Enterprise IM

As companies adopt instant messaging, they are finding that the benefits of the speedy communication platform come with headaches as well.

July 21, 2005 – According to the Radicati Group, there will be 867 million instant messaging accounts worldwide by the end of 2005, and about 1.2 billion by 2009. This includes both consumer and business users.

About 12.5 billion IMs are sent every day across the globe, mostly on public networks. Many enterprises rely on public networks when integrating IM into their workflow. This means that enterprises have to rely on IM management vendors to protect against viruses and worms´┐Żand some need third parties to track IM log-ins and conversations.

Despite these additional headaches, a 2004 poll by META Group (since acquired by Gartner), finds a variety IM benefits: faster response and problem resolution, multitasking and better perception of co-worker availability.

At the same time, employers are monitoring IM conversations, as they do all kinds of work network interactions, including Web activity and e-mail. According to the Business Software Alliance and the Information Systems Security Association, 36% of companies worldwide monitor employees’ instant messaging activity, up from 30% in 2003.

Companies in the US and Europe are also showing interest in deploying IM on mobile networks. A Yankee Group study found that 52% of enterprises surveyed are currently piloting IM through a cellular network, though just 4% consider it a critical investment. As Yankee points out, enterprise mobile IM (EMIM) offers several advantages over text messaging and e-mail, including real-time interaction, the ability to see whether users are present and whether they are on a phone or a computer, and seamless integration into the business computing environment.

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