Kaizala, a Microsoft Garage project introduced in 2016, was formally launched as a beta in February this year by Satya Nadella at the Future Decoded event in Mumbai. In a press event in New Delhi today, Microsoft officially debuted the new product – Microsoft Kaizala.
The mobile-only product designed for large group communications and work management and makes it simple for organizations to seamlessly communicate, collaborate and complete tasks, bringing together desktop users and mobile-only users who may be within or outside their organizations.
Microsoft Kaizala users can simply get connected using their mobile phone numbers as their primary unique ID. The apps are optimized for slower 2G networks and come with offline support.
A month ago, I reported that the independent app was integrated with Office 365 via the new Kaizala Management Portal – manage.kaiza.la – that provides management, reporting and extensibility capabilities for Kaizala. As it is clear now, it was launched as the company was onboarding early partners gearing up for the launch today.
Instead of competing with WhatsApp or Skype, the chat-based productivity app is focused on helping teams and businesses collaborate using the seamless instant messaging experience most users are comfortable with already. Early on, it found success and a lot of buzz with Government of Andhra Pradesh employing the same for real time governance initiatives. More than 30 government departments and over 70,000 users in the state government now use Microsoft Kaizala for day-to-day work.
The Digital India initiative is focused on harnessing technology to help India transform. 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.
– Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India
The company also announced the launch of the enterprise version – Kaizala Pro – that allows organizations to have full administrative control of their groups. It comes with additional features that include user and group management, system integration and automation using Microsoft Kaizala APIs, advanced reporting and analytics, ability to publish custom actions, ability to create public groups, and organizational profile and directory.
Of course, both Microsoft Kaizala and Microsoft Kaizala Pro, integrate with Office 365. The product is made with a focus on the Indian market, and during the Q&A, Anant asserted the there are no immediate plans to take it to other markets across the globe.
Prior to the official launch today, Microsoft Kaizala has been piloted with several Indian organizations such as YES Bank, Apollo Telemedicine, Republic TV, and United Phosphorous Limited and government institutions like NITI Aayog and Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan.
While Microsoft Kaizala is free to download and use, Kaizala Pro is available for ₹130 ($2) per user per month. Any employee using Kaizala and managed by an organization must have a Kaizala Pro license.
Microsoft Kaizala is available in India on iOS, Android, and Windows 10 Mobile. Although the press kit has no mention of Windows 10 Mobile, the app is available on Windows Store and works just fine. I also confirmed the same with a Microsoft spokesperson.
Microsoft Kaizala 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. The company will aim to help connect the unconnected parts of organizations – whether they are in large and small enterprises or in the Government.