Monster mash: How job site uses presence

At Monster.com, engineering and product-development teams use Windows Live Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger and Yahoo Messenger.

Despite the growing interest in enterprise-oriented IM, some enterprises continue to achieve collaboration results using consumer-oriented tools.

At Monster.com, the online job-search and career-development company, engineering and product-development teams use Windows Live Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger and Yahoo Messenger. The teams are at development centers outside Boston and in Prague, the Czech Republic.

"You can bring contextual links across. You can be working on something in parallel with an IM session," says Mark Conway, CTO of Monster. "[IM is] a really powerful tool. We have adopted it heavily."

While Monster successfully uses videoconferencing, the company has had mixed results using VIM. "It didn't get a wide adoption. People didn't really feel it provided that much more value than the IM session itself in terms of collaboration," Conway says.

Part of the reason that Monster engineers use VIM only occasionally is the language barrier between the two development centers. "A lot of them write English much better, have a much better time with written English vs. spoken English," Conway says.

In contrast, group videoconferencing involves more people and the tool is less likely to spotlight the language skills of individuals than one-to-one VIM exchanges. That's because people who struggle with English can simply talk less. So for large-scale design sessions, design reviews and brainstorming, Monster uses videoconferencing combined with application sharing and whiteboard.


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