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Industry Research Featured Article

April 08, 2008

Enterprises Split on Business Value of Instant Messaging

As we continue our research on enterprise attitudes toward Unified Communications (News - Alert) (UC), our most recent survey conducted in partnership with IntelliCom Analytics examined decision maker views on the business value of Instant Messaging (IM).

Unquestionably, Public Instant Messaging services such as AOL (News - Alert), MSN or Yahoo have gained a high degree of acceptance as a social interaction tool, particularly among the youngest generation of the workforce. On the business side, Enterprise Instant Messaging applications such as Lotus Sametime or Microsoft (News - Alert) OCS offer similar capabilities together with additional business benefits — notably higher levels of security and IT control, and the ability to readily integrate with other enterprise collaboration tools and desktop user applications. Although both types of Instant Messaging have been available for some time, we were interested in seeing whether business decision makers have come to consider Public or Enterprise IM as valuable collaboration tools.
With more than 700 responses coming in from all Global Regions, the findings show that for North American-headquartered companies, 68% are using Instant Messaging of one sort or another in their businesses. In EMEA, APAC and CALA, the number is even higher, with 77% of enterprises reporting use of IM for business purposes.
Of the companies worldwide that are utilizing Instant Messaging, use of Enterprise-grade IM heavily outstrips use of Public IM services by a 3-to-1 margin.
For companies using Enterprise IM, company-wide deployments are clearly the norm, with 71% of companies in all Global Regions choosing to make the application available to all end-users rather than select employees in specific groups or job functions.
“Which of the following most closely describes your company’s view of Enterprise Instant Messaging?”
-         My company considers Enterprise IM to be a highly valuable collaboration tool for all of our end users.
-         My company considers Enterprise IM as a valuable collaboration tool for select end users in specific groups or job functions.
-         My company allows our end-users to use Public IM services, and we have no plans to switch to an Enterprise IM application.
-         My company does not consider any type of Instant Messaging to be a valuable business tool.



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