So, How About that IBM Verse?

IBM finally released IBM Verse on the world back in April, after much hype beforehand. In short: IBM Verse started out as IBM Notes 10 but evolved into a web mail client which offers a whole new way to sort, search and keep track of emails, appointments, contacts and content. This video gives a nice demonstration:

I’ve got an IBM Verse account, but since it’s not integrated into our solutions at work, nor with my private email, I really haven’t used it that much. The strength of IBM Verse is that it’s tightly integrated with IBM Connections and IBM Sametime. All are tools that we use at our company.

At work we are using IBM Notes 9.0.1 for a lot of things, including email and calendar. However, I’ve been testing the Outlook 2016 client, and it blows Notes mail out of the water. It’s really, really good. Outlook calendar has been better than the Notes calendar for years, but even the email part is now quite excellent in Outlook. Also the web version, not to mention the mobile app, are very good.

Why am I mentioning this? Because the integration between Outlook, Skype for business, Sharepoint and other solutions, combined with their new mobile client will make it even harder for IBM to both counter the moving that a lot of companies are doing from IBM to Microsoft. It will also be much harder to convince new customers to move over to IBM.

In that light, it’s not a smart move to:

1) Not deliver what we were promised with Verse (as this article from Red Pill points out).
2) Still use the standard web version of the calendar instead of the new Verse interface.

No matter how much I love Domino and old IBM products, the world is moving on. And I’m an atheist when it comes to my tools. If MS comes up with a better client, with a good mobile app as well as a nice web interface, I can’t keep my users in the dark. Especially now that we are moving our Notes applications to the web, where we only use the .nsf files for data storage while the web interface are running on other platforms. We are also contemplating moving from Sametime to Lyn…sorry…Skype for business, but IBM is actually doing an effort to keep us on Sametime.

IBM has a lot of challenges ahead. IBM Verse shows good promise, but promise ware is not good enough. The only reason Microsoft got away with promise ware for so long was that they managed to get into a monopoly situation in a time where that was actually possible.

8 thoughts on “So, How About that IBM Verse?”

  1. “Still use the standard web version of the calendar instead of the new Verse interface.” They will not actually do this otherwise then they are screwed?

    Why keep people asking for “a client”? Isn’t that a request after “an interface” or “access point”. If I can just access it via my browser via a bookmark or url, that would do. Client installations are often a pain to support.

    I have been using ibm verse for personal usage (subscriptions, newsletters etc) but it is not mind-blowing to me. I guess it can only excel when using in a team/organization.

    1. I don’t think people are requesting a client, but the IBM Verse interace is pretty good, and slick, so I think a lot of us were hoping that the calendar would be more integrated and with the same UI. When you click on calendar you are instead thrown into a new window and with a calendar solution that looks like something else entirely.

      And yeah, a client is also in my opinion the wrong way to go. But our opinion doesn’t matter, it’s what the people who call the shots in the companies think, and they will love Outlook 2016 and keep on to the thought that you need an email client. Personally I’m pushing for web mail in our company. Moving from one email client to a new one is pointless to me.

      And your last sentence is something that I agree 100% with you on.

  2. Are you referring to Outlook client as in “actual software that doesn’t run in a browser”?

    My benchmark for mail is basically gmail. (and inbox). If IBM can get close to them (and it seems that they have) then I’m much happier.

    I don’t want a client for anything anymore. I want to run as much as I can in a browser. Does this outlook client that you speak of run equally well across my choice of browsers and OS? How well does it run on ChromeOS?

    As for Notes, once all the legacy apps are web-enabled, we should be able to let go of the client altogether and run in on anything in any web browser.

    1. Outlook also run in the browser, with full integration with all the tools I’ve mentioned. I’ve no idea how it runs on ChromeOS but it works just fine in my Firefox.

      And I totally agree with you: The client’s days are over. But so far IBM Verse has not convinced me, and when I look around in the “Domino” blogosphere, I’m not the only one that remains unconvinced.

  3. So in short.

    Nothing to see here folks….. Unless you’ve already gone to the pain of establishing Connections, Sametime and all other integration which for most has been a nightmare in its own right.

    Unless your client is a large (> 10,000 seat) organisation, there doesn’t seem to be any “value” as verse relies heavily on major team collaboration.

    Unfortunately IBM seems to have gone its usual path of providing infinitely customisable middleware and back ends without realising that most Companies are driven by users UI experience – something MS has always realised and continue to trade on.

    Verse had definitely not provided me (as a small BP in Australia with small to mid size clients) with anything that will help shore up our losses. They HATE IBM’s interfaces and lack of true integration with their office tools (Microsoft) and that’s not changed. The end isn’t nigh, the end has arrived for us.

    1. I agree with your thoughts on Verse and that it’s true value only comes with huge volume of emails. And I know what you mean about hating IBM’s UI. I was at the company the other day that actually celebrated that they had moved from Notes to Outlook (yes, they did have a party).

      Of course, moving from one dinosaur client to another is pointless, in my opinion. but if you have to use an email client, Outlook 2016 blows Notes out of the water in user friendliness. And it also runs on my Mac.

  4. I’ve been a user of the latest versions of Notes, Outlook and gmail (for work) in the last 4 years : all I can say is none of them alone provides significant productivity boost over another. Verse is trying to bring new stuff to reduce mail clutter, don’t know if that will work. But I think we should see Verse as a “platform”, not an email stuff. To me, Verse is mail + connections + sametime + IBM Docs + etc… when Verse is mature enough I think it’ll compete with Google for Work or Office 365. All other pure mail software (Notes client, outlook clients etc are, in my opinion, sentenced to death in the forcoming years)

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