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IM in the enterprise: Then and now

Mar 23, 20042 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMessaging Apps

* How the perception of IM has changed since 2001

We have been conducting a semi-annual tracking survey on instant messaging in the enterprise since 2001 and have just completed our most recent survey in this series.  In looking at the data across the six surveys we have completed thus far, one of the things that stands out is the growing acceptance of IM for use in an enterprise setting. 

For example, in our first survey of 185 respondents, we found that 28% of enterprises had no plans to use IM for business applications; in our most recent survey of 191 respondents, that number has dropped to 19%.  During that period, the percentage of enterprises that actually are using IM for business purposes has increased from 21% to 44%.

IT is also warming to the idea of IM.  For example, our first survey found that only 22% of IT organizations supported IM use, but that number has since doubled.  Further, while in our first survey 19% of IT organizations had not really thought about IM use in their organization, that number has dropped to only 4% in our most recent survey.

Clearly, the message here is that the perception of IM as a valuable business tool is maturing and both business managers and IT managers are becoming increasingly open to IM’s presence and use in the enterprise.

What this also means is that enterprises with users on just consumer-grade IM clients – which represents a significant portion of the use of IM in the enterprise – are opening themselves to a variety of problems, including viruses, loss of namespace control, loss of security, an inability to archive IM conversation content and other problems.  Consequently, the critical need for these enterprises moving forward will be to implement safeguards to protect the network infrastructure from these hazards, such as implementing systems to manage the consumer-grade infrastructure currently in place or implementing a new enterprise-grade IM system.