Kaizala and Teams got big news last week. Kaizala went generally available worldwide with 40+ languages. Each region has data-centers to host data. In short: European data is hosted in EU. This matters especially when you connect Kaizala group into your Office 365: these groups are owned, managed and controlled by the tenant organization.
The huge news was of course the announcement to start bringing Kaizala capabilities into Microsoft Teams as a integrated offering. Over the next 12-18 months we should see how this unravels to Teams and Kaizala.
Playing with the thought and possible directions: either the Teams mobile client can manage different kinds of groups and identity Kaizala provides now (private and public groups, no authentication needed – people join in via links, invites, codes or emails (upcoming to Kaizala) or Kaizala mobile app reaches out towards Teams – making it possible to chat and interact with Teams groups directly from the Kaizala app. Or perhaps by the end of 2020 we have something that is a mix between those two but it will be definitely be a better and clearer scenario. Since Kaizala went to GA worldwide the app and service itself won’t be going away for a while.
During this quarter (by the summer) there should be a rough roadmap about Kaizala-Teams integration and it’s phases. I suspect it will be a lot like Skype->Teams roadmap was: it will give us hints but it will also be updating along the road a few times with 3-4 key release points.
However, this news should not stop us from using Kaizala now – instead quite the opposite. Even for organization that use Teams there can be useful scenarios for Kaizala. After all – Kaizala is now released for production with support.
Remember that you are not adding a new tool – you are answering to business needs. There may be a void currently that Kaizala can fill, or there are other tools in use that Kaizala replaces and processes that can be streamlined. If you are adding Kaizala just for kicks you are confusing your users and making work life more complex instead. It is a good idea always to use pilot groups, champions and new tech early adopters to discover benefits, best shared practices and to create a Playbook.
Make sure your users understand What, When and Why.
1. Reduce shadow-IT
This is a very obvious when. If you have groups in your organization that use WhatsApp (or something else) for company related matters they should be persuaded to move into Kaizala. This is about security and company management & owning the data. Typical groups can be cross-business expert groups, steering groups, groups of people in similar role. Perhaps they started to use some tool for chats earlier and just keep on using that. While Teams would be a perfect tool (from organization and playbook wise) they might not see it that way. They want to keep the chat separate from projects and ”office” tools. Perhaps they’d start to use Kaizala to have a secure messaging?
There are lots of light-weight needs for extranets. Organization needs to provide re-sellers or other partners latest information and documents and give them a channel for questions & feedback. These organizations may not have Office 365 and thus as reluctant to start using Teams .. and you would have to manage the external access and accounts as well. Creating a light-weight extranet with Kaizala is a better option than sharing files/information via email, consumer tools or people not updating/visiting frequently the legacy extranet due to difficult UI.
In these scenarios you should plan how to use Kaizala and how to manage that the users in the group are up to date (thus removing members who no longer work for re-sellers etc).
Kaizala also provides means to share documents and other information to these groups and you can create forms and other actions for feedback channels. Don’t forget that you can already integrate Kaizala into Teams, SharePoint, Office 365, Dynamics 365 and to other systems using Microsoft Flow.
3. Customer service
This is a similar scenario as #2 with one exception: it should be easy to join the group and utilize the information and it’s services. This could be a direct channel to share news/announcements that are not specific to any customer. Kaizala can also include custom actions: feedback/ticket forms, applications, requests for information etc. This should be attached and automated to internal processes (again: Flow is a good point to do the integration to Kaizala and hopefully there will be a Graph API ).
Of course a web page does, or can do, lots of these actions. But very often ticketing systems require sign-ins and other information. Using Kaizala you could link the user and organization into a phone number.
And it is possible to create a specific customer groups as well. Especially if that customer can not use Teams – you can have this as a alternative option. Kaizala custom actions could also replace portion of legacy ticketing system.
4. Field workers / random workforce / news & alerts sharing
Sometimes not all employees have Office 365 accounts in use. There might not be a business reason (cost, account management) for that. Information could be currently shared via a info-screen or just printed to clipboards. Organization could also have a lots of changes in the workforce (hourly workers, substitutes, short term employments, using freelancers) – you can’t go through the trouble of creating the account for these users for one day and then removing it. In these scenarios you can use Kaizala to share required information for them, allow chatting and also provide necessary tools for them via actions or just with forms.
Kaizala can provide a great option to use this as a ”info-screen + alerts + forms/actions in a pocket”. Sharing news, announcements and giving employees the option to fill in some forms/reports or use certain apps in Kaizala. The organization could have a list of all allowed phone numbers and remove automatically ex-employees from the group automatically.
And in some cases Kaizala could be a lightweight info-screen (with alerts) in a pocket for all employees even when Office 365 is in use for everyone. This overlaps easily with Teams or Yammer, so careful planning is required to answer WHY and to WHAT Kaizala is used to.
5. Separate work chat from more off-duty chat
This is not actually a business case, but a personal benefit.Some people don’t want to use Teams (or Yammer) for off-duty chatting like ”where to go for lunch”, arranging afterworks, sharing photos of weekend activities etc. WhatsApp is used for this very often, but Kaizala could be used to create a all company off-duty group (the feature to add automatically group members is on Kaizala’s roadmap). That way WhatsApp could be left to truly personal use that is not work-connected any way.
And yes: mute is available for Kaizala groups.
+1 : Communities or groups of people across different companies
While I belong to several WhatsApp groups of different topics, interest groups, professional networks etc I see there is a good space for Kaizala to take over some of those. Kaizala has a nice benefits but one stands out especially in this case shadowing WhatsApp: user’s phone number is not visible to other group members. This alone creates a lot more privacy than WhatsApp. Joining the Kaizala group is easy: use a link, code or QR Code. Email invite is coming too.
My other blog posts about Kaizala:
Do you want to experiment with Kaizala and see what +1 scenario means in reality? I created a Teams Community Kaizala group. Join in with Kaizala group join code 35942 28890.