IBM's new next generation web mail experience is creating the most buzz among attendees at the IBM Connect 2014 conference in Orlando, Fla. today.
The new solution — called "Mail Next" — is being hailed by many on Twitter today as an innovative, exceptional mail experience and a new way to consume and manage email through social-like capabilities.
Some are even calling it the death of Lotus Notes, and one conference attendee and IBM itself confirmed with CMSWire that IBM is, in fact, rebranding toward its IBM Connections brand.
IBM's Social Business in the Cloud
For IBM, Mail Next is a part of its momentum for its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) based social business offerings from partners, clients and developers and its continued investment in its social business and cloud technologies.
The Armonk, N.Y.-based software and technology giant's announcement of Mail Next falls under its rebranding strategy of its mail, chat, meetings, office productivity and content capabilities, making them part of IBM’s Connections brand in 2014, IBM said in a release issued to CMSWire.
Mail Next, planned for availability in both the cloud and on-premises, will use analytics to deliver task-level focus and inbox management capabilities that let employees track the content and messages needed to do their job.
"IBM’s new web mail experience is very intuitive and integrated with key social business capabilities," Berry van der Schans, information and communication technology manager for UK-based Shanks Group Plc., said in an IBM statement. "This will help our people be more efficient in prioritizing and managing daily work, including tracking requests and follow-ups in a powerful yet simple experience."
First Social Email Solution?
Jay Baer, digital marketing consultant and author of Youtility, told CMSWire today that IBM's Mail Next has the potential to be a true original.
"Of course the proof is in the pudding, but based on what I saw today, IBM's Mail Next is the first truly social email solution," Baer told CMSWire. "There's a meaningful difference between making major parts of our lives inter-operable and making them integrated. We're so conditioned to the way legacy email works that it may take a while for this type of social email solution to fully take root, but the time savings and connection opportunities it presents may be remarkable once it does take off."
And as for champions charged with implementing effective communication in the business enterprise, can Mail Next help manage internal communication and companies collaborate better?
"It seems to me that if you can collaborate socially in the place where you spend most of your computing time which is email, for most of us the likelihood of that collaboration occurring increases geometrically," Baer said. "That's the potential of Mail Next."
Baer on Twitter called it a "want," and as of about noon ET, he was retweeted 85 times and mentioned here with an image of Mail Next from the IBM Connect this morning:
Bringing Relevance to Email
Michael Porter, principal for portal and social at Perficient, a St. Louis-based technology and management consulting firm, called the potential of Mail Next fascinating.
He also added that IBM is rebranding its mail strategy to "Connections Mail" in place of the existing Lotus brand.
IBM, Porter said, is addressing in this solution the fact that email is such a “huge time-sucker,” and is enhancing mail’s capabilities by identifying for you key people with whom you interact. It also better groups ways to flag material on your to-do list and detects better things you’ve asked others to do.
It’s about showing things “that are important to me,” he said, such as knowing in your email where a person resides in relation to you in an organizational structure.
Porter said he was also impressed with the “mute” function on ongoing email discussions that don’t have relevance for particular users.
As for looks, Porter said it has the appearance of more like a social function, rather than typical email.