IBM Verse uses social, analytics and cloud technology, and is aimed at transforming the way people work and collaborate
IBM is delivering Verse as a freemium social collaboration offering that uses built-in analytics to give users 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 platforms to transform the future of work.
“With Verse, we set out to rethink how business people get their work done,” said Carolyn Pampino, IBM’s lead design director on the Verse project, which was formerly known as IBM Mail Next. “We tried to focus on user delight,” she added.
IBM Verse takes a 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. Verse’s search capability is based on Apache Solr, Pampino said.
“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.”
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 personalise 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 visualise employee profiles, understand relationships between individuals and teams, and more effectively track and manage project and task delegation.
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 publically,” 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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Originally published on eWeek.