IBM rolls out free version of Verse, a ‘reinvention’ of enterprise email

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In what it says is the biggest ?reinvention of the email? in a long time, tech giant IBM has announced the launch of Verse, its free enterprise email infused with social collaboration tools and built-in analytics.

Jon Simon/Feature Photo Service

Mat Newman, IBM Asean collaboration executive, said in a recent briefing with the local tech media that Verse is IBM’s most groundbreaking innovation yet in the area of communication and social media.

Newman, who has over 18 years of experience in IBM collaboration solutions software and a Lotus Notes user since 1992, said consumers could download free email software at IBM.com/verse.

The executive said Verse stems from the IBM’s $100-million investment in design innovation and brings together its cloud, analytics, social, and security platforms.

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.

The company said 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.

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, the company said.

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, it pointed out.

Analytics

IBM said clients using 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.

Watson was the famous computer that was the first to beat humans in the quiz show Jeopardy. Its main feature is a cognitive technology that processes information more like a human than a computer.

Although email is considered one of the most significant advances in workforce productivity over the past 30 years, IBM said it has become one of the greatest organizational burdens.

“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,” it said.

According to IT analyst firm IDC, email remains the single most widely used collaboration tool, with worldwide revenue for enterprise email expected to reach $4.7 billion in 20171.

“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 at 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.”

The launch of Verse expands upon recent IBM collaboration initiatives. In July 2014, IBM launched a partnership with Apple to develop a new class of industry specific business apps to transform enterprise mobility.

In September, IBM unveiled Watson Analytics to put predictive and visual analytics tools in mobile phones, and in October launched Navigator to boost personal and team productivity by allowing users to access, edit, and share business documents.

Most recently, the company formed a global partnership with Twitter by using Twitter data to make more informed decisions.

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