I was in the middle of the great email battle between Microsoft and IBM [Disclosure: Microsoft and IBM are clients of the author] in the 1990s and there really wasn’t much competition. Microsoft had Exchange, which had its greatest power in its focus on users. IBM bought Lotus to get Notes, which had stronger administration tools and a far better focus on collaboration, but sucked at email. In the end, Microsoft dominated, massively, and Exchange is the recognized standard for business email.
However, IBM just brought out Verse, its new advanced email offering, and it comes to market with many of the same advantages over Exchange that Exchange had over Notes. But, this is email, and experienced CIOs know that changing email is potentially a career-ending process. In order to succeed with a user-focused product you have to get the users excited about it, which may be a skill IBM no longer has.
Today, IBM and Box, an online file sharing and personal cloud content management service for businesses, announced a partnership.
IBM is going to let Box plug into its analytics and security technology, while Box will integrate its content management system into Big Blue’s existing products.
For example, they will work on a new data analytics solution that uses IBM’s Watson supercomputer. Box’s technology will also be integrated into IBM Verse and IBM Connections, its business email and collaboration services.
They will also jointly develop mobile apps and analytics solutions. Box said some of that could even be included in the products IBM and Apple are building together. On top of that, IBM will use its massive salesforce and consulting team to sell it to its network of business customers.
Considering IBM deals with some of the biggest businesses in the world, it’s a huge deal for Box, which went public earlier this year.
While others have announced the availability of IBM Traveler 188.8.131.52, here is the “What’s New” document for the software. The focus in this release is on IBM Verse.
Support for IBM Verse on Apple devices
IBM Verse for Apple devices is available on the iTunes app store. You can download it and start using it to:
- See mail from people important to you
- Set people you interact with often as Important
- Manage items that need follow up
- Track who owes you a response and when
- Work with your calendar seamlessly
- Interact with all of your contacts
IBM Verse for Apple devices is an IBM created mobile app for iOS, and is available on the Apple app store. However, you can continue to use IBM Traveler with the built-in Apple provided mail, calendar, and contacts apps on your iOS device, along with the IBM Traveler To Do and Companion apps.
In arguably the best review of IBM Verse I’ve read to date, Michael Sampson provides his thoughts on the product.
I think IBM Verse – or any email system with in-built intelligence – needs to focus more on changing sender behaviour. We see elementary forms of this with the “encouragement” in Outlook Web Access to send links to files in OneDrive rather than the attachment directly. I would like to see the analytics power of Watson applied to encouraging senders to be more effective in their use of email and other tools.
I’ve seen a lot of things in my life, as you can well imagine. However, this has to be one of the more interesting things I’ve seen.
As a member of a Collaboration and Messaging Team, I do, on “occasion,” have need to open PMRs with IBM Technical Support. I have found that asking the IBM Tech to do a screen share with me to be a very effective method of troubleshooting issues with them.
Today, the day after provisioning of my IBM Verse Basic account and the day I actually was able to log in to Verse, I needed to do a screen share with IBM on an open PMR. As always, the technician sent me a link to his meeting room.
Nothing unusual about that, it happens all the time when IBM and I are going to work a PMR.
What is unusual is what happened after I clicked the link.
This is what I see on a workstation that has never logged into IBM Verse:
And this is what I see when I click the link on a workstation that has logged into IBM Verse:
A “slight” difference in the log in page, which really threw me for a loop.
Yes, I can attend the meeting using my IBM Verse credentials. But that was not the expected behavior.
No, I did not clear my browser cache before attending the meeting (why would I do that?). However, later, after ending the meeting, I did clear the cache, restarted the browser, and saw this:
Yesterday, I reported my experience with IBM Verse after (finally) being provisioned.
Today, I am happy to report that, once I log in to Verse, I see this:
This is the experience in Firefox 37.0.1. Yesterday, I was on an unsupported browser. Today, it’s supported.
That is a great question. What I can tell you is that, thanks to either this blog or my tweet, IBM contacted me, asked me a couple of questions (sorry, I didn’t think that the underlying OS was relevant to a browser issue, but I guess I might be wrong. The answer to that question was/is “Windows, BTW), and I was able to successfully log into Verse.
Wow, it is really white. Almost “you have to wear sunglasses to view this page” white.
Now I get to start playing with it.
Thank you, IBM, for granting me access.
IBM has (finally) provisioned my Verse Basic account. How did Day One of Verse go for me?
Attempt One to log on to Verse resulted in this:
Hmm, refresh the browser.
Now, I see the login page. Again.
Attempt Two to log on to Verse resulted in this:
This appears in Chrome, version 41.0.2272.118 m, Firefox, version 37.0.1, and IE, version 9.0.36.
Now, I understand Tom’s post:
This isn’t as easy as I had hoped. Nor is it a “#NewWaytoWork.”