This is a guest contribution by Suzie Robinson.
Kaizala (KAY-zah-lah), a Marathi word meaning ‘what’s happening’, is positioned as a rival to WhatsApp both at work and in our personal lives. This article provides an overview of the features I’ve found so far. In my next post, I’ll delve into its positioning with other apps / tools and go into more detail about how it can be used (and whether it’s any good).
Kaizala is available as a mobile app, and as a beta web-app in the browser.
For now, here’s a whistle-stop tour round Kaizala’s features.
Chats and Groups
This is familiar for WhatsApp users as you can search for content, share a variety of formats (camera, gallery, video, contact card, document, emojis, recording), plus voice and / or video call. It’s worth noting there are no limits to the number of people that can be included in a group.
You can also:
- Share ‘Actions’ (see below)
- Pin chats, star conversation bubbles, save parts of chats and mark posts as unread for ease of finding later
- Join and set up groups for people outside of your contacts – the group will generate a link, 10-digit code, or QR code that you can share with people to invite them in (phone numbers and other contact details then aren’t visible to anyone who isn’t already a contact)
- Find nearby groups and join them (if they’re open ones)
- Select a chat from Microsoft Teams and continue the conversation in Kaizala (with individuals, if you want greater connectivity you’ll need to set it up using Flow)
- Share two or more photos to automatically create a gallery card, which lets you switch between the images
- Play small games, like tic-tac-toe.
However, you can’t mute conversations for a specified time (they’re either on or off) or send gifs.
Actions are the practical and more work-based features of Kaizala. They are surprisingly versatile, can be quite detailed, and are absolutely mobile-first in their approach. Each has its own likes and comments thread, separate from the main conversation, and you can trigger reminders to prompt people to look at and complete them. I’ve listed all the Actions below but only explained the ones that are less obvious:
- Announcement – Short pieces of text that highlight some news (you can include attachments).
- Checklist – A “to do” style list (you can only untick your own ticked items).
- Job – A specific task that can be assigned to contacts (with deadlines included).
- Let’s meet – A meeting invite, which syncs to any calendar associated with the Kaizala account.
- Photo with location.
- Quick poll.
- Quiz – Gives a percentage correct result at the end, so can be used in conjunction with the training Action.
- Request attendance – Ask contacts to share their location, a photo, and some notes (which can be completed multiple times within a period set by the requester).
- Request location – Similar to the above but is just a location marker that can be updated throughout a given period.
- Share location.
- Submit bill – Take a photo of a receipt and provide basic information to send to a contact (which can then be forwarded or extracted in an admin report).
- Survey – As with the poll you can leave results open or closed to everyone, plus you can export the results.
- Training – Using photos, text, an embedded document, or a video, you can provide a short training session through the app.
Admin and links into Office 365
I’ve only used the personal version of the app so far, but it is automatically included in O365 licenses (if your company switches it on). With the O365 version there is a full admin screen and several places where Kaizala can be connected to other O365 apps:
- In Excel you can have a direct downloader, so results from your Actions can get drawn through into a spreadsheet.
- Microsoft Kaizala is now available as a Connector on Microsoft Flow, for example if someone used a specific hashtag on Twitter a message could be sent to a Kaizala group.
- There is a full suite of reports, not only on the app’s usage but also for users to download results from relevant Actions (it also connects into Power BI).
- Groups can be created centrally from AD information, so social workers from one region could be added to a group by an admin for example.
- You can create your own Actions as needed, which can be automated to arrive at the same time every day (a “request for location” at 6am for boiler engineers for example).
This is where you’ll find basic profile information, but there are a few things of note:
- The app can either be included in an O365 licence or downloaded for free from Android/Apple app stores – so your profile may or may not be hooked up to AD or other organisational databases (if it’s downloaded independently it can be integrated into O365 later, and private groups will be kept private).
- Pending Actions you’ve sent out, and starred messages are stored in here.
- You can link Kaizala to the web from here, although not all Actions are supported at present (they are honest that this is still under development).
If you have any questions about Kaizala, or if there is anything you would like me to include in the next article, please add a comment below or get in touch via Twitter.
All screenshots from Microsoft’s website.
Suzie has been an intranet practitioner since about 2007, and an intranerd for probably the same amount of time. She currently works for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group looking after their content and governance, but you may see her at a conference or two throughout the year (either on, or off, stage).