IBM Verse Brings Social, Analytics to Enterprise Email

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2014-11-18 Print this article Print
IBM verse

“The convergence of analytics, cloud, social and mobile technologies is not just impacting our personal lives, it's profoundly changing how we work,” said Bob Picciano, senior vice president of IBM’s Information and Analytics Group, in a statement. “These forces are reshaping how people make decisions, create and share new ideas and collaborate across teams to get work done. With IBM Verse, we challenged our design teams to use analytics to completely reimagine the social collaboration experience to focus on engaging people and driving outcomes, not managing messages and inboxes.”

Cemex, a global leader in the building materials industry, is one of the first clients to participate in an early beta of the new offering.

"The overall design and visual interface immediately caught my attention, there is a simplicity and purpose in how information is presented that makes the entire experience very intuitive," said Gilberto Garcia, CTO of Cemex, in a statement. "I quickly realized just how much was happening beneath the surface. It gives you a seamless blend of email, social and collaboration capabilities that didn't force me to jump between my inbox, calendar and other apps to share and connect with people. It's hard to even call this email anymore, that's just one facet to what they are delivering with IBM Verse."

Jointly developed in collaboration with more than 50 clients and partners in the IBM Austin Design Studio and other labs around the world, the design of IBM Verse incorporates ongoing feedback from a broad spectrum of business users–from accountants and sales leaders to marketing professionals and software engineers.

The solution features intelligent task prioritization, intuitive collaboration across devices and the ability to engage people, not email, IBM said. IBM Verse quickly finds and prioritizes the tasks that matter most to users. It analyzes and eventually predicts user behaviors and preferences to personalize a user’s unique social mail experience.

Verse also enables users to quickly take action on content and conversations previously scattered across multiple tools such as email, calendar, to-dos, social networks, chats, online meetings and documents. It features one-click ability to share content as a blog post rather than an email and share files through cloud-based communities.

In addition, verse provides deep context around the people and teams involved in a given task or project to drive more valuable employee engagements at the moment of impact. This allows users to visualize employee profiles, understand relationships between individuals and teams, and more effectively track and manage project and task delegation.

“Simply making the Inbox social isn’t enough. Organizations need better tools to support the way real work gets done in today’s modern enterprises," said Charlene Li, founder and CEO of Altimeter Group, in a statement. "That means keeping the focus centered on people and projects, and using analytics and mobile to make it a seamless experience.”

IBM Verse also enables subject matter experts to share insight in two clicks or less in any social environment inside or outside their organization. Rather than replying to a narrow email distribution, project leaders can share their insights as a blog post for their entire project team, with the ability to delegate and track critical actions across individual team members.

Meanwhile, though IBM represents a significant advance in enterprise collaboration software, some say it may be too much at once.

“I actually think IBM Verse is a better attempt to define a social network than Facebook is, but one that operates inside a company as opposed to publicly,” said Rob Enderle, an industry analyst and founder of the Enderle Group. “This seems to fit better to how we actually behave socially where we share things with real friends but expect those things to remain contained in that group and not broadcast to the world at large. Verse overlays the concepts of social, collaborative, communications with analytics that can be used to optimize the effectiveness of the interaction and create a framework for improving the product over time. However, given this tool is very different from what people are used to using, getting them to use it, let alone use it properly, will be unusually problematic. But the benefits for learning and using this tool properly should easily justify the effort. Unfortunately, this often isn’t enough to drive the needed change because we tend to dislike changing how we do things to a level that makes changes like this nearly impossible to implement.”


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