Preliminary Thoughts about IBM’s New Social Collaboration Tool

I am intrigued by the new social collaboration tool, Verse, which IBM just released that is reportedly intended to reinvent email. Quite a lofty, but worthwhile, goal considering email hasn’t significantly changed since the move from a mainframe based character viewing system to client-based file attachment capabilities! I decided to take a quick look at the issues in the description of Verse that would most impact security and privacy. After a cursory look at the Verse site and a news release about it, here are some of my thoughts.

  • By not monetizing the communications as other cloud based email does, even for business use and service offerings, this communications tool could do a better job of protecting the privacy of the communications in important ways. This also could keep metadata and activities from being used within marketing Big Data analytics, and should/could help to limit the amount of spam received by those using the service.


  • The service indicates that searches and queries can be made and that they will not be logged or used for targeted ads. With the increasing use of logging activities and associated metadata used for various surveillance activities, this is a refreshing change from the status quo of other communication solutions sites.


  • It seems to be a good alternative to Dropbox and other file sharing services. I’ve had increasing concerns about the security and privacy of those file-sharing sites. If there was a way to integrate secure file-sharing capabilities, with security- and privacy-rich features, into a business-grade communications solution, that would be a huge benefit to all businesses; especially small to midsize businesses that do not have the budgets to implement different solutions for each.


  • The Verse description states it can be used to keep all business communications (email and associated files and other collaboration artifacts) in one place. With centralized storage and management, this reduces the risks that are associated with using multiple services and improves the efficiency of managing information.


  • The service also claims to have the capabilities to provide one location to use for all business collaborations. I created my own services to allow for one collaboration point for business partners and vendors to manage and support information security and privacy compliance, so I know having a centralized service for business collaboration for other types of business communications and collaborations can bring huge benefits with the associated time and cost savings.


  • There is also a described feature to integrate email with project management activities. I’ve seen many businesses, especially small and midsize organizations, quickly get off the track of project targets because they misplaced an email, or didn’t follow the project manager’s plan. So if this can more efficiently organization related activities, it will be a plus. Not only for time, but also by creating a secure area to do so.


I would love to inspect the security and privacy controls to see how they actually work. I’m also curious about the integration and associated controls from Verse with Apple and Twitter.


I will need to really get into the service to provide more in-depth analysis. However, upon first glance this seems like a communications system that holds real promise to be a game-changer with how employees and business partners communicate beyond the traditional email systems. And when you consider that IBM is the largest enterprise security management vendor in the world, with $2 billion in dedicated security research and development and more than 3,000 security related patents, it is a good indicator that they know how to create such a service with robust security features.


I look forward to trying out the freemium version when it is available in 2015 and taking a deeper look under the hood.



This post was brought to you by IBM for Midsize Business  ( and opinions are my own. To read more on this topic, visit  IBM’s Midsize Insider. Dedicated to providing businesses with expertise, solutions and tools that are specific to small and midsized companies, the Midsize Business program provides businesses with the materials and knowledge they need to become engines of a smarter planet.


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