IBM Verse "Freemium"

by Volker Weber

While in Orlando I had the opportunity to interview Jeff Schick, General Manager IBM Enterprise Social Solutions, and let him lay out his plan in his own words. You can watch the full interview here.

Jeff was very clear about the intended throttling of Verse in the "free" part of freemium. My only beef is that there is no "freemium version". Feemium is not a version but a pricing strategy. Give something away that makes people hungry for more. And I believe IBM has not yet found the right balance, where the free version is interesting enough to actually use it, before one decides to sign up for the premium version. Typical conversion rates are in the single digit percentages for those companies that execute the strategy well.

What I have seen so far in the preview does not convince me that IBM can execute a freemium strategy. There is simply too much missing, the biggest elephant in the room would be import from other accounts, especially calendar and contacts, but also email. When you can only import contacts as CSV, there is no way to import photos for those contacts. These are my most important contacts:

ZZ18024B61

That's just one tidbit and I could go on and on why this does not make sense. You cannot win against GMail by being a bit better. You have to be three times better. Ask Microsoft re: Outlook.com.

Using Verse in the enterprise, where you have a directory, profiles and migration tools, is a different story. The freemium model does not get you there.

Comments

But...But... It's the cloud ! It's so easy to add new features ! All the time ! Anytime ! Heck, within the next minutes it could all be better or verse !

Heiko Voigt, 2015-03-13

Heiko FTW!

"Please only use your latest Firefox or Chrome browser".
Volker, do you know if it will have Safari support in real life?

Andreas Imnitzer, 2015-03-13

Neither Safari, nor Chrome nor Firefox on my Mac are supported in Beta. Hm. As Paul said, you have got one chance.

Andreas Imnitzer, 2015-03-13

Is there a link to a chart or note outlining the different versions (free, enterprise, etc.) and what is included in each?

Greg Walrath, 2015-03-16

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