out of possibilities, there is also a REST API that can be used with Kaizala.

Connector is using my identity, so this part would require a bit of more work to make it easier to follow. 
Posting to Teams is easy with already existing connectors.

When posting messages to Kaizala, they will be posted under connector’s identity – so this too is a bit confusing, since I am using the same account. However, I added the poster’s name into messages. 

Administering Kaizala 

If you want to try it, you can activate Kaizala Pro using URL https://manage.kaiza.la/ 

You need to be Office 365 Admin and have Kaizala installed on your phone to be able to activate it to your organization. 

There you can set up your organization groups, add admins and users. Organizational group policies can be also managed separately, so you can have internal organizational groups if need – requiring Office 365 logins.

You can see organizational and public groups in the same screen. You can map existing public groups into organization groups.
Managing group users is easy – you can even add users in bulk (CSV). 
Group policies can limit what can done inside a group.
You can manage group actions in the admin UI too.

More..

Read more from Microsoft Blog post:  

https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Microsoft-Kaizala-Blog/Coordinate-work-across-dynamic-networks-of-people-using/ba-p/280233

What next? First, Kaizala needs to be released officially in more countries (28 currently). Then I hope that there will be a better Out of the Box support to integrate Teams with Kaizala – adding a tab + bot would be great. Also making it possible to automatically flow files/uploaded content into Teams from Kaizala would be good. 

Meanwhile, I will keep on experimenting with Teams + Kaizala..

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