Teams is my favourite application within Office 365. Like the IT Pros in our panel today, it is a subject I'm very passionate about. As a hub for team collaboration it integrates people, content and tools to make the Team more engaged and effective. It has been a runaway success. Since it's introduction it has been the fastest growing app in Microsoft history. Back at Ignite 2018 we saw the numbers - 329,000 organisations using it (over 400,000 at the time of writing), 87 Fortune 500 companies and 54 companies with more than 10,000 active users (Microsoft, 2018). Yet it is also a young application and as such it is still evolving rapidly. Whilst positioned as an Inner Loop collaboration app, by introducing features such as the 5000 user limit or (soon to be) Private Channels, we ask - is it evolving into something different from it's original design and purpose?
Kaizala is a simple and secure mobile chat app for work. Described as the business version of WhatsApp (Web CMS, 2019) and designed as a Microsoft Garage (@MSFTGarage) project, it is now being used by over 1000 government and private businesses in India and has 1 million users in the country where it was first launched (Hindustan Times, 2018). It's recent success has prompted Microsoft to introduce it into all Office/Microsoft 365 tenants globally. Whether WhatsApp is being used as an informal communications app to bypass formal channels, or whether users they have been driven to use it through dissatisfaction with existing solutions, will we see Kaizala spell the end of the use of WhatsApp within organisations in the near future?
I didn’t make Microsoft Build 2018 last year. In hindsight, maybe I should have. Whilst I am not a developer, I do believe that it’s important as someone who uses and works with Microsoft’s services to know how Microsoft is developing those services and empowering its wider development community. The goal of development is, after all, maturation and progress. It’s to do with things such as the direction we are headed, the directions that are open to us and the surmounting of obstacles blocking the direction we want to go.