IBM is reinventing enterprise email with a new freemium social collaboration offering that uses built-in analytics to give employees a new way to converse, find the right people and information fast, and get work done. IBM Verse stems from the company’s $100 million investment in design innovation and brings together its leading cloud, analytics, social and security platforms to transform the future of work.
IBM Versetakesa vastly different approach to enterprise email by integrating the many ways employees connect each day – via email, meetings, calendars, file sharing, instant messaging, social updates, video chats and more – through a single collaboration environment. It is the first messaging system to feature 'faceted search,' which enables users to pinpoint and retrieve specific information they're seeking across all the various types of content within their email.
Although email is considered one of the most significant advances in workforce productivity over the past 30 years, today it has become one of the greatest organizational burdens. IT industry analysts estimate that 108 billion work emails are sent daily, requiring employees to check their inboxes an average of 36 times an hour. Compounding the problem, it is also estimated that only 14 percent of those emails are of critical importance. At a time when every organization is striving to be more efficient, social and collaborative, this has created a dynamic where the volume of email interaction still outpaces social collaboration by a wide margin. In fact, according to IT industry firm IDC, email remains the single most widely used collaboration tool, with worldwide revenue for enterprise email expected to reach $4.7 billion in 2017.
“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, IBM Information and Analytics Group. “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.”
IBM Verse uses built-in analytics to provide an ‘at-a-glance’ view that intelligently surfaces an individual’s most critical actions for the day. By learning unique employee preferences and priorities over time, it provides instant context about a given project as well as the people and teams collaborating on it. This is in contrast to most freely available mail services that mine a user’s inbox to increase advertising and monetize that data in other ways – an unwelcome proposition for business users concerned about privacy or which operate in regulated industries such as healthcare and finance.
Clients using IBM Verse will also have the future option to embed a Watson feature into their collaboration environment, which enables users to query Watson on a given topic and receive a direct reply with answers ranked by degree of confidence.
A beta release of the new offering will be available to select clients and partners in November 2014. A freemium version delivered via the IBM Cloud Marketplace will be available in the first quarter of 2015. IBM Verse will also be offered as an app for both iOS and Android to ensure mobile users have the same experiences on the go as they do on their PCs.