Microsoft has launched Kaizala, an enterprise messaging app which has been optimized for 2G networks and for users in remote locations along with offline support features. At 16 MB, however, it doesn’t appear to have been optimised for 2G network downloads. Kaizala is aimed at enterprise users In India, the company said; but is also available worldwide for free on iOS and Android. There is also a ‘Kaizala Pro’ version of the app for which users will have to pay  INR 130 per user per month. All enterprise messaging apps are now Slack competitors, so this is also one.

Kaizala was piloted with several Indian organization including YES Bank, Apollo Telemedicine, Republic TV, United Phosphorous Limited and Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan. Apart from this, the state Government of Andhra Pradesh is “one of the first government organizations to use Microsoft Kaizala for real time governance. More than 30 government departments and over 70,000 users in the State Government use Microsoft Kaizala for day-to-day work,” the company said in a statement. The app was apparently developed, after observing how organizations are “becoming more dispersed…this is evident across industries, ranging from construction, manufacturing, insurance and healthcare to retail.”

Note that Microsoft owns LinkedIn, which currently has over 500 million users on its portal. It won’t be surprising if the company integrates Kaizala directly into LinkedIn in the future, and give it access to a potential base of 500 million LinkedIn users. Companies have been using India as their testing ground for low bandwidth apps, before rolling them out globally.

Features

  • Kaizala basic version: Supports group chat, media and document sharing, built-in feature for organizational polls, surveys, and announcements, work in progress management, and offline 2G support.
  • Kaizala Pro version: Note that in addition to basic features mentioned, the pro version supports organisational group and users management— this allows admins to remove users from groups and wipe group data from the device. Admins will also have greater control over groups and even create public groups, along with advanced reporting and analytics. Pro version also supports system level integration and automation using Kaziala APIs.

Kaizala integrates with Office 365–the company’s suite of productivity software which is available on a subscription basis to enterprise users.

Competition

Kaizala reminds us of Workplace by Facebook, an enterprise based social media and chat service ‘Facebook at Work which was launched in October last year. Facebook also has a messenger app called Workplace Chat on Android which allows co-workers to message each other individually, participate in group chats, share photos and videos, make voice calls, and even use stickers. Remember that Google already has Google Apps, which is a suite of services including domains, messaging, chat, email, sites, among other things, linked to a marketplace of paid services.

Kaizala also competes with other enterprise platforms like Slack, Yammer, Avamoo, Flock amongst others.

From an Indian perspective, Jugnoo recently entered business services and communication segment with its suite of SasS apps. Noticeboard, an enterprise communication platform recently raised $1.2 million led by Stellaris Venture Partners. The company is based out of Bangalore.