What is Kaizala Pro and should you disable it in Office 365?
You may have heard of Kaizala before – it’s one of Microsoft’s products that have come about as a Garage project and after seeing success, made it to a full product.
Kaizala is a product that has a lot in common with WhatsApp Groups – and can be used by people without an Office 365 subscription or even a Microsoft sign-in – it only requires a phone number.
From an organizational perspective, it’s a lot better than allowing people to use WhatsApp at work as the paid-for offering – Kaizala Pro is part of the Office 365 suite; and where Microsoft Teams is overkill, it is very useful in allowing group-based chat and communications, either one-to-one, few-to-many or many to many.
Of course, with Microsoft Teams providing similar features, things begin to get a bit confusing when people ask what tool to use when? Over time this will be a simpler question to answer, as Microsoft have announced that Kaizala Pro features will be added to Teams and it will replace Kaizala.
Today you might want to look at some scenarios Kaizala unlocks and get benefits rather than waiting 18 months or more. With Teams interoperability already available, scenarios, like providing Teams to your core staff and then using Kaizala to communicate with temporary or sub-contract workers, are already pretty obvious.
But while you work out how and where Kaizala will provide value, you might not want it to roll out automatically to your users.
Kaizala is rolling out automatically – here’s how to disable it temporarily
Right now (late June 2019), as notified by Microsoft in the message center – filed under MC177244, Kaizala is rolling out to most Office 365 tenants.
Rather than silent enablement, Microsoft has opted to notify individual users that Kaizala is available for use. They will see a notification saying New app: Kaizala – Kaizala is now in your My Apps list:
This is an unusual step, as the Kaizala experience is primarily mobile-driven, rather than accessed like another Office App in the browser – and intended to help you drive adoption.
If this isn’t something you desire right now and want to explore Kaizala first, then the good news is you can disable Kaizala via its own management portal.
To accomplish this, visit the Kaizala admin portal. After launching it, navigate to Settings:
Next, choose Disable Kaizala for people in your organization:
Finally, you’ll be asked to confirm before Kaizala is completely disabled for work accounts:
If people are using Kaizala for personal use – remember this will not prevent them from using it.
What if you don’t want to disable it for everyone?
If instead, you want to disable it for some people – but not all – for example, whilst you conduct a pilot and investigate the full range of features, you can disable it on a per-user basis.
To do this, visit the Microsoft 365 admin center and navigate to Users>Active Users (A).
From this page, you can select an individual user – or multiple users, should you wish, and then select Product Licenses, then Edit (B):
Then switch off the Kaizala for Office 365 licence to disable Kaizala Pro.
You may find disabling it for some people a better option than disabling it entirely – as it’s worth keeping it enabled for a pilot/proof of concept group so you can explore its features and gauge where the use of Kaizala will be beneficial.
Steve is a Microsoft MVP for Office Servers and Services. He enjoys getting hands-on, solving some of the more complex problems associated with migrating to the cloud or to newer versions of Exchange Server.