IBM Workspace to launch. Again.

by Volker Weber

IMG 4459

It was the worst overselling that IBM ever dared to stage at Lotusphere/Connect. 25 months ago, at the tail end of Jeff Schick's tenure as General Manager IBM Collaboration Software, they demoed a new business chat "powered by Watson" with a canned demo that pretended to be real live code. Some of the things presented on stage still do not exist, but hey ... it was a good show.

Project Toscana did not deliver in 2016, it kind of launched in preview in 2017, but was way behind any other competing offer. After two years in development it is now ready to launch again and IBM is preparing some collateral. Give it a try at with your IBM ID. Must contain an @-sign. Old IDs without don't work. If you cannot get in drop me a mail with your IBM id and I invite you. Watson Workspace has clients for Android and iOS, an Electron client for Mac and Windows, and also works in Chrome or Firefox.


I know this is a TheRegister story but the
"Dear customer, please use our Watson Workspace product while we will use Slack instead" leaves me perplexed.

Henning Heinz, 2018-03-02 11:57

IBM cannot wait for Workspace to catch up.

IBM spent a ton of money on Watson Work services., because Watson. Last time I looked Workspace was still running on the Amazon cloud and not the IBM Smartcloud. That is where it needs to go if IBM wants to integrate it into Connections. And that poses a SSO challenge since Connections uses a different authentication than Workspace. Somebody will figure it out. Rishi Vaish, the VP who spent all that money on Workspace, has moved on with Inhi Cho Suh, so he won't have to solve that.

Volker Weber, 2018-03-02 13:24

s/Workspace/Workplace ... nuff said.

Andy Mell, 2018-03-02 13:46

I'm there and not seeing what's changed since the last time I used it in August. I'm in the "Hello Again" group.

Bruce Elgort, 2018-03-02 19:46

I think you’re too early (or IBM still needs a few weeks) for what is just around the corner. Imo there’s pretty cool new stuff coming up that could replace at least two solutions from other vendors for us.
I have no idea whether the cool new stuff will be available for „easy access“ testing, though.

Florian Vogler, 2018-03-02 20:26

I guess you are talking about the integration of - that is already in there and yes, it will only work for "Plus" users. And it does not differentiate from, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Hangouts Chat or Atlassian Stride. The world is moving way faster than IBM.

Volker Weber, 2018-03-02 21:03

It very much differentiates for me from what I’ve seen so far. And should I read your last sentence as if faster were better?

Florian Vogler, 2018-03-03 07:01

"Wait for us. We are the leaders."

Volker Weber, 2018-03-03 10:04

Not sure what exactly you’re trying to say, but „We are the leaders.“ is what they all say - and I’m waiting for all of them. I guess it boils down to you actually liking something else better. I’ve tried most of the other solutions you mentioned and others and they all have their shortcomings. I truly miss people pointing out pros and cons. Too often all one gets to read is „Something yay! IBM meh.“

I’ll go first with pros and cons then:
To make things clearer: I‘ve always missed a solution that does a mix of skype (voip), slack (persistent chat) and gotomeeting/webex and the like (screensharing including remote control). YMMV.

Skype (not for business)
- pro: unsurpassed easiness of VoIP calls
- con: visual nightmare since lately, mediocre screensharing, no remote control during screensharing

- pro: unsurpassed persistent chat
- con: mediocre voip and meeting stuff, trouble using multiple devices at the same time

GotoMeeting/WebEx and the like
- pro: unsurpassed screen sharing and remote control
- con: nothing but that

Watson Workspace
- pro: Zoom makes all the difference for me
- con: assumed lack of voip (outside of meetings), the „showing nothing until a chat/space is loaded“ (assumed lack of caching/offline reading capability)

Microsoft Teams
- pro: plans to cover all of the above
- con: doesn’t cover everything yet, no option without exchange, SharePoint and such, assuming MS wants to force its other stuff on me, too, lack of integration/coexistence with IBM offerings

End of trying to give this some substance.

Florian Vogler, 2018-03-03 11:45

Fair enough. But for most people it is the other way around: How do you make stuff work in a Microsoft environment?

Volker Weber, 2018-03-03 12:59

I would never have thought that you would be writing „for most people“.
Also, corporate reality is much more diverse than what „most people“ think.
I am explicitly neither thinking of Microsoft, nor you in the following context, but „most people“ makes me think of Facebook, brexit and Trump.
I find what comes with „most people“ disturbing. Kills objectiveness. Prevents coming to own conclusions. Doesn’t do for the better but just mainstream.

Florian Vogler, 2018-03-03 14:04

Sorry to disappoint you. My problem has always been that I describe the world I see, not the world I am supposed to see. Some people say that Office 365 is a winner-takes-it-all success. Some people say that Notes & Domino have a great future with HCL. Some people say that Slack will have to fight it out with Microsoft and Google. Some people think that IBM will have a stake in this game with Watson Workspace.

I will see what happens. You place your own bet.

Volker Weber, 2018-03-03 14:12

You’re certainly not disappointing me. I get a lot of value out of you telling me what you see. I am trying to better understand you.
Personally, I prefer multiple „some people“ views over just one „most people“ statement - that’s also because I have yet to meet a single customer that exclusively works with one vendor and nothing else for communication, collaboration, etc.
Anyhow, thank you for putting up with me :)

Florian Vogler, 2018-03-03 16:13

So we went from Watson Workspace to "customers that exclusively work with one vendor and nothing else for communication, collaboration, etc."?

Volker Weber, 2018-03-03 21:35

I am not sure whether you really want me to elaborate or whether I should just write:

Almost. Works for me.

Florian Vogler, 2018-03-04 12:13

I always like to see this working: :-)

Volker Weber, 2018-03-04 12:32


Florian Vogler, 2018-03-04 12:46

"Wait for us. We are the leaders."

YMMD ! Nicht beschreibt Workplace (oder ganz IBM) besser als das im Moment !

Lutz Haller, 2018-03-05 10:01

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