IBM Connect 2017 and the Promise of Watson Workspace
By Jim Lundy
(Aragon Research) – I’ve been attending IBM Connect Events since about 2001 and this year marked a change in venue and in focus. IBM Connect 2017 was held in San Francisco instead of Orlando and while the event was smaller, the overall quality seemed higher. The event focused on Watson Workspace and Workspace Services that featured integrations with high quality partners like Box, Cisco, DocuSign, GENBAND, RingCentral, and Zoom – and that’s not all. The momentum for partnerships continued with the recent announcement by IBM and Salesforce that will unite Einstein and Watson to power guided selling.
This blog overviews some of the highlights gleaned from IBM Connect on Watson Workspace.
The Promise of Watson Workspace as a Digital Assistant
What we saw in the demos and presentations was a new mobile-focused Work Platform that IBM calls Watson Workspace. When fully trained and configured, Watson Workspace, combined with Workspace Services, is a fully conversational, AI-based Digital Assistant that does more than your average analog chatbot.
Watson Workplace demo at IBM Connect.
The demos of Watson Workspace were crisp partly because the demo scenarios seemed real. IBM showed integrations with DocuSign and Box. The great news is that attendees of IBM Connect can actually download and use Watson Workspace as an early preview.
IBM Watson Workspace as a Digital Assistant for Sales
One of the more compelling demos of Watson Workspace was in a Sales Scenario. Watson Workspace was able to help a Sales Rep find some opportunities all through the conversational UI. On top of that – with some of the pre-integrated Digital Apps – once a deal was completed, the DocuSign Agent took over and got the contract signed. It sounds like the future of selling – what Aragon refers to as Guided Selling – and the demo was done by IBM, not Salesforce. The only challenge is understanding when a great solution such as the one demonstrated will be available to buy.
IBM Watson and Salesforce
The demo we saw two weeks ago was a foreshadowing of things to come as today, IBM and Salesforce announced a new Partnership that will bring IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein closer together. IBM will be integrating Watson APIs with Salesforce Einstein to enable predictive insights data to be delivered to Sales, Service, Commerce, and more.
Watson Workspace and Sametime and Connections
The great promise for Workspace is to migrate Sametime users to this new platform. Sametime has a large install base and to us, this feels like a no brainer. The same goes for Connections. IBM is a leader in Social Collaboration so offering Watson Workspace as an integration with Connections feels like a no brainer to us. IBM indicated they are still looking at those opportunities.
Workspace Dominates Domino and Notes
Finally, it has to be mentioned that IBM had news for traditional Domino and Notes Customers with new upgrades for each install base. Regardless, IBM Watson Workspace was the big story. IBM has a tremendous opportunity to reinvent the Workplace with Watson Workspace. The question is: will 2017 be the year that it takes place?