March 3, 2017 10:54:05 am
When it comes to communication within organisations, messaging app Slack is what comes to most minds. Google Hangouts and Facebook Messenger both have significant enterprise functionalities, and Microsoft’s recently-launched Teams should be available in India soon. But there is another app that no one talks about much, not even owners Microsoft, and that is Kaizala.
At Microsoft’s Future Decoded event in Mumbai, CEO Satya Nadella said the app has emerged as a de facto option for state governments like Andhra Pradesh, and even the Election Commission to boost productivity and keep in touch with their employees.
Kaizala is a product of Microsoft Garage, which focuses on experimental ideas and projects. The app, available in iOS and Android, has been rolled out only in India. It aims to fuse chat-based messaging and productivity, while including everyone, even those on 2G networks or using lower-end smartphones.
“We as a company are successful in the enterprise productivity space. But does that always translate on the mobile space? Probably not. So the question for us was what is productivity in the mobile space,” explained Rajiv Kumar, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft India in an interaction with Indianexpress.com.
“I have personally met over 2000 customers to understand their needs, aspirations around mobile productivity. If you look at China, it is leading in mobile world productivity, WeChat eptiomises that, you can do a lot of function on that, order pizza, pay bills, etc and chit-chat. India is behind on that, but a lot of people get their work done on the phone. However, none of the applications are designed for work, for productivity,” explained Kumar. This is the gap Kaizala hopes to fill.
So how does Kaizala position itself, when there’s already a Microsoft Teams in the picture? The difference is that the latter is for people and organisations, which are already deep into the Office 365 applications. Kaizala wants to ensure connectivity and productivity till the last person, even those who might not necessarily have access to Office 365 or full fledged desktop like say with Teams.
Unlike other messaging apps, Kaizala is geared towards productivity, and seeks to cut out some of the noise. For instance, when a message is sent out to a group on Kaizala, the replies and the data around it can be collated in the background, and mapped via Office 365 tools.
Kaizala has cards that can be used for specific functions like cards for survey, cards for tracking live location (with permission of the user), for entering CRM data for sales personnel, etc. The app also lets organisations, enterprises create their own specific cards suited for functions required for their company.
“We are implementing machine learning in the back with the Kaizala app. Conversation is becoming the platform on which many apps are being built. The app removes noise, unlike other chat apps. Say if you want to do a survey with all your employees, you can send it to everyone in the form of a card, and then see the data in one place, instead of going through individual messages,” Kumar said.
Kaizala has found popularity with the Andhra Pradesh government, which has been using it extensively to track various departments. The app was used to manage the Krishna Pushkaram festivals in 2016 in the state. Additionally, the app is also being used by the Election Commission to track data in the ongoing Uttar Pradesh, with data from polling booths being updated via the app.
“We have tested it to allow messages to be sent to over 1 million people. The groups in Kaizala are not flat like in other apps, you can create a hierarchy just like with other organisations,” pointed out Kumar.
Microsoft says all data used in Kaizala is hosted on local data centres based in India, which is another advantage, because it avoids a lot of the data sovereignty and judicial issues.
Disclaimer: The author traveled to Mumbai at Microsoft India’s invite for the Future Decoded event.
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