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IBM Verse: A New Way to Work
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Ed Brill    

Image:IBM Verse: A New Way to Work

Today in New York, IBM is launching A New Way To Work, featuring IBM Verse, the next generation of enterprise email. The announcement of IBM Verse is the culmination of a significant amount of IBM research, design, and client and marketplace understanding that answers the question - what if we could reinvent the way that people interact with other people in the enterprise?

During the livestream of the event from New York, IBM's Jeff Schick demonstrated Verse, which integrates the many ways employees interact every day - email, meetings, calendars, file sharing, instant messaging, social updates, video chats and more. Using analytics, Verse intelligently surfaces the most relevant information - content related to a meeting just before a meeting, context for an important message, visibility of and to the whole team collaborating on a project.

Watching this project take shape has been an exciting process. The IBM Design Lab in Austin, Texas has contributed a significant amount of innovation for the IBM Verse user experience. Over 230 people participated in the Design Thinking process, looking at nearly 500 research data points around how users expect to interact within a people-centric collaboration environment. The result is more than just modern and innovative -- it provokes, as was evident in the event broadcast, an "I want that!" reaction.

In my role as VP of Social Business Transformation at IBM, I believe IBM Verse is a significant innovation that will accelerate our social business journey. Our goal is to make IBM the preeminent social business. But even as far as we have progressed, there are still times when IBMers revert to "bad habits" - sending attachments in email, "copy the world" cc lists, forgetting to involve stakeholders in projects or activities. IBM Verse represents an opportunity to turn the corner, to make all of our interactions centered around the people, rather than the data. I believe this technology, which will be deployed internally starting in the first part of 2015, enables the culture of participation we are driving at IBM, providing a new way to work - even for those for whom "social" has not yet become an effective tool.

Further, I think this launch underscores one of the arguments that I, and others in this space such as my friend Constellation Research analyst Alan Lepofsky, have argued for some time:
social is not an either/or with email. Email is part of the fabric of social.
Personal communication begets interpersonal communication begets human to human begets social.

Three themes are emerging from today's introduction of IBM Verse.
  • Mail that understands you
  • Less clutter, more clarity
  • Connecting me to we
For my work, the third is most important. IBM Verse integrates enterprise social networking in ways that are completely intuitive, where being social no longer requires conscious decision-making. For those for whom social is not an intuitive behavior, this is the request I hear most often - make it relevant and I will use it. OK, now it's contextual and relevant, plus easily accessible both on desktop and mobile devices. Result: down comes another barrier to social adoption.

Links to useful information about IBM Verse and the New Way to Work:
Link: ibm.com/verse >
Link: IBM Social Business on YouTube | IBM Verse playlist >
Link: IBM: Reimagine work website >

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http://www.edbrill.com/ebrill/edbrill.nsf/dx/ibm-verse-a-new-way-to-work
Nov 18, 2014
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