IBM dropped the ball on IBM Verse

At IBM ConnectED in January IBM promised that all attendees would get early access to the next generation web-based email presented at the conference, IBM Verse. Jeff Schick initially promised it for february, but after several emails where the attendees were offered to sign up, it got very very quiet. Today the real invitation finally arrived in my mailbox, and I signed up. After signing up I was told it would take up to a day before my mailbox would be setup and available, but after about 30 minutes I got the welcome email.

What I noticed is that there are a number of functions not working or not available yet. This is something one would expect of a beta product, so not something I react negative to, even if it would have been nice to see a more polished product being introduced, even if it just labeled “IBM Verse Preview”. Among the functions missing is a way to create a mail signature. There is also a limit to 25 emails in a 24 hour period, as well as no more than 10 recipients for any email. Storages is limited to 500 MB.

According to a response in the support forum, IBM have dropped the Freemium idea. IBM Verse Preview replaces it, and will be just a demo version to try to get customers to buy the full version, where signatures and other features not present in the crippled Preview version will be available.

If you want to hear Jeff Schick announce the Freemium version (and personally invite ConnectED attendees to get early access to Verse Freemium), watch this video (starts at 42 minutes in):

In my opinion, IBM need to drop the 25 email and 10 recipient limit, increase the mailbox to at least 2 GB and add at least the functionality GMail offers, which include signatures (with graphics). Then there is quite a bit of polish left, if you mail a non-existing user you get the message “User XXX not listed in Domino Directory”. Yes, we are all happy that IBM Verse actually uses Domino and .NSF for mail storage, but it should probably be hidden from users.

There are also parts that look totally different, a lot of Connections stuff like profile settings, inviting users to your network, etc. Finally, Internet Explorer should be supported. Not that it is my favorite browser, but many companies are still standardized on that browser.

In my opinion, IBM dropped the ball. As my instructors in the Swedish army would have said: “Do it over, do it right”.  IBM Verse has potential, but not as crippleware.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. thentf

    Karl-Henry, can you link to the post in the support forum?

  2. edbrill

    Karl-Henry, I ended up here on this thread after several people pointed me to the discussion where you name-checked me. My role is to look after the internal deployment and adoption of Verse… as a customer, I’m as interested as everyone else in making this beta successful, especially as our rollout will move past pilot into production starting in a few weeks.

    1. Karl-Henry Martinsson

      Welcome, Ed! Thanks for the info, I thought you still had an outward facing role. I really had (have) high expectations for IBM Verse, and I think IBM with it’s resources could do much more than we have seen this far. Did you read my follow-up post, where I list a few things I would like to see in IBM Verse?

      Can you tell anything about how the reception inside IBM has been, among the pilot users?

    2. David Miller

      Well if you are interested in success you should realize how badly this launch has been handled. I registered months ago and have gotten no communication regarding when it is coming and for whom. Frankly, I have lost interest. Companies that mismanagement their launch and change their promises reflects internal issues that can’t be trusted in this competitive environment. Ask Watson: it is smart enough to know this sucks. Maybe you should let him run your company. Is it no wonder lay off rumors abound at ibm and they are a shadow of their former selves.

  3. rgsiiiya

    Quite frankly, IBM Verse is one of the worst pieces of junk I’ve ever used. They completely missed the basic of basics. It is borderline unusable. Give me or gmail over Verse any day!!!!

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