Today IBM officially announced the end of Watson Workspace. I feel somewhat relieved as I am now allowed to write about it. I know about the sunset for almost three months now but I wasn’t allowed to publicly talk or write about it - which is stupid. Actually it was planned to announce this at Think in February - even more stupid.
Watson Workspace Announcement
Tomorrow, Tuesday 15 Jan 2019, IBM will formally announce the End of Marketing for all Watson Workspace offerings and we anticipate ending the Watson Workspace service on 2/28/19. This includes Watson Workspace Essentials, Plus, and the free offering. It is our intent to ensure that you have a clear understanding of your options regarding the closure of Watson Workspace.
While there is no question that Watson Workspace is innovative and agile, it hasn’t resonated with clients or obtained the traction in the marketplace necessary for IBM to continue forward with the service. Despite our best efforts and enthusiasm for these offerings, our decision to withdraw them aligns to IBM’s investment strategy, focused on delivering solutions that deliver measurable value to our customers and business partners.
IBM has stopped accepting new orders for Watson Workspace products, and we will not be adding any new features to the offerings. We have been working with our licensed customers and business partners to provide options for handling subscriptions and contracts once the end of service announcement is published to provide a smooth transition.
Starting tomorrow there will be a banner placed into the UI of Watson Workspace informing users of the timeline for moving off the service. Mobile customers may find details in the release notes of the mobile app. We will also provide access to a tool that will allow you to download and save your conversations and content from Watson Workspace. Please plan accordingly to capture any content you’d like to retain as we work to sunset the service. This option will only be available for a limited time.
Thank you for your support of Watson Workspace and IBM Collaboration Solutions. Please find additional details and answers to commonly asked questions in the FAQ that will be posted in the Watson Workspace banner tomorrow.
IBM Collaboration Services, Offering Management
If a product is discontinued the customers should be offered an exit strategy. But if customers are not informed (or are not allowed to be informed by us, the experts and people who they trust) than this is a bad habit. Anyway, Feb 28 is the last day the service is offered. Regarding paying customers I heard that IBM will pay refunds for the remaining contracts. IBM set up a FAQ section here: https://help.workspace.ibm.com/hc/en-us/articles/360015622373
Not to be mixed up: IBM is not ending Watson, the AI, but „only“ the chat and collaboration platform that works on top of it and uses some services.
I have to admit that I am not as moved as others about the sunset as I never used it that excessively. When they introduced it about 3 years ago (as „Project Toscana“) I even was doubting that this was a product we were waiting for. Maybe a successor to Sametime one day but at that time not a competitor for Slack and others. I used Slack at this time. Meanwhile I adopted Watson Workspace (WW) as the main channel to my fellow peeps in the yellow/blue bubble. When IBM added Zoom for video conferences we at OpenNTF also switched to WW instead of using the IBM conference service from AT&T.
Though I never was a WW enthusiast I even did several session around it at various conferences - it was always a love-hate-relationship I had and have with all the IBM products I guess.
Killing the last „real“ collaboration tool in the IBM portfolio makes absolutely sense as the rest is already moved to HCL. HCL on the other hand is not interested in it as they work on their own client called HCL Places. I doubt that the reason is bad customer adoption. I know some companies who planned their communication strategy completely around WW - and we were also close to do so before we finally decided to use O365 and MS Teams. I also doubt that the invest in WW was that huge as the client is „just“ a Webclient running in an Electron container using the Watson services that are still there anyway. And the client didn’t get a significant update for a long time now.
Anyway, it’s time to look for alternatives or return to old habits like Slack or Skype (sic!). Personally I doubt using Skype again and as I am not an IBM Champion anymore there’s even less need to do so because the only channel I used in WW (and could use in Skype) is the Champions chat. My Franz messenger will so get a cleanup...
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