A year on from the launch of ‘Kaizala’, Microsoft and M2M systems hosted a familiarisation session for the app in a bid to remind enterprise customers of the endless possibilities the app holds.
During the event, held at the Aspire Center, Nairobi, Kenya, Claire Mungai, CEO and founder M2M systems told CIO East Africa during an interview that the session was held to evangelise to their existing and new customers about the product.
“So far, enterprise customers have embraced it very well; particularly companies that have lots of field employees. We are looking forward to watching this product grow even more in the region. Apart from sessions such as these we are also increasing ‘Kaizala’ users by targeting Microsoft 365 customers and making them aware that the app is available for them,” added Mungai.
Sebuh Haileleul, Country General Manager for Microsoft East and Southern Africa said that the app addresses several challenges faced by most businesses in Africa who manage field staff remotely.
“Task workers working on construction sites, or in manufacturing plants, retail shops and other industries, typically don’t have a dedicated work space, computer or even email address. As a result, they generally use pen and paper, or unsecure consumer-messaging apps on their personal phones for work-related communications,” said Haileleul. “This makes it hard for managers to share and collect important information. Kaizala makes it easier and less time consuming for organisations to communicate, assign and track work in real-time, and create reports based on aggregated data,”
‘Kaizala’- as a tool for digital transformation
Mobile technology is enabling businesses in Africa to embrace the fourth industrial revolution and digitally transform their operations. Deeply aligned to a digital Africa, Microsoft has launched Kaizala, a mobile app designed for large group communication, work management, reporting and analytics, integrated with Office 365.
“I sit on the boards of publicly listed companies – in banking & media. I sit on the boards of technology companies – mature & startups. I also chair the board of one of the largest country clubs in the region. In all cases, the board is aware of the new “digital reality” – that data is the new “juice”, said Louis Otieno, Non-Executive Director at Barclays Bank of Kenya, during the event.
“When one hears “Digital Transformation”, most think of “technological change” as the challenge. We (board members) actually see it more as an opportunity to rethink the organization – with digital technology being the catalyst”, Otieno added.
Otieno further explained that, any platform that facilitates the efficient “flow of juice” between customers, employees, partners & systems as we compete on products & services is worthy of consideration. “Kaizala is such a platform”, he added.
‘Kaizala’- a year on
Microsoft officially launched ‘Kaizala’ (a mobile app for large, secure group communications and work management) in Kenya about a year ago; following a soft launch and pilot in Kenya in February 2017.
During the soft launch, Unilever collaborated with Microsoft’s 4Afrika and Kaizala teams to pilot the app in its Nairobi factory, exploring the potential of going digital in their factories. Based on their team’s experience, which saw improved staff engagement levels and reporting, Unilever is currently exploring other uses of Kaizala in its extended supply chain as a workforce management tool.
M-KOPA Solar also piloted the app with 700 of their distributed sales force in Kenya, using it to communicate, provide remote training modules, and collect real-time sales data and location information.
Businesses using Kaizala are able to connect with large groups of people across their entire value chain, wherever they are, all on a single platform on their mobile phone.
During the familiarisation session, enterprise customers were reminded that unlike other chat-based apps in the market, Kaizala extends beyond a communication function, enhancing business agility, collaboration and organisational productivity. Some of its unique features include the ability to:
1. Communicate with and manage an unlimited number of users, including employees
Organisations can create flat, hierarchical or discoverable public groups in minutes from contact lists, organisation directories or adhoc sharing. For users in remote areas, the app is optimised to work even on slow 2G networks. Users do not need an email address to sign up, only a mobile number.
2. Broadcast and collect information in a structured way through action cards
This includes sharing announcements, photos, videos or documents; hosting polls or surveys; assigning tasks; providing training content; marking geo-fenced attendance; and tracking workforces using hyperlocal location tracking.
3. Gather rich insights from data with built-in analytics
Organisations can view results in real-time as they come in, organise large amounts of information with an aggregated view of user responses, and get reports at each level of the organisation.
4. Have full ownership and control over the data,insights and information
Managers can decide who has access to company data, which is all protected by encryption in-transit and at-rest. All Kaizala data is stored in Microsoft Azure datacenters, which adhere to industry standard security and compliance certifications.
Microsoft Kaizala is available in Kenya for download as a standalone app for Android and iOS phones.