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Microsoft introduced a mobile messaging app for Office 365 users, but content administrators should be aware of its effects on enterprise content before they roll it out to an organization.
Microsoft Kaizala is an enterprise mobile chat app for Office 365 users. Since its introduction in January 2019, Kaizala gained significant interest because it enables employees to communicate and share content across teams on mobile devices. When organizations add another app to their arsenal of chat tools, however, they distribute enterprise content across more systems, which becomes difficult to control and govern.
Communication tools, such as Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams, offer real-time chat along with mobile app access, but they lack the simplicity and ease of use of consumer-facing messaging apps, such as WhatsApp, WeChat and Telegram. Microsoft created Kaizala to bring WhatsApp functionality to the enterprise.
Kaizala for Office 365 offers several features, including the following:
- Message broadcast: Users can make announcements to their teams or specific individuals with this feature. Users can communicate with rich media, such as pictures, links, text and videos.
- Surveys and polls: Kaizala enables users to send surveys and polls to groups.
- Business process automation: Organizations can create rules and workflows to send approval requests and tasks to users. This feature, however, is only available with Kaizala Pro, a paid subscription that costs $1.51 per user per month.
- Group chat feature: Users can configure their own custom group chats and distribute content to different groups that consist of internal and external users.
Challenges of adopting Kaizala
Kaizala for Office 365 brings mobile users an efficient way to communicate, but it also brings another set of challenges. Many features of Kaizala overlap with existing features from other platforms and fragment enterprise content into more areas. Some of the challenges that content administrators will face include the following.
Lack of centralized security management. To control who can access content generated in the Kaizala app, IT administrators must manage security settings within the app's portal. Organizations must manage the app's security and its content separately, which brings more complexity.
Enterprise data compliance concerns. Most organizations adopt a set of rules and requirements as a part of their data governance plans. These policies often relate to data retention, deletion and content classification. Kaizala may not be a major source of content generation, but given its ability for content sharing across multiple users, there are some concerns around its lack of comprehensive features around data governance.
Competition with existing tools. Since Kaizala focuses on addressing communication needs for the mobile workforce, it may shift users away from the SharePoint mobile app. That would result in a decentralization of some enterprise content, such as corporate announcements and other key SharePoint data.
Multiple products that perform the same function are not always a good thing. This is the challenge that Microsoft will face as it introduces its own set of workflows and process automation capabilities within Kaizala. Many organizations rely on SharePoint and other enterprise content management (ECM) platforms to help automate business processes associated with digital content. Kaizala offers a mobile way to perform these tasks, but companies will have a harder time deciding which tool to use for their business processes.
The overlap of many Kaizala features with some of the other ECM tools is concerning because it can lead to users adopting new tools without fully using their organization's existing ECM platforms. Kaizala has proven to be a valuable tool for users who rely mainly on their mobile devices in order to communicate with others. Organizations that already rely on an ECM platform to share and interact with digital content, however, should fully define Kaizala usage to minimize confusion.