Microsoft Teams Shifts went to General Availability last week, which means that Staffhub capabilities are now part of the Teams. In case you don’t see Shifts in your tenant yet, wait a few days and it should appear if you admins have turned it on.
With Shifts going to GA it is a good moment to think what is different between Kaizala and Teams. Sometimes you need to make choices which tool to use, so it is good to know some whys and whens. I use generic term Kaizala in this blog, but this mostly refers to Kaizala Pro version (which is/will be part of Office 365 subscription)
Kaizala has not been officially released in every country yet.
Kaizala Pro has been official released in countries found in this list: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office365/kaizala/regional-availability
Until your country is in that list, it is considered to be in a preview state. Microsoft does not support nor ensure compliance on previews.
Office 365 & Kaizala
The biggest difference is the user identity. When your users are logged into Office 365, they have ,simply said, a Office 365 identity. Depending on their licensing they can access various Office 365 tools and features. Firstline workers use F1 licence, which allows them to access many tools like Microsoft Teams.
When you sign-up to Kaizala, you register your phone number with it. Just like WhatsApp does. It does no require you to remember username and password, nor it requires you to login to Kaizala. With Kaizala Pro (yep, mentioned it) you can sign into Kaizala with your Office 365 account to be able access corporate Kaizala groups and directory. However, then they can access Office 365 resources too (depending on their license).
The biggest advantage of Kaizala is that you can reach out to, and stay connected with, your workforce outside Office 365 identity (license) – ie with people not in your company.
Firstline workers & Office 365
If you have Office 365 licenses to your Firstline workers then you will most likely choose Microsoft Teams and other Office 365 tools for use. You gain so much more possibilities to interact, share and protect information with your workers than with Kaizala. This also applies to other external networks you have: if you want to work together on documents and/or protect your data: you use Office 365 tools for that.
Shifts brings in shift management directly onto Microsoft Teams. Your workers can chat, change shifts, make calls and utilize widely what is provided within Office 365. Upcoming Home application will surface them the agenda for the day: what needs to be done, when is my next shift. APIs will help you to exchange information to/from Shifts to your backend (/legacy) shift/salary management systems.
In short: if the employee works for your company you use Office 365 identity and very often Microsoft Teams.
Firstline workers & Kaizala
So you have lots of workforce but less licenses or there are reason like bad network. Perhaps the identity management is challenging when employees do only random days of work now and then (they are not part of the company) , or there are other reasons why managing licenses would be difficult. Kaizala started as a Microsoft Garage project to provide a collaboration solution for countries like India, Brazil or Thailand so it was built to work with less bandwith just like WhatsApp or other messaging solution.
Many times Kaizala users are not in your company. They are external workers, that only work for you via some contract. But you need to make sure they have the right, and latest, information in their hand. You might consider Teams Free-version but you might need to help them to create Microsoft IDs for this job and that would require resources you don’t have. However, registering a Kaizala app is way simpler.
This is one the main scenarios when to choose Kaizala: the identity management is not work the trouble. You just need to be able to sign them up easily and connect with them. The audience might not be firstline workers – perhaps they are your customers or partners or user groups. Perhaps you have used a WhatsApp or Facebook Group to connect with them earlier – now you can start using Kaizala.
With Kaizala you can post news/announcements, share documents, videos, provide simple training, make surveys and you can also create forms (collect information) or custom actions. There is even a built-in bill submitting feature which allows one to add amount, merchant and a picture of receipt. Some features are really simple, but then the custom actions or configurable forms come into the game: make your own to match your needs.
Kaizala + Office 365
Then there is this scenario when your, often, firstline workers are part of your company and they have Office 365 licenses. You could use Microsoft Teams, and you do use that usually, but you may have a need to work in the area where network is just not that good. Your employees sign-in into Kaizala and can access company-only groups or you have groups that contain people from the company and externals.
When Kaizala is released in your country, you may want to use it because then Kaizala is a supported and compliant tool. However, using two overlapping tools (Kaizala and Teams) creates usually more confusion than productivity – if you choose this path prepare your playbook well so your employees definitely know which tool to use and when.
Integrating Kaizala into Office 365
There are couple of ways to integrate Kaizala into Office 365: Flow and APIs. I have already written a couple of blog posts about integrating Kaizala into Teams using a Flow so check them out if this interests you.
When you are using Kaizala as extension to your tools you should always integrate essentials into your Office 365, some examples
- Survey answers
- bills & expenses
- sending documents & news into Kaizala
- Form replies
- Custom action results