IM Use at Work Here to Stay

June 11, 2004

Instant Messaging (IM) applications are a growing part of office communications, and the Radicati Group predicts that by 2008, 80% of enterprise workers worldwide will be using IM at their workplace.

The most popular reason cited by companies to deploy enterprise IM is to increase intra-office communication. Interestingly, this rationale for IM use is cited more than the goal of reducing long-distance phone charges. Despite the fact that IM would seem to be a more logical tool for reaching remote workers and other offsite contacts than for employees that can interact in person, more companies see it as a tool to increase the interaction capabilities of onsite workers.

Radicati predicts that the number of enterprise IM users worldwide will quadruple by 2008, comprising 80% of enterprise workers — up from 20% in 2004. IM is already used in 85% of all enterprises in North America. These numbers include both personal and business use of IM while at work.

By 2008, there will be 670 million IM users worldwide, most of them (88%) operating through public IM networks, the rest through closed enterprise systems. IM is an unusual technology in that in a number of cases, it became a tool for companies by accident. Employees who used IM elsewhere, be it through AOL or in college, and installed it on their machines at their new job. Companies were faced with a choice of either banning the application or finding a way to work with it. Apparently, the latter approach has won over.

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