• United States

IM finding its place in companies

Apr 06, 20042 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMessaging Apps

* Instant messaging fills needs in corporations, survey shows

We have just concluded a survey of instant messaging users that revealed that IM, like any other communications technology, needs time to “soak in” to a company’s corporate culture.

Here’s a synopsis of what we found:

* Not surprisingly, frequent users of IM are much more likely to use it as a replacement for other communications tools than non-frequent users. For example, more than twice as many frequent IM users have decreased their use of the telephone and e-mail compared to non-frequent users.

* Frequent IM users are significantly more likely to use IM as a presence tool than non-frequent users, such as using the IM interface to find out if someone is available so that they can visit the other party in their office, telephone them, etc.

* A higher percentage of those who have been using IM for more than two years use their telephone less now because of IM compared to those who have been using IM for two years or less. However, more of those who have been using IM for more than two years have found that IM has actually caused their e-mail use to increase compared to those who have not been using IM for as long.

Quite often, a technology will be implemented that provides some initial benefit, but over time users will find ways to use the technology in serendipitous ways that were not anticipated and that could not be included in an initial ROI analysis.

For example, when users in this survey were asked if IM made it easier to get questions answered quickly, 36% of those who have been using IM for up to two years responded that it has helped them a great deal; among those who have been using IM for more than two years, 47% responded that IM has helped them a great deal in this regard.

In short, ROI analysis is useful, but it cannot anticipate all of the benefits that a technology can provide over the long term.

More information from this survey is available at: