A common struggle for organizations is figuring out the best way to bridge the gap in communication between corporate offices and their firstline workers – the people who work in service or task-oriented roles across a variety of industries such as retail, hospitality or manufacturing. Oftentimes, associates in these roles want a more convenient and secure way to connect with their team, view company resources, and manage their schedules or shift changes. As a solution, Microsoft has developed Kaizala – the messaging app that brings unique capabilities to Microsoft 365, with its ability to connect and engage people both inside and outside of an organization’s directory – including contract workers, vendors, partners, suppliers, and customers.
Sound a little familiar? Microsoft Teams already offers features like instant chat, mobile applications, and even Shifts for firstline workers, so why do you need a Kaizala integration at all? Kaizala was designed to complement Teams – which is why Microsoft recently announced they would be delivering Kaizala capabilities into Microsoft Teams as part of an integrated offering. Read on to learn more about Kaizala, including what it is, how you get it, and how it's different from Teams...
Kaizala (pronounced [ki-zal-a]) delivers on three key promises:
Microsoft first rolled out Kaizala in India during November 2017. Since then, Microsoft has taken success stories, criticism and feedback to update and improve Kaizala’s features, including:
Kaizala was not developed as a replacement or second option to Microsoft Teams. The capabilities of Kaizala are intended to complement the robust communication and collaboration capabilities of Teams. Enabling every member of an organization’s network with digital communication tools – whether they are inside or outside of the company directory – can transform the way work gets done.
According to Microsoft, Kaizala was designed to address some of the key challenges that companies faced when they were trying to work with flexible first-line workers. As mentioned previously, it was also designed to complement Teams – which is why Kaizala Pro capabilities will be added to Teams over the next 12-18 months. The goal is to replace the Kaizala service and make Teams the primary client in Office 365 and Microsoft 365 for communication with both internal employees and people in your extended networks.
Kaizala is the more flexible approach compared to Teams, mainly because it only requires a phone number to sign up. The most obvious overlap between Kaizala and Teams comes with the arrival of the “Shifts” tool for Microsoft Teams. Kaizala has always worked very similarly to StaffHub (the previous name for Shifts), providing firstline workers with an intuitive interface for group communication, schedule management, and timesheets.
While Shifts is very similar to Kaizala, by bringing shift management into Teams, it’s worth noting that the two apps aren’t exactly the same. One thing worth noting is that the way you use the two apps is different. When you sign in to Kaizala with Microsoft, you register a phone number – just like you would with WhatsApp. You don’t need to remember a password or username, and you don’t have to log-in every day.
Kaizala is also a great option for workers that are jumping in and out of the workforce. All you need to do is input a phone number, and your new employee can work with anyone in your organization.
In April 2019, Microsoft rolled out to all eligible Microsoft 365 and Office 365 commercial customers worldwide, making it generally available in 40 languages across 180+ markets. Kaizala Basic is a free app that you can download and set up with only a phone number. Kaizala Pro is included in a number of subscriptions – Office365 F1, E1, E3, E5, Business Essentials, Business Premium, Microsoft365 F1, E3, E5, and Microsoft 365 Business.