You might think Microsoft Office is just the set of tools we use every day – Word, Excel and PowerPoint – and yes, these are great applications we couldn’t live without. But the ‘big three’ are only the starting point – there’s a lot more in your Office 365 for business subscription that you might not even know you’re paying for – one of the latest (and greatest) Office apps is Kaizala.
Kaizala vs WhatsApp
So, what is it? Let’s cut to the chase – Kaizala is heavily inspired by our old chat favourite WhatsApp. The name even means “what happened” in the Marathi language. But as we’ll see, it offers a lot more than its green cousin – Kaizala does things that other chat apps can only dream of.
At its simplest, Kaizala is a phone-number based messaging app, with a heap of standard features – group chat, voice and video calls, pics and gifs… Kaizala does them all without breaking a sweat.
But that’s where the similarities end; this isn’t just another fun messaging tool, it was designed from the ground up for business and once your team start using it they’ll quickly discover that there’s no comparison – put simply Microsoft Kaizala is WhatsApp on steroids!
The basic app is free, with more advanced features available if you have an Office 365 licence.
So what exactly can this powerful app do? In a nutshell it adds the concept of work collaboration on top of the chat system, letting you connect and coordinate work across your entire network. And we’re not just talking about your organization here, but your vendors, partners and customers too.
- Workforce management – you can assign jobs and allocate shifts to any team member, no matter where they are. Then track the status and receive notifications when the job’s done.
- Collaboration – set up meetings, with built-in reminders on your phone.
- Create groups – add or invite people to join groups tailored for just the right audience, then make announcements and share info with a specific group or your entire workforce, allowing you to communicate with thousands at one time.
- Polls and surveys – this feature is a great way to collect real-time data from your team or customers, presented in an easy to read format.
- Offline and 2G support
- One last “feature” – competitor WhatsApp has a pretty good reputation for privacy and openness. BUT – it has recently been acquired by Facebook, which already brings trust issues for many people. Add to that the likelihood that WhatsApp will be folded into Facebook Messenger in some way soon, and this could be the perfect time for a trusted rival to grab market share.
And all that without even having a licence! But if you do have one…
Integration with Office 365
Microsoft’s trump card is its ownership of all the regular Office applications you already use, as well as business standards like SharePoint and Power Bi. Because Kaizala is part of the Office 365 stable, it will integrate with these apps natively, making it stand head and shoulders above the competition. Microsoft would point out that no-one else can do this, and they’d be right.
Other features in the paid version
- Submit invoices and expenses with ease.
- Training – you can use those polls and surveys for personalised training sessions for your teams, focussed on whatever groups of users you choose.
- Reporting – gather field insights from built-in analytics for quicker decision making and rich business insights.
Get the app
So, if you’re already an Office 365 user then you can download the app and connect with your Microsoft account, or if not, you can get the Pro version from US$1.50 per user per month.
Alternatively, use the free version of the app with the minimum features – simply download it from the Android and iOS Appstore.