Steve and Larry are big-time advocates of instant messaging, or IM.So are a growing number of enterprise users. According to an Osterman Research survey published last year, more than 80% of enterprise users take advantage of some of instant messaging\u2019s benefits:https:\/\/www.nwfusion.com\/newsletters\/gwm\/2002\/01560832.htmlInstant messaging services like those offered by AOL, Yahoo and Microsoft provide a desktop \u201cbuddy list\u201d that shows who has logged on to the network - offering a cheap (as in free) way to verify another user\u2019s presence at their desk.If you want to get in touch quickly, IM offers a \u201cchat\u201d service, and allows users another way to communicate quickly. If you are logged on and don\u2019t want to be disturbed or are away from your desk, simply create a temporary message on your personal IM \u201creply\u201d screen so other users know you aren\u2019t available or where you can be reached.Instant messaging also features attachments and document forwarding, just like e-mail. Also like e-mail, instant messages offer the opportunity for introducing viruses into a corporate network - a major concern for IT managers and one big reason IM isn\u2019t being used officially by 100% of workers. Some IT managers have barred IM from their corporate network.Instant messaging\u00a0services are also beginning to be used to provide a \u201cclick to talk\u201d feature, allowing users to initiate a phone call across the\u00a0instant messaging\u00a0network. Steve and Larry aren\u2019t as keen on this feature (yet) as our limited personal trials haven\u2019t been too successful.We believe\u00a0instant messaging\u00a0is here to stay as an enterprise communications tool. One way we\u2019re sure of our belief is that unified communications portal providers are including instant messaging\u00a0as one of the integrated communications options on the desktop, offering some advantages from today\u2019s stand-alone instant messaging\u00a0services.Next time, we\u2019ll discuss how SIP and SIMPLE can be used to integrate instant messaging with traditional phone systems.