Once considered a quantum leap in office productivity and efficiency, e-mail is now more often viewed as a millstone around employees' necks that wastes their time and clutters their lives. But a new service by IBM hopes to make e-mail useful again.
The "Verse," as IBM is calling its new enterprise e-mail service, seeks to reinvent the medium by combining it with cloud analytics, social networking and security platforms. The new offering also features an artificial-intelligence functionality that can learn users' preferences to more efficiently search through multiple types of content to find the most relevant data.
IT industry analysts estimate that 108 billion work e-mails 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 e-mails are of critical importance, according to figures cited by IBM.
"At a time when every organization is striving to be more efficient, social and collaborative, this has created a dynamic where the volume of e-mail interaction still outpaces social collaboration by a wide margin," IBM said in a press release.
The Armonk, New York-based company is pitching Verse as a new collaboration platform that allows employees to work together across a number of different channels, including calendar management, file sharing, instant messaging, social networking and video chats.
"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," said Bob Picciano, senior vice president for IBM's Information and Analytics Group.
Using Your Data for Good
IBM highlighted several features new in Verse, including intelligent task prioritization, which customizes the user's experience based on analysis and prediction of the client's behavior. Verse will also come with a new interface optimized for both Web and mobile environments that can access content from calendars, to-do lists, social networks, chats, online meetings and documents.
The company also sought to draw a sharp contrast between Verse, which will be offered on the freemium model, and that of other widely used freemium platforms. While Verse uses its analytical power to improve the user experience, others "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." IBM's statement is almost certainly a swipe at Google and its widely used Gmail platform, which takes data from users' e-mails to sell targeted advertising.
Big Blue's announcement follows Evernote's latest update to its Enterprise version. The note-taking application's made a similar push to infiltrate the workplace collaboration market last month by adding similar intelligent search features and a new instant messaging platform called Work Chat, designed to allow coworkers to communicate more effectively than over e-mail.
Posted: 2014-11-18 @ 5:36pm PT
@Jeff: When you get hundreds of emails a day, which many business users do, it's very helpful to have the email sorted automatically for you to differentiate important from unimportant emails. Yes, you probably still have to read your own email, at least most of it, but if the system can pre-sort the email for you, you can save a lot of time by dealing with the most important emails first and dealing with the spam, junk, and misc notices later, all in a batch. The rules function on some email apps already lets the system do some of the sorting for you. But, it sounds like IBM is taking that whole functionality a step further with Verse.
Posted: 2014-11-18 @ 5:24pm PT
So what does verse do exactly? Don't I still have to read every email I get, so what is the point of all this analysis and cloud nonsense?
Posted: 2014-11-18 @ 2:32pm PT
Oh my God, Verse will do my work and I will become redundant. Next they will fire me!