„The collaboration buzz is back at IBM.“ This is what, No Jitter editor Beth Schultz wrote back in July after IBM’s appointment of Inhi Cho Suh to GM of Collaboration Solutions, and the announcement of the partnership with Cisco. This is even more true today after the World of Watson took place last week in Las Vegas, where Inhi and the team announced IBM Watson Workspace and the IBM Watson Work Services. There are a lot of interesting comments and posts and I found this posting from Craig Le Clair in particular crisp, clear, fair and outstanding:
Does [IBM Watson] Workspace have a chance? It does and here’s why. Expertise routing, recommendations, and personal assistance are the new battleground for collaboration. … Or to put it another way, cognitive may be the last hope to relieve the Digital Disorder we have created.
… In short – the digital mess that has taken over my life. Wouldn’t it be nice to have Watson dig through all this and summarize them, organize them by importance, by subject, and recommend actions? It sure would, and that is the killer app. for Workspace.
But, as always, challenges are many. Bringing out features to keep up with Slack and the many other team messaging apps tops the list. IBM has a poor track record of bringing slideware to product quickly. Microsofts’s Office 365 Groups has all the tools as well and startups seem to pop up weekly. …
IBM’s open approach to Watson may also be an issue. They have built a plugin that gives bot creators access to Watson, basically Slack developers and others will have access to the conversational API and other components. See in fact the recent Slack/IBM partnership announcement. So then where is the IBM advantage?
Here’s where. Most AI is being bolted on to existing applications. Workspace has the opportunity to be the first native-borne cognitive solution, to be a natural extension to the worker experience, and use Watson’s ingestion and discovery smarts to bring multiple information streams into play. An agnostic approach to relevant content is spot on.
… But to succeed IBM will need to get crisper at moving vision to released product.
Alan Lepovsky from Constellation Research came to the following conclusions:
Watson Workspaces is in the early days. It’s not even a beta, it’s a preview. But that’s great. One of the main things I’ve criticized IBM about over the years is how slow they have been to move from slideware to software. …
By making IBM Watson Workspace available now, it gives IBM three months to gather feedback and improve before IBM Connect in Feb 2017.
Finally, I think it’s important to notice the name: IBM Watson Workspace. Watson is one of the main strengths of IBM these days. … What’s missing is general knowledge of Watson similar to Apple Siri. Now IBM is offering a product with the Watson name that could potentially be used by millions of knowledge workers around the globe.
Furthermore and as important a new category was announced by Inhi Cho Su at World of Watson:
„We’re creating a brand-new category around Watson Work, … a family of IBM applications and partner applications where we’re going to infuse Watson into understanding you — personally, contextually — so it saves you time, it saves you energy, and you can focus on the things you want to get done and the more meaningful conversations that you have in your environment,“ Suh said in an onsite interview with theCUBE.
As a background and framework some of the statements in the keynote session of Ginni Rometty, the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of IBM are extremely important to understand the IBM position. My colleague Reynout Adrichem Boogaert summarized it excellent:
IBM Watson is the AI platform for business. IBM sees three big decision why IBM Watson the platform for business:
The goal is important. It is not to deliver Artificial Intelligence, the goal is to augment intelligence that assists the human knowledge, experience and creativity. It is man and machine!
Second: Your data matters: IBM choose by design that your data, your intellectual property, your corporate knowledge, your competitive advantage is yours! Watson is not using your data to feed train an IBM knowledge graph. …
Third: The ecosystem is important as the possibilities for using Watson are limitless.
Talking about ecosystem a bunch of integrations have been announced beyond the big guys from Apple, Box, Cisco or … Slack. Announcements on the following integrations with Watson and/or Watson Workspace went through the web from DocuSign, (Electronic Signatures), Genband (Real-time Voice and Video functionality), Redbooth, (Task and Project Management software), Ricoh (Whiteboard-integration), Rocket (BI & Dashboard integration), Sapho (Micro-App & Integration Platform) or Zoom (Video Meeting integration).